Local historian, author, columnist and retired major with the Rome Police Department, Michael David Ragland, age 73, of Cave Spring, passed away suddenly on Saturday, March 16, 2019, at a Cedartown hospital.
Mike was born in Lindale, Georgia, on June 6, 1945, son of the late Harry Ragland and the late Georgia Greene Ragland. Mike was a 1963 graduate of Pepperell High School and later received a dual bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Administration from Berry College. He was a veteran of the U. S. Navy, serving during the Vietnam War on the submarine, The USS Chopper (SS-342) from 1963 to 1967 in the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, South America and throughout the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico.
After rejoining civilian life, Mike joined the Rome Police Department where he served for 40 years, retiring as a major. During that 40-year span, he served as a motorcycle officer, patrol sergeant, shift commander and captain in charge of the detective bureau. As major, he rotated serving the three major bureaus of the Police Department: Operations, Administration and Support Services. He was a graduate of the GBI Academy and the 133th Session of the FBI Academy.
After retirement, Mike devoted much of his time to writing and historical research. He was a member of the Grace Fellowship Baptist Church where he served as a Deacon. He was also a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Mike loved the City of Cave Spring and was a former member of the City Council. He also loved leading historical tours of Cave Spring.
Survivors include his wife, Martha Ann Highfield Ragland, to whom he was married on August 23, 1968; a daughter, Bekki Fox (Eric), Silver Creek; two grandchildren, Caleb Parris and Mattie Parris White (Drue), and their father, Bryan Parris; bonus grandchildren, Nick Fox and Erica Fox; a nephew, Byron Dover (Lori); a special canine companion, Lucy; several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at 1 p.m. at Pleasant Valley South Baptist Church with the Rev. David Thornton and the Rev. Ben Clements officiating. Interment will follow in Cave Spring Cemetery with the American Legion Post #5 Honor Guard presenting military honors.
The family will receive friends at Henderson & Sons Funeral Home, South Chapel, on Tuesday from 4 until 7 p.m.
Members of the Rome Police Department Honor Guard will serve as pallbearers.
Flowers will be accepted or memorial contributions may be made to P.A.W.S. at P. O. Box 946, Rome, GA 30162-0946.
From the Rome Police Department: “Mike Ragland was an amazing man who truly cared about his community. Mike was looked up to by those around him. Mike served his community on and off duty in various capacities. He volunteered his off time at local food banks, in prison ministry and working with the Rome/ Floyd Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers. Mike was also an instrumental part in erecting the Law Enforcement memorial monument located at our Law Enforcement Center. He will be truly missed by many!”
Anna Wilcox Vaagen of the South Marble Coffee Shop in Rockmart shared the following about Mike Ragland’s final minutes.
“Please pray for our friend Mike Ragland’s family.
“I had Mike (the sweetest author who wrote adorable books about his dachshunds) signing his books at my coffee shop today. I’ve met with him a few times in the past. He signed one of his books for me tonight, right before he left my coffee shop for the evening. He gave me a high five for the good sales he made there today.
“He got in his truck to leave, and we thought he pulled out. But somebody saw him slumped over in his truck about 20 minutes later. They told me, so I ran out of my coffee shop and worked with another man to get him out of his truck. I gave him CPR chest compressions in the middle of the street for a good five minutes. My husband, Dan, came to give him a couple breaths and tried to keep his airway open while I compressed.
“The EMT showed up and worked on him some more. Tonight, we have received news that he didn’t make it. We just learned from the family member that he had suffered a massive heart attack.
“Mike had a love for life, family, friends, and his dachshunds! He was a retired Major from the Rome police department. He was a historian, author and columnist. He was a wonderful man who always had a great story to tell.
“Please join us in praying for his family.”
Bryant Steele, past president and active member of the Rome Area Writers, said of Ragland:
“Mike, a past president of Rome Area Writers, was active in the group for years and will be missed.”
Services: We hope to share details on memorial services later today.
FROM SATURDAY NIGHT
The Cave Spring Community is mourning the sudden passing of Mike Ragland Saturday night. A retired major with the Rome City Police, Ragland was most well-known for writing a number of books including, Bertha, and leading Ghost Tours in Cave Spring.
Facebook post from his daughter, Bekki Fox: “Mike Ragland, my dad, passed away suddenly this evening as he was leaving his event in Rockmart. We are devastated. Please pray for us. He was our rock, care giver, fixer of all things.”
From the City of Cave Spring: “It is with great sadness to learn the City of Cave Spring lost one our own today, and our biggest promoter of our little city. Rest in Peace my friend.”
He is remembered for his decades with the Rome Police Department, his service to his country with the U.S. Navy, his post-retirement career as an author, historian, storyteller and Cave Spring City Council member.
We will have updates on his services as they are released.
Sunday morning, his Facebook page is flooded with tributes, special memories and gratitude for his many contributions to the community. Have a tissue ready as you open Facebook.
Mike’s final note on Facebook was about looking toward the future. He spent Saturday afternoon at the Welch Fest in Rockmart, signing some of his books and — as always — doing a little marketing on behalf of his characters and his community. Mike’s final Facebook post: “They’re about to shoot a movie in Rockmart..Alex does Costumes..from England..now is the proud owner of a “Bertha” book..which will accompany her back to L.A…..keep your fingers crossed…”
His bio from his author’s website:
Mike Ragland was born and raised in Lindale, GA where he attended Pepperell Elementary and High Schools. After graduating from Pepperell High in 1963, he joined the Navy and was assigned to the submarine, The USS Chopper (SS-342) and served from ’63 to ’67. During that time he served in the north Atlantic, Mediterranean, South America and throughout the east coast and Gulf of Mexico. When Mike rejoined civilian life, he worked briefly laying carpet and was fired the day he planned to resign to join the Rome Police Dept, where he served 40 years and retired as a Major. As a member of the force, he served as a motorcycle officer, patrol Sgt., Shift Commander, and Captain in charge of the Detective Bureau. He also served as Juvenile Officer and as a liaison officer to Juvenile court. Later, Mike also served as Training Officer where he was charged with the task of converting a City owned building to what was to become the new Cleveland Training Center. He secured a grant during this time to build one of the nicest outdoor firing ranges in North Georgia. He served as Training Officer until 1999 when he was promoted to Major. As Major he rotated serving the three major bureaus of the Police Dept.: Operations, Administration and support services. During that time he was also the principal grant writer for the police dept, bringing in many Federal and State grants to secure police officer jobs, positions, and equipment, including the Call to Duty monument that stands in front of the Rome Police Dept. today.
Mike was married to Martha Highfield on August 23rd, 1968, and they have one daughter, Bekki Ragland Fox, and two grandchildren, Caleb and Mattie Parris. He is an avid Crimson Tide and Nascar fan. A much loved speaker and writer in Northwest Georgia, Mike is devoted to writing full time since his retirement from the Police Department in April 2007. He and his wife currently live in Cave Spring, Ga where he is working on his second historical novel, “If Thine Eye Be Evil”, and a collection of his stories and articles, “I’ve Still Got Cotton in my Blood”.