Thomas Benjamin “T.Ben” Douglas

February 28, 1931 ~ February 12, 2024 (age 92)

Thomas Benjamin “T.Ben” Douglas of Lake Waccamaw, NC passed away peacefully on February 12, 2024, at the age of 92 with family present.

Born in Mecklenburg County, NC on February 28, 1931, Ben attended Sharon High School, where he met Faye. High school sweethearts, the two were married in 1950. Those who knew Ben will tell you that he had two great loves in his life: Faye, his wife of 73 years, and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. He took very seriously the dedication and commitment that came with those loves: Seven decades as a loving husband and almost that many as an ardent Tar Heel fan, showing up at Lake Waccamaw Methodist Church every Sunday after a UNC game, win or lose, wearing his Carolina blue attire.

Ben was drafted into the US Army and was stationed at Fort Richardson near Anchorage, Alaska. After several years, they returned home to NC where Ben attended UNC-Chapel Hill, graduating with a BS in chemistry in 1959. After landing a job as a chemist for Riegel Paper Company, Ben moved the family (now with two sons, Steve, and Keith) to Lake Waccamaw where daughter Lisa was born a couple years later.

He and Faye joined the Lake Waccamaw Methodist Church, where he served in many capacities, ranging from teaching Sunday School to financial secretary, and administrative council chairperson. He had a great love of the outdoors and a passion for problem solving and he loved to tinker, seeing what he could do with whatever objects he found that intrigued him. He was known far and wide for his finely honed recipe for Hatcher crackers. He loved to sail but once gave his friends and family quite a scare when he was electrocuted bringing a sailboat back from an adventure.

He worked for 37 years with Riegel, Federal, and International Paper companies, serving as head of the analytical lab until he retired in 1996. A scoutmaster for 10 years, Ben received the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award for his many years of dedicated service as well as the Vigil Honor of the Order of the Arrow. He continued serving in various capacities in the Boy Scouts for many years to come. His other volunteer work was dedicated to advocating for the senior citizens of his home state. He was a delegate and executive committee member of the NC Senior Tar Heel Legislature for 22 years, serving as Speaker in 1997 and 1998, Senior Senator for the National Silver-Haired Congress for 4 years, and a member of the NC Senior Citizen Association, serving as Chair for 2 years. A member of the Columbus County Department of Aging Advisory Committee for 20 years and its Chair for 10, he also was a member of the Elder Abuse Prevention Network and the NC Senior Consumer Fraud Task Force Ad Hoc Committee for many years.

Travel was another of Ben’s passions. He and Faye took more than 20 trips to far-flung destinations with Southeastern Community College, making lifelong friends in the process. He was an avid (and excellent) bridge player with Faye as his partner. He also enjoyed fishing and tennis and read everything — particularly science fiction. Boy Scout founder Lord Baden Powell wrote that Be Prepared means always being in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your DUTY, so that you know the right thing to do at the right  moment. That was Ben Douglas.

Ben did his best to serve as an example for his children and grandchildren via his volunteering with the Scouts, the Church, the Senior Citizens of Columbus County and NC, with Ramps & Rails building ramps for handicapped and just in his daily life.

The family would like to express their deep appreciation to the staff at Premier Rehab Center in Lake Waccamaw for their tireless efforts in the aid of their loved one.

Ben was preceded in death by 2 sisters Louise Knox and Dorothy “Dot” Hinson.

He is survived by one sister, Carol McClendon, his wife Faye; children Steve Douglas, Keith Douglas(Karen); Lisa Gurkin; grandchildren Curtiss Wilkinson(Rhiannon), Nicholas Wilkinson(Lena); great grandchild Madyx Wilkinson.

A celebration of his life will be held at 2pm on February 17, 2024, at Lake Waccamaw Methodist Church with Rev. Tal Madison and Rev. Chris Eason officiating. The family will receive visitors from 1-1:45pm at the church also.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made to Lake Waccamaw Methodist Church at 506 Lake Shore Drive, Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450 or to the Cape Fear Council Boy Scouts of America, PO Box 7156, Wilmington, NC  28406.

McKenzie Mortuary, 112 Jefferson Street, Whiteville, NC is serving the Douglas family.