"Shed light on the path and the Journey is easy." ...Pennie Douglas


“That’s just about how many opportunities life gives us; all we have to do is reach for them.”
WH. Douglas, Jr.

Mr. William H. Douglas, Jr. July 24, 1924-February 20, 1995

W.H. Douglass, Jr. was born in Lexington, Tennessee on July 24, 1924. He grew up on the family farm inherited from his grandfather Dr. Louis S. Douglass of Henderson County.

Since early childhood, he worked long hours in the fields picking cotton. With each cotton flower he picked, he grew strong in character and strength. He developed a strong Christian belief of kindness and caring for others. After completing the 9th grade at Montgomery High School in Lexington, Tennessee, W.H. was obligated to return to the fields of cotton and work full time.

At the age of 19, in early spring 1943, W.H. enlisted into the United States Army. During his military career he received numerous medals.

April, 1946 with Honorable Discharge in hand, W.H. left the Army. He married and settled in South Los Angeles, California. With a family to support, he returned to school and received his GED.  Subsequently, he took classes in Mechanical Drawing and Tool Design from Los Angeles Trade Technical College.  W.H. found employment at North American Rockwell as a Janitor. He worked hard and was promoted to Machine Operator. Over the years, he moved up in the ranks to finally an Aerospace Engineer. In 1981, he was assigned to Rockwell Space Division. Three months later the Space Shuttle Columbia took flight. He retired in 1983 moving back to Tennessee. He went to his final home on February 20, 1995.

He valued education and worked hard to send me to schools that were challenging, no matter how far away they were from home. He waited long hours in the car so I could participate in speech contests across Southern California, while listening to ball games on his small transistor radio.

In the summer of '67, we drove cross country from California to Tennessee touring all the states in between. I remember one night traveling on a dark long stretch of highway gazing out of the rear car window. I saw nothing but stars filling every inch of the sky. "Look at all those stars!" I said. He replied, “That’s just about how many opportunities life gives us; all we have to do is reach for them.”

To honor his legacy, the William H. Douglas Foundation was created to help young people reach for their stars of opportunity.

~ Author and Daughter, Pennie Douglas, Executive Director

WH Douglas, Jr.

 WHD's Military Medals: