Colonel Albert Ray Brownfield III, U.S. Army Retired, died peacefully at his home in the Shenandoah Valley on February 18, 2014 after an almost three year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 67.
Son of Brigadier General Albert Ray Brownfield Jr. and Virginia Edgerly Goodwin, Ray was born in Washington D.C. and lived the early life of an Army brat with siblings Barbara, Bill and Betsy at a variety of posts on the east coast and Alaska.
Ray dreamed of becoming a soldier from a very early age, graduating first from the Staunton Military Academy in 1964 and then matriculated to The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina where he was a 1968 Distinguished Military Graduate. It was there that he met, and soon after, married his 'Dearest Marcia' Torovsky of Annapolis, MD and set out on a 45 year adventure together of service first to the Army and then their adopted community near New Market, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
An Infantry Officer, Colonel Brownfield's overseas service included two tours in Vietnam where he was wounded in combat both times (one with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and a second with the Vietnamese Airborne Division), and tours in Germany with the 8th Infantry Division, Egypt with the Multinational Force and Observers, and as Commander, U.S. Military Group, Venezuela.
In the United States, some of Colonel Brownfield's most treasured assignments included: Assistant Professor of Leadership at the U.S. Military Academy; Executive Officer in the 1st Ranger Battalion; Deputy Chief of Staff of the 1st Special Operations Command; commander of the 5th Ranger Training Battalion; DoD Liaison to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Executive Office of the President; and Deputy Director of Operations followed by Chief, Special Action Division, J3, United States Special Operations Command.
After retiring from the Army in 1998, Ray and Marcia built a log home for their menagerie of dogs, birds and cat and embarked on a new career as the proprietors of Reveille Vineyards. After almost 16 years of backbreaking work, Ray saw his vineyard's name prominently displayed for the very first time in 2013 on a bottle of Cave Ridge Chardonnay, proof of a dream realized.
In addition to his full time duties as a viticulturist, Ray was a member of the Shenandoah County Water Board, an acting member of its School Board, a Rotarian
, Chairman of the Shenandoah County Democratic Party, and the St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Mt. Jackson.
He was the beloved father of Amanda Louise Brownfield (Nadine) and Marian Brownfield Stringer (Cory), and grandfather to Chance, Connor and Caden Stringer.
He lived his life by the Citadel Honor Code, never lying, cheating, or stealing, and conducting himself with honor at all times.
Funeral Services will be held at 10 a.m. on 8 March at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Mt. Jackson, VA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either St. Andrews Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 117, Mt. Jackson, VA, 22842 or RMH Hahn Cancer Center, 2010 Health Campus Dr., Harrisonburg, VA, 22801.
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