Ronald M. Douglas Sr.
ROCKY MOUNT - Mr. Ronald M. Douglas, Sr., 84, formerly of Rocky Mount, NC and South Chesterfield, VA, entered into eternal rest, Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at The Haven Memory Care Residence, Pineville, NC. He was born May 22, 1935 in Washington, D.C. to the late Milton C. Douglas and Grace C. Parker Douglas. He was preceded in death by his wife, Bertie Sills Douglas.
After graduation from the Phelps Vocational High School, Washington, D.C. in 1952 at the age of 16, Ron entered the United States Navy as a Seaman Apprentice with the 24th Battalion 2nd Regiment, company 406, in Brainbridge, MD. He completed the Navy's diving school in Keyport, WA and in Washington, D.C. A great swimmer, he became attached to the Navy's underwater diving and demolition team organization early in his Navy career. At that time, they were called Frogmen, which was the forerunner to what is now known as Navy Seals. Ron was one of the first African Americans to serve as a Frogman after completing the Navy's underwater swim school in Key West, FL in 1959. During his navy career, he had the following assignments: USS Roanoke (CL-145); Submarine Group, Green Cove Springs, FL; NY Group Atlantic Reserve Fleet (USS Mission Bay Barracks ship), Bayonne, NJ: USS Haverfield DER 393, Seattle, WA; USS Dixie (AD-14), San Diego, CA; USS Papago ATF14, Little Creek, VA; Naval Air Station, Norfolk, VA; US Naval Communications Station, San Miguel, Phillipines; US Naval Station, Subic Bay, Phillipines; and Mobile Construction Battalion, Davisville, RI. Ron retired from the Navy in 1972 as a First Class Boatswain's Mate and a First Class diver. For 20 years, he served his country honorably and with distinction. Among his cherished awards was the Navy Achievement Medal for Outstanding Professional Performance. At that time, it was the Navy's highest award for professional service. Ron was also an all-around great athlete, an accomplished boxer, football player and swimmer.
Two days after retiring from the Navy, Ron began his second career with the Federal Bureau of Prisons as a Correctional Officer at the Federal Correctional Institution, FCI in Petersburg, VA. He was promoted to Senior Officer Specialist, Counselor and later to a Correctional Supervisor at the FCI in Pleasanton, CA. He was then transferred to the FCI in Butner, NC, Memphis, TN and Texarkana, TX. He retired as Associate Warden at the FCI in Atlanta, GA in 1990.
He was a member of the following organizations: VFW Post 2057, Fleet Reserve Association Branch 204, Federal Prison Retirees Association, Fraternal Order of Underwater Swimmers, and the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 40.
He is survived by a devoted daughter, La'Wan Douglas Adams (Kenneth) Charlotte, NC, two sons, Ronald M. Douglas, Jr, MD, Hampton, NH and Eugene Douglas, Washington,D.C., two step-daughters, Maureen W. Dodson (Herman) of West Orange, NJ and Roslyn W. Williams (Claudis), Petersburg, VA, a brother, Richard H. Douglas, Sr. (Joanne), Capitol Heights, MD, and the mother of his children, Artie M. Sizemore, South Chesterfield, VA. , sister-in-law, Adelaide W. Jackson, Petersburg, VA. Ron is also survived by three granddaughters, Akira D. Hall, Greenville, NC, Maya N. Douglas, Charlotte, NC and Kendall N. Adams, Charlotte, NC, and two grandsons, Eugene Douglas, II, Charlotte, NC and Maximus A. Douglas, Culpepper, VA., step-grandchildren, Herman Dodson III, NYC, NY, Blair Dodson, Brooklyn, NY, LaTisha Hansord, (Christopher), Raleigh, NC, Rashad Williams, (Charia), Hopewell, VA, Dominique Adams, Charlotte, NC, Shaavonn Brannon, New Haven, CT, Madison Wiles, Charlotte, NC; nieces and nephews, Richard Douglas, Jr., Baltimore, MD, Eric Douglas, (Tonia) Fort Washington, MD, Westley Douglas, (Natoshka), Bowie, MD, Nicole Henry, (Bobby) Temple Hills, MD, Lisa Jackson, Blackstone, VA, Linda Jackson, Colonial Heights, VA, LTC Robert Jackson, (LaTandra), Chester, VA, Dr. Crystal Wynn (Andrew), Dinwiddie, VA. He leaves behind a host of friends and other relatives including: Helena Alston, Rocky Mount, NC, William Fahey, Hampton, NH, lifelong friend, Herman Gardner, Herndon, FL, Bob Thomas and Neil Antler. He frequently dined at the Chili's, Ruby Tuesday's, Applebee's and Red Lobster in Rocky Mount and considered the employees and staff as family.
The Douglas family expresses heartfelt thanks to the employees of The Haven Memory Care Residence and the Hospice and Palliative Care team for their outstanding care and support.
A visitation will be held at The Sunset Memorial Funeral Home, 1912 Sunset Ave., Rocky Mount, NC on Friday, March 20, 2020 from 7-9 pm. Funeral services for Mr. Ronald Douglas, Sr. will be held on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 11:00 am at the Mt. Zion First Baptist Church, 302 W. Thomas St, Rocky Mount, NC 27804 with the Rev. Nehemiah Smith, Pastor, officiating and eulogizing. Entombment will follow at the Rocky Mount Memorial Cemetery with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers the family request that donations be made to Hospice & Palliative Care, Charlotte Region, (HPCCR), PO BOX 470408, Charlotte, NC 28247, in honor of Ronald M Douglas, Sr.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to the staff of Sunset Memorial Funeral Home, 1912 Sunset Ave., Rocky Mount, NC 27804, (252) 316-8145, www.Sunsetmemorialfh.com.