This life t'will soon be passed, only what's done for Christ will last.
Rear Admiral Douglas Volgenau, 76, succumbed on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, as a result of complications associated with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Disease.
Admiral Volgenau was raised in Clarence, N.Y., a small town outside of Buffalo. He attended a one room school through the sixth grade, Amherst Central High School and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with the Class of 1959.
At sea, he served on a destroyer and four submarines, commanding the USS Billfish (SSN 676), a Sturgeon Class Fast Attack Submarine, for three years. Ashore, Admiral Volgenau commanded the Naval Nuclear Power School at Mare Island, Calif., served as senior member of the Pacific Fleet Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board, commanded Submarine Squadron 10 in New London, and then served as the commander of the Naval Underwater Systems Center (NUSC), including the laboratory in Newport, R.I. and the Underwater Sound Laboratory in New London.
As a flag officer, he served as the director of Submarine Combat and Weapons System in the Naval Sea Systems Command and then as the first program executive officer, Submarine Combat and Weapons Systems. He retired in 1991, after 32 years of service.
Following retirement from the Navy, Admiral Volgenau became a consultant for the Defense and Department of Energy agencies and their support contractors. He spent 20 years as an outside expert for the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. In this capacity, he assisted the board staff in the oversight of the Department of Energy's extensive nuclear weapons facilities complex.
Admiral Volgenau is survived by his beloved wife, Sue, of 53 years. She was chosen by him to be the 1959 USNA Color Girl. They have three children, Gigi Bruce (Scott), Douglas Jr., and Andrea Beach (John); and eight loving grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the ALS Association DC/MD/VA Chapter, 7507 Standish Place, Rockville, MD 20855 or The Dorothy Coleman Volgenau Scholarship Fund, Amherst Central High School, 4301 Main St., Amherst, NY 14226.
Shipmates may leave messages of condolence at:
Mike Klein attended the funeral and provided his thoughts:
Arrived at St. John's church in downtown DC about ten minutes late - rain, traffic, parking. Beautiful church, nice turnout - I'd say 100+. I caught the tail end of part one of a two part eulogy. Ernest Volgenau was up first, and you knew they were related. Even from the back row I could see the resemblance. He's a little rickety, so he has to be older than 76. Second speaker was a retired Captain named Garrett - Doug and he served on Francis Scott Key, and were classmates at the Academy, class of 59. Garrett told a story of the Billfish trip to Portsmouth England where Volgenau invoked the "only two kinds of ships" story. The American visitors were Billfish, and a couple of surface craft. Volgenau spoke first to the welcoming Brit, and told him that there were only two types of ships; Submarines and targets. And then he introduced the captain of one of the American surface craft as the Captain of a target rather than the ship's name. (I left Billfish before that trip) After some praying and singing that was it. (recognized no one, except for the old man's thought of "everyone looks familiar".
The program indicated that there would be a reception at the Army-Navy Country Club. I drove over to Arlington, stopped for coffee, and headed to the Country Club. Long line to meet and extend sympathies and condolences. While in line, I spoke with another class-mate - Ragan Phillips, and his wife "Phyllis Phillips". They drove up from Ashland Va. Sue Volgenau, very warm and gracious. I extended my condolences and told her that Gary Morrison did the same. She asked where Gary was - I told her Texas. Then I choked up. Don't know why. Just turning into an old sap. Volgenau's were in line after their mother- next - the oldest son - must be nine feet tall, and another Doug lookalike, other children and in-laws. There was a sit-down meal, but I wasn't interested in eating. I got a cup of coffee and walked around all the tables. Didn't recognize any Billfish shipmates, and no one called my name. I asked if anyone knew of burial plans - no. Phyllis suggested that he might be cremated and placed in the columbarium at Arlington National, and Ragan thought they might bury him in upstate New York.....I went home.
Regards, Mike Klein
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.