PRITCHARD, Mr. L. Douglas Sr., 90, went to sing with the heavenly angels on Saturday, December 8, 2012. Douglas was born on September 15, 1922 in Bertie County, N.C., and was the youngest and last survivor of 10 sons of Octavius Coke Pritchard and Lettie Collins Pritchard. He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Rosemary Elam Pritchard; son, Luther Douglas Pritchard Jr. (Mary); daughters, Jane Pritchard Kelly (Kevin) and Patricia Pritchard Willis (Larry). Douglas was so proud of his seven grandchildren, Sam Pritchard (Hannah), Will Pritchard (Katie), Catherine Kelly, Michael Kelly, David Willis, Patrick Willis (Stephanie) and Rosemary Willis (Miss Virginia 2012). Douglas was also blessed to have three great-grandchildren, Joel Pritchard, Ruth Ann Pritchard, and Kaelyn Pritchard. Douglas' extended family also consists of numerous nephews and nieces, who only strengthened his love of family. Douglas arrived in Hopewell in 1923 at the age of six months, when his father came to work in the Tubize plant in Hopewell. Douglas and his eight brothers, who were raised in Hopewell and quickly began their commitment to First Baptist Church in Hopewell, when their parents brought the boys down the aisle to join the church. The oldest of the brothers was already working in North Carolina. The relationship with First Baptist Church continued for all of Douglas' life, joining the choir at age 14, where he continued to sing well into his 80's.
Douglas became both an exceptional student and athlete during his education in Hopewell. During his years at Hopewell High School, he became the first to letter in five sports, football, basketball, baseball, track, and tennis. These accomplishments resulted in Douglas being in the charter class of inductees for the Hopewell High School Wall of Fame. He received special recognition while in high school being named second team all-state in football and all-district for basketball. His love for Blue Devil football continued for 50 years after returning to Hopewell to serve as the public address announcer for all home football games. After graduating from Hopewell High School, Douglas followed older brother, Bosh, to VMI, where he continued his love of playing sports. He received a full athletic scholarship where, again, he played football, baseball, basketball, track, and tennis. In 1943, Douglas was inducted into the U.S. Army at Fort Lee, formerly Camp Lee, and began Infantry Basic Training at Fort McClelland, Ala. From there, Douglas attended Hope College in Holland, Mich., and attended Basic Signal Corps Camp at Camp Crowder, Mo. Douglas was chosen to attend Officers Training Camp and reached the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the Signal Corps. He served the war effort on Biak Island in the Pacific and now we've lost another WWII veteran.
Douglas returned to VMI in 1946 as a 1st Lieutenant. After graduating with a Civil Engineering degree in June 1948, he and Rosemary Elam were married on September 18 in Farmville, Va. His first job was as an engineer in the ore mines of Birmingham, Ala. Longing to move closer to home, he and Rosemary returned to Hopewell, where Douglas was named City Engineer. In 1952, he became Deputy Post Engineer at Fort Lee. Shortly after that, Douglas began a long and distinguished career as a civil engineer and surveyor, running his own business, individually and with partners, Pritchard, Legat, and Altman. They were responsible for most of the expansion of subdivisions, and surveying work done in the Hopewell area for over 25 years. After closing the surveying business in 1981, Douglas went to work for 10 more years in Richmond as the capital outlay assistant with the Department of General Services for the state of Virginia. In 1991, he left that job, unselfishly, in order for a younger employee to retain his position. Douglas enjoyed life to the fullest during his 90 years. He continued his talent and love of singing throughout his life, using the world of Barbershop Harmony to showcase his talent. He started with the Tobacco Land Chorus in the 1950s, driving to Richmond to practice every Tuesday evening. He continued with the chorus when they changed the name to "The Virginians" and was awarded the Charlie Robertson Award in 2005 for his service to the organization (SPEBSQSA). The highlight of his barbershop singing was being able to compete with "The Virginians," in the International Chorus Competition in Kansas City. Douglas seemed to strive for longevity with all of his organizations. The Rotary Club of Hopewell was a passion which kept him involved for 63 years of perfect attendance. He also became a Rotary Fellow. Douglas continued to follow his beloved Keydets of Virginia Military Institute since graduating and was an active member of the VMI Keydet Club, often attending football games and reunions of his class of 1945. He was a life member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, which reinforced his dedication to his profession. Douglas also served Hopewell again as a member, and chairman, of the Hopewell Recreation Commission. Nothing surpassed Douglas' love for his church and his Lord and Savior. A lifelong member of First Baptist Church, he served in various capacities including deacon, Sunday School member and of course, the church choir. The family will receive friends Monday, December 10, 2012 from 5 to 8 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Hopewell. Funeral services will be held at the church on Tuesday, December 11 at 11 a.m. Interment will follow in Appomattox Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church, 401 North Second Ave., Hopewell, Va. 23860. Condolences may be registered at www.jtmorriss.com
This obituary was originally published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.