Hugh Ragsdale Jr.
Hugh Appleton Ragsdale Jr., 82, of Charlottesville, Virginia, passed away on November 7, 2020. Born on August 9, 1938, in Kinston, N.C., and raised in Richlands, N.C., Hugh was the son of the late Hugh Appleton Ragsdale and Annie Koonce (Sutton) Ragsdale.
Hugh was valedictorian of his class at Asheville School and a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina. He received his B.A. from Carolina and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. In the early-1960s, he married Kate Raney Webb of Greensboro, N.C., and settled in Tuscaloosa, Ala. For several decades he was Professor of History at the University of Alabama, specializing in Russian history and publishing numerous books and articles. He traveled often to Russia, studying at Moscow State University and the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow, and leading tours of Americans eager to understand the Soviet Union. He spoke fluent Russian and several other languages and taught himself to read 1-2 others to consume newspapers and archives.
More recently, he returned to Charlottesville, Va., where he served in various history/policy-related organizations, including the Committee on Foreign Relations, while continuing to pursue his research and writing.
Hugh threw a mean softball home from left field for the UA History Department team, drove his tennis opponents crazy with every kind of spin, swam frequently off the shore in Atlantic Beach, N.C. (or any ocean), tooled around Tuscaloosa for a time in a 1965-ish Carolina blue Austin Healey Sprite, and loved animals, especially a black and white pup named Ollie. He was rarely seen without 3-4 books at hand, and his shirt pocket always sported index cards and his trusty Parker ballpoint pen for reminders.
Hugh Ragsdale is survived by his sons, Hugh Appleton Ragsdale III (Alexa) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and James Webb Ragsdale (Jean-Marc) of Dubai, United Arab Emirates; his grandchildren, T.J. (Hugh IV), Sam, and Eliza; his brothers, Carl Ragsdale of Beaufort, N.C., and Mike Ragsdale of Morehead City, N.C.; and his former wife, Martha Nabers of Tuscaloosa, Al. Long-time caregiver Rick Martin has been a godsend to Hugh and his family.
A burial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 21, 2020, at Monticello Memory Gardens, in Charlottesville, Va.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA (caspca.org
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.hillandwood.com
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Published by Daily Progress on Nov. 15, 2020.