On Sunday, June 30, 2019, Raleigh DeGeer Amyx, devoted husband and father of four children, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, passed away at the age of 81. Raleigh DeGeer Amyx was a well-known historian, author, and recognized collector of rare relics and White House porcelain.
Raleigh was born in Kansas City, Kansas on “Flag Day” June 14, 1938. He grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, a place full of fond memories, particularly when he attended Atherton High School. Standing at almost 6’5” he excelled at sports and enjoyed music and dancing at the local church. His curious and sharp mind was evident at a young age when he opened a “museum” in his home, charging an entry fee to gaze upon America Indian artifacts, his Uncle’s WWII helmet and even a dead bat.
Raleigh moved to Washington, D.C. and attended American University. In 1957, he worked as a tour guide for the FBI and was J. Edgar Hoover’s personal messenger. Shortly thereafter, he met and fell in love with his future wife, Hilda Lea Patterson. Raleigh became an Association Director and during this time, had a serious bout of throat cancer. This experience lead him to pursue his original passion for art, relics, antiques and history. Little did he know that his passion for rare objects would one day lead him to become a world renown expert on White House china. At the time of his passing, he owned the largest privately held collection of White House china in the world, including porcelain owned and used by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers. Portions of his collection have been on loan or displayed at various presidential libraries and he was frequently called upon to appraise and authenticate manuscripts and collectibles for the Smithsonian Institution. Raleigh was also an excellent public speaker. He appeared on television and held many interviews over the years. His artistic expression, determination, empathetic character and thoughtful manner seldom went unnoticed. Always the sharp dresser, he had a style and wit that was unmatched.
In 2018, Atherton High School recognized Raleigh’s many achievements and inducted him into their Hall of Fame. His loving family accompanied him to receive an honor that meant so much to him. Raleigh was a gifted storyteller; he shared many touching stories of his hometown. A true patriot, Raleigh was also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), the Society of Americans of Royal Descent, and the Society of Union Veterans of the Civil War. He is the author of The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Official White House China–Presidential Collection 18th–21st Century, slated for publishing in 2019. His love and devotion for his wife, Hilda, was steadfast for almost 61 years. Aside from his many talents and accomplishments, Raleigh will always be remembered for his plethora of stories and as a man who enjoyed unusual and beautiful objects. He also loved animals, nature, art, and true friends. His devoted wife, Hilda, and his children, Valerie, Shane, Michele and Cheryl will forever cherish his memory.
There will be a private memorial in The Plains, Virginia in the fall.