American History / Blog

Brigadier Ronald R. Van Stockum, U.S.Marine Corps (Retired) Obituary

Brigadier General Ronald R. Van Stockum, U. S. Marine Corps (Retired)

Brigadier General Ronald R. Van Stockum died peacefully in his sleep on April 24, 2022, in Shelby County, Kentucky.

He was born in Cambridgeshire, England on July 8, 1916. His father, Sergeant Reginald Bareham, had died a week earlier in the great Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916, where 19,240 British soldiers had been killed in a single day.

Van Stockum’s mother Florence, brought him to America in 1920, where she married Anton W. Van Stockum, a Hollander who had served in the Dutch Army and later in the United States Army in World War I.

Ronald Van Stockum was raised in Washington State, living in Seattle, Yakima and Longview during the depression years. He graduated from the University of Washington in 1937, having participated in the Army Infantry ROTC for all four years. As the honor ROTC graduate, he accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in the regular U. S. Marine Corps.

In the spring of 1942, as Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment aboard USS Wasp, an aircraft carrier, he participated in its two hazardous trips into the Mediterranean to deliver British Spitfires for the Relief of Malta. Later in World War II he commanded Marine infantry units in the campaigns of Bougainville, Guam, and Iwo Jima.

He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General on July 1, 1962, serving in that rank successively as Director of the Marine Reserve, Commanding General Landing Force Training Command and Deputy Commander of the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. He retired on July 1, 1967 after 30 years as a career officer in the regular Marine Corps. His decorations include two awards of the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star, with combat “V.” He later returned to active duty for a year and a half as the senior Marine member of the Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals.

In addition to his AB degree from the University of Washington (1937), he earned an MS degree from George Washington University (1970).

In February 1970, he settled with his family at Allen Dale, his wife’s historic farm in Shelby County Kentucky. Upon his arrival in Kentucky, General Van Stockum commenced a second career of eleven years duration at the University of Louisville, serving as Associate Dean for Administration at the School of Medicine and later as Assistant to the University President.

Van Stockum, a past President and past Interim Director of Louisville’s nationally recognized Filson Historical Society, had been active in community affairs. He served three years as President of the Mental Health Association of Kentucky. In 1976, as Chairman of the Louisville Armed Forces Committee, he arranged for President Gerald Ford to be guest of honor at the group’s fiftieth annual Armed Forces Dinner. Later he served as Chairman of the Louisville Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee.

He was a past president of the Shelby County (Kentucky) Historical Society, a past president of the Shelby County Community Theatre, and a past chairman of the Shelby County Community Foundation.

Van Stockum is the author and publisher of six historical books. He had also published several articles in The Filson History Quarterly and in the Marine Corps Gazette. He had written a number of entries for the Kentucky Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Louisville. He had spoken before the Filson Historical Society on several occasions, including a presentation about Squire Boone, Shelby County’s founder.

In 2007, at the age of 90, he commenced writing a series of columns for the Shelbyville, Kentucky Sentinel-News entitled “History Researched and Recalled”. They dealt with military and historical subjects especially those involving Shelby County Kentucky.  Over 300 have been published.

He is preceded in death by his wife Susanne de Charette Van Stockum, his parents, Florence Rosetta Freestone Bareham Van Stockum, Reginald Bareham, and his stepfather Antonius Wilhelmus Van Stockum.

General Van Stockum and his wife Susanne, were married over fifty years and are survived by their three children: Michele Solange Myers (Richard), Ronald Reginald Van Stockum, Jr. (Cheryl), Charles Antoine Van Stockum (Martie); and Kerry Greene Van Stockum.

Their six grandchildren: Beau Myers, Toby Myers, Kimberly Linkhart (Jason), Charles Van Stockum, Jr. (Danielle), Philip Van Stockum (Kathy), Thomas Van Stockum (Brittany) and six great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be private.

It is suggested that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Shelby County Community Theatre, The Filson Historical Society of Louisville, or to the Van Stockum Funds in the Community Foundation of Louisville.



About Author

Ronald R. Van Stockum, Jr. is a lawyer, teacher, biologist, writer, guitarist, and recently an actor living on his family's old farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Santa Clara University, and a Masters and PhD. in Biology from the University of Louisville. He also has his Juris Doctorate in Law from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. He practices law from offices in Shelbyville, Kentucky concentrating his legal practice in environmental law. His biologic research is in historical phytogeography. Dr. Van Stockum, Jr. has published numerous books, articles, and short stories in the areas of law, science, and creative writing. most of his 24 titles are available on this site and Amazon with many on Kindle and Audible!


  • John Tepper Marlin
    April 26, 2022 at 9:45 am

    Sorry for your loss.
    John Tepper Marlin, son of Hilda van Stockum, 1908-2006

    • Reggie Van Stockum
      April 26, 2022 at 9:59 am

      Thank you,John. We are pleased to hear from your family.
      Ronald R (Reggie) Van Stockum, Jr.

  • Kate Bariteau
    April 26, 2022 at 11:55 am

    Thank you for continuing to tell his story. I am thinking of you and your family.

  • ashley martha trautner
    April 26, 2022 at 12:00 pm

    Sorry for your loss, Reggie. I an certain that your father was very proud of you and all that you have accomplished.
    Ashley Martha Trautner, former student.

  • DrB
    April 26, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    Reg, if you need anything, you know you can call on us. Any time of day or night. Our hearts are with you.

  • Singh, Jasbinder
    April 26, 2022 at 1:58 pm

    Having come from the SIKH community in India, we/I have special respect for those who serve in the Armed Forces of any country. Sorry for your loss. Your father was a very special person, indeed. I often think of you, Reggie and look forward to seeing you one of these days.

  • Dwight R. Cropper
    April 26, 2022 at 5:03 pm

    Reggie, your father’s was a life well lived so keep the good memories of him. You are clearly the scion of good stock and you carry the family name very well! We will always be grateful for your successful legal battle to protect the American Indian earthworks and village site here in Greenup County.

  • phillipdalybellsouthnet
    April 26, 2022 at 9:44 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss of family. He was definitely a very special man. I’m sure that he inspired you and many others to well. my heart goes out to you and your family.
    Your friend, Phillip Daly

  • Bob McBeath
    April 26, 2022 at 11:52 pm

    My heartfelt condolences, Reggie, to you and your family. You only have one Daddy, and when he is gone, you grieve. But you will always be with him, as you will increasingly see him in yourself. In the days to come, you will look in the mirror and see his face, or look at your hands and remember his touch, or hear your voice and discern his voice’s echo; and you will recognize him. In you. So go through your grief, but be amazed in the days to come to realize that he is still here. In you. Peace to you, brother.

  • Logan
    April 27, 2022 at 5:41 pm

    Very sorry for your loss. What an amazing life! Sending love and prayers to you and your family from all of us at EKI. Hope you will stop in for a visit when you are in the Bay Area.

  • Bobbie Bryant
    April 28, 2022 at 8:51 am

    Reggie, General Van Stockum was the fourth person I was introduced to on the day of my very first visit to Shelbyville. I was duly impressed and discovered that day that we shared many common interests. It was fun to learn more about him as the years rolled by and I have been so honored and pleased to call him my friend. Fast forward twenty years, our oldest son became his friend (and came to greatly admire the General) over their shared love for Allen Dale. The General was a gentleman. He was one of a kind among a generation of amazing individuals. Bill and I are praying for you, Cheryl, the boys and their families as you all say farewell to this larger than life figure in your family. Our sympathies my friend, Bobbie

    • Reggie Van Stockum
      April 28, 2022 at 9:12 am


  • Short Carolyn
    April 28, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    We are so sorry for your loss. The Sturgeon Reunion attendants enjoyed his historical presentation at Shepherdsville, KY several years ago.

  • Shannon
    May 5, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    Amazing! Thank you for sharing, Reggie. Much love from Meghan and me. ❤️❤️❤️


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