Douglas Corneil Sumblin

Published 6:54 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Search me O God and know my heart;

Test me and know my thoughts

Point out anything in me that offends you,

And lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Psalms 139:23-24


On Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, Douglas Corneil Sumblin accepted his call to take his position as Chef “D” in his heavenly home. He was a gentle, kind and peaceful soul. He was always a breath of fresh air and would do anything to help you.

Douglas Corneil Sumblin

Douglas was born on Sept. 16, 1968, to the late Freddie Douglas Sumblin and Earva Lee Jones-Sumblin. He was preceded in death by his paternal grand-parents: Richard and Violet Sumblin Sr. and maternal grandparents, Coybern and Elizabeth Jones Sr.

After establishing his business in Virginia, Douglas became affectionately known as Mr. D. He enjoyed basketball, tennis, fishing, traveling, serving and, most of all, cooking.

He was educated in Franklin City Public Schools and graduated from Franklin High School in 1988. He furthered his education at Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia, studying business administration. He received his travel agent certification from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, in 1994 and hotel management training school certification in 1995 in Laurel, Maryland.

Douglas joined O’Berry AME Zion Church at an early age where he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He served in both the Buds of Promise and Junior Choirs and on the Junior Usher Board. He was a faithful member, and one of his favorite songs was “Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled All Up In Jesus.” He also attended New Life Church, in Franklin, Virginia.

After moving to Georgia, He joined New Hope Church and served under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Lytia Howard. He loved his church family and served in the choir, as Sunday School teacher and head of the Hospitality Ministry. He also volunteered at Hose Homeless Shelter until he returned back home to Franklin. Upon returning home, he assisted his mother in ministry at Touch Christian Church. He served as the minster of music and worked with outreach, conducted services for various nursing homes, visited the sick and homebound. He was a committed Bible Lab student, always prepared and on time. He enjoyed competition with Justin in songs.

Mr. D, a dedicated and hard worker, began his entrepreneurship and customer services skills shining shoes at Ed Owen’s Barber Shop as early as 8 years old. He also became a volunteer bagger at the Old Belo Grocery Store around age 10, which led him to landing his first real job there at age 15 where he continued to work his way up to assistant manager.

As a young adult, Mr. D’s passion was always restaurant and hotel management so he set out to pursue his passion by starting in the hotel industry at Holiday Inn in Suffolk, Virginia, working as front desk clerk and night auditor. After gaining several years of entry-level experience he became the general manager at Motel 6 in Laurel; general manager for Microtel Inn in Columbus and College Park, Georgia; and assistant manager for Wingate Hotel in College Park, Georgia.

After he fulfilled his hotel career, Mr. D was destined to master his restaurant dream. While living in Georgia, Mr. “D” founded Catering by Douglas. He also worked as a corporate trainer for Cracker Barrel opening stores across the United States with the last store being in Chesapeake, Virginia.

In 2010, Douglas returned home to Franklin to prepare to carry out his childhood dream, to own his very own hometown restaurant. “God gifted me with taste, cooking is what I did.” In April 2012, Mr. D”s Southern Kitchen and Catering had arrived on Armory Drive Franklin. He relocated to Downtown Franklin in August 2014. Mr. D was the first black owner of a full service restaurant on Main Street in historical downtown Franklin. Over the span of time, Mr. D employed 28 staff members. His mission to provide quality food with excellent customer service earned him the recognition of having the best food in town because it was prepared with love. “It’s not only about the food, but about the experience.” You ate at Mr. D’s money or not; even the homeless would enjoy a good hot meal and the sick and shut-ins were delivered food and a visit.

He was a member of FUEL, the Franklin-Southampton Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Association.

Mr. D often told others of his personal experience of God’s resurrection power raising him up from the bed of affliction restoring and allowing him again to be a true servant. After his restoration Mr. D continued his service for the Lord by visiting, praying and ministering in homes, hospitals, funerals and wherever he was needed.

“Now my life is complete … farewell.” To God be the glory for the great things he has done.

Mr. D leaves to cherish his memory a godson, Justin Sumblin (special friend, Mollie Lombard) Franklin; god-grandparents: Mr. and Mrs. Waugh of Windsor, Virginia; four sisters: Lynnora Sumblin, Franklin; Pamela Taylor, Gaithersburg, Maryland; Angel Sumblin of Fairburn, Georgia; and Shameka Johnson (Karl,) Raleigh, North Carolina; two aunts, Virginia Mason, Richmond; Violet Goodman (Christopher) of Virginia Beach, Virginia; two great-aunts: Evelyn Jenkins, Courtland, Virginia; Betty Council, Suffolk, Virginia; seven uncles, Richard Sumblin Jr. (Rosetta), Haywood Jones (Carrie), John Sumblin, Earl Sumblin, Coybern Jones Jr., Dennis Sumblin (Mona) and Edward Sumblin (Carla;) two nephews, DeAndre and Tevin; four nieces: Tehya, Tiayuanna, Jaelynn and Serenity; a special longtime friend, Cynthia Bryant; a special cousin, the Rev. George Hampton Jr.; and a host of many cousins, friends and church families.

The funeral will be on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 11 a.m., in White Oak Springs Baptist Church, Delaware Road, Franklin. Burial will be in Southview Cemetery. A reception will take place in the church fellowship hall after the service.

Viewing will be on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. in Engram Funeral Home, which is in charge of arrangements.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God!

They are innumerable!

Psalms 139:17