Rodney L. Nolen, Sr.

Published 12:42 pm Thursday, August 8, 2013

Drewryville – Master Chief Rodney Lee Nolen (Ret. USN) was born May 13, 1935 in Nashville, TN to Herman and Clella Mae Wallace Nolen. Mr. Nolen passed away peacefully on August 5, 2013 at his home in Drewryville.



Mr. Nolen served in the United States Navy for 23 years before retiring in 1974. During his distinguished career in the Navy, he became the youngest enlisted man to achieve the rank of chief, and served on many aircraft carriers visiting ports throughout the world, the last being the USS Hawkins. After retiring from the Navy, he continued to serve his country by working civil service with the CINCLANTFLT compound at the Naval Station in Norfolk where he retired with 43 years total federal service.

Mr. Nolen was an avid fisherman, hunter, and golfer. He also loved to drive through the back roads of the Virginia countryside enjoying a cold libation on occasion.

Mr. Nolen is preceded in death by his mother, father, and stepfather, William Henry “Nape” Napier; his brothers, Gary and Clarence “Dinky” and his sister, Mary Patricia “Pat.” He is survived by his wife, Mary Cooper Nolen; children, Melanie Anne Harris (Glenn), Melinda Lea Nolen, Debra Denise Mackendree (Phillip), Kenneth Randall Nolen, Scott Nolen (Cindy), Rodney Lee Nolen, Jr. (Lorraine) and a stepdaughter, Julie Bufogle (Fred). Mr. Nolen was a proud grandparent to 16 grandchildren, and 7 great-Grandchildren.

A celebration of life service with Naval Honors will be held at 7 PM Saturday in the Chapel of Wright Funeral Home, 206 West 4th Avenue, Franklin, VA with the Rev. Tom Spizzirri officiating. Burial will be private at Hampton VA National Cemetery. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service (6 PM) and suggests in lieu of flowers donations be made to the American Heart Association, National Center, 7272 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75231, Tel: (800) 242-8721, Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation, 5151 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 420, Washington, DC 20016, Tel: (202) 298-9211, or Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.