Richard Earl ‘Dick’ Douglas

Published 10:30 am Monday, August 28, 2023

“Well done, Good & Faithful Servant.”

These sweet words were surely heard by Richard Earl “Dick” Douglas on August 25th as he entered his Heavenly rest. Born to Jewel and Hollice Douglas on September 17, 1940, as the beloved 5th of 7 children, Richard lived almost 70 of 83 years on the same road. His life was marked by a love for God, his family, his church, and missions.

Growing up in Brookhaven, Richard also spent 2 years as a teenager in Brazil with his family. He later graduated from Enterprise High School alongside his double 1st cousin, Cliff Smith, with many basketball accolades. He went on to play under the legendary Coach Ricks at Co-Lin Jr College and then finished his education at the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in Industrial Arts.

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He married the love of his life, Bettye Simmons while in college, and their marriage blessed others for over 61 years. Richard worked in the field for Shell Oil in Plaquemine Louisiana, and in Mississippi in Brandon, Bay Springs, and Brookhaven before branching out to own & operate Lincoln Ready Mix, working alongside his men for 20 years before retiring at the age of 56. His business acumen, work ethic and integrity were signatures for his success in a very competitive industry. He balanced work with service to his church – Fair River Baptist – and community, serving as a long-time deacon & Deacon Chair, Chairman of the Building Committee, member of the Pastor Search Committee, and Sunday School Teacher of youth and older men. His Men’s Prayer Group met for many years. He and Bettye received the Exchange Club Golden Deeds Award, and he was voted Father of the Year at Fair River, an award that spanned his lifetime with his 3 daughters. Richard had a deep love for missions and went on many church building trips around the United States with the local Church Building Association. He also used his gifts and talents on many local Habitat for Humanity projects. Internationally, he and Bettye spent 17 years after retirement going with the Honduras Baptist Dental Mission and helping in various ways from building a Mission Compound to working in the pharmacy and handing out bibles to everyone they could. He spread the Gospel by sending out tens of thousands of bibles in Spanish across Honduras.

He loved helping others and often remarked he had had a good day when he had helped somebody. His famous chili and fruit strudels were often whipped up and shared with friends in need of encouragement. With the Lincoln County Baptist Association, he joined a small group of men who built 278 handicap ramps, individualized to each person’s need. His family, who knew him as Papa Doug, were recipients of many woodworking projects, from fences to crosses to furniture – anything to help make life easier and spend time together. He loved “his 4 girls”, a good joke, his trip of a lifetime to Israel, Milky Way Ice Cream, and his thinking chair where he helped many along life’s way….

A constant source of joy were his 7 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren into whom their Papa Doug poured much love and guidance.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Irene Smith Meredith, and his brother Robert Leon “Bobby” Douglas.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Bettye Simmons Douglas; his 3 grateful daughters, Rhonda Baird (Mark) of Jackson, MS, Robyn Aker (Shannon) of Brookhaven, MS, and Ramona Ozier (Lee) of Brandon, MS; his 7 grandchildren, Macey Baird Benton (Matt) of Nashville, TN, Betsy Baird Martin (Lawrence) of Jackson, MS and Richard James Baird of Nashville, TN, Allison Aker McCaffrey (Josh) of Brandon, MS, Leslie Aker Franciskato (Justin) of Madison, MS, Sam Ozier of Huntsville, AL, and Bella Ozier of Brandon MS; and his 5 great-grandchildren, Asher, Archie, and Anderson McCaffrey and Rush & Darden Benton. His sisters, Libby Jackson of Madison, MS, Betty Joyce Byrd (Jerry) and Reba Roberts of Brookhaven, MS, brother Connie Mack Douglas (Charlene) of Brookhaven, MS, Cousin Cliff Smith (Charlotte) of Madison, MS, sister-in-law, Barbara Douglas of Brookhaven, MS, brother-in-law Jerry Rankin of Waco, TX, and a host of nieces and nephews he loved very much.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, August 29, 2023, from 9:30 am to 11:00 am at Fair River Baptist Church, 3698 Fair River Drive, NE, Brookhaven, MS. The Celebration of Life Ceremony will be at 11 a.m. followed by a graveside service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Honduras Baptist Dental Mission, PO Box 1807, Collins, MS 39428, or to Lottie Moon (Payable to IMB (International Mission Board) Attn: Ministry Advancement, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230-3932.

So go on, Good and Faithful Servant – may you look down on us with a smile – as you dwell in the house of the Lord, forever. Amen.