Dr. Thaxton Drew Ragan
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Dr. Thaxton Drew Ragan
T. Drew Ragan died February 1st at the Trevecca Health and Rehab Center in Nashville. He lived there for the last six years of his life and died at the age of 79 from natural causes.
After graduating from West End High School in Nashville, Dr. Ragan received a bachelor of science degree from Auburn University in 1956 and then served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy's legendary "Hurricane Hunters" air squadron for two years. After the Navy he returned to Auburn and completed his master of education degree in 1964 and in 1967 he earned his doctorate of education from Indiana University in Bloomington.
Upon earning his Doctorate, Dr. Ragan was appointed Dean of Students at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. After seven years there he returned to Auburn to take on the position of Associate Dean of Students and eventually named Dean of Students where his role included advising student government, bringing cultural events to the University, helping choose Auburn's new mascot (Aubie), and supervising fraternity life. For several years he was a faculty member in the Education department, then left Auburn to become director of the Educational Opportunity Center, a counseling facility funded by the U.S. Department of Education, at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. He retired in 1998.
Throughout his life, Dr. Ragan actively participated in service organizations, social clubs, charities, and community programs. He was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity at Auburn, president of the Auburn Rotary Club and the Auburn chapter of the Omicron Delta Kappa honor society. In addition, he was the charter president of the Lee County [Alabama] Humane Society, secretary of the Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel, and president of the Tennessee Association of Special Programs, a non-profit organization involved in broadening accessibility to postsecondary education.
His 27-year marriage to the artist Betty Sapp Ragan ended in divorce.
He is survived by his son, Robert M. Ragan of Chicago; a brother, James B. Ragan, Jr., of Nashville; and a nephew, John D. Shaffer, of Greer, South Carolina.
Dr. Ragan's son and only child Robert ("Mac") Ragan remembers him as a kind, gentle, man with a playful, mischievous, and dry sense of humor.
The burial will be at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nashville at a private service. He will be laid to rest next to Irene Rice McGavock, his favorite aunt and mentor who was influential in teaching him the social graces that he used throughout his career and personal life.
Published in The Tennessean on Feb. 9, 2014