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.