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Rollie J. Washington

Rollie J. Washington

Sep 7, 1947 - Apr 28, 2021

Rollie J. Washington

Rollie J. Washington

Sep 7, 1947 - Apr 28, 2021

Rollie J. Washington - Obituary


ollie James Washington, Jr., affectionately known as “Ray” to his family and friends, was born on September 7, 1947 in Orlando, Florida to Rollie James Washington, Sr. and Clotiel McKinnie (Bell). However, he grew up along with his older brother, James Bellamy, in the care of their dedicated grandparents, George and Ruby Jackson, who exposed them to farm life in Chipley, Florida. Their grandfather grew peanuts and raised horses, cattle, pigs. Throughout his life, Ray frequently spoke fondly of his farm life experiences in Chipley, which clearly inspired him and his former wife to acquire an 82-acre farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland in the 1980s. His roots in Tallahassee, Florida: After the passing of his grandfather, Ray’s grandmother eventually relocated him and his brother to Tallahassee, Florida where she supported them by doing domestic work for white families. Ray and his brother also had to work to contribute to their care. Their non-nuclear family worked together cleaning the whites-only office buildings in the downtown area of Tallahassee and always during the late-night hours because they were prohibited from interacting with the office occupants. During the 1960s, Ray became a high school football standout at “Old” Lincoln High School, the Blacks-only high school in Tallahassee. He earned a football scholarship to Florida A&M University. Ray also met and married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Mae Alexander, in Tallahassee. They were married for 47 years until they divorced in 2015. Together they raised and educated their five children - Rollia Oliver (Robert Anthony), Rollie “Little Ray” Washington (Sumone), Rovall Washington (Caitlin), Raichell Brown (Chris), and Raechell Bailey (Marcus). Ray was also a father to his first two grandchildren, Eric and Ashley, during their life just as his grandfather was for him. Three of his oldest grandchildren, all of whom are now adults, still affectionately call him “Daddy.” His life in Maryland: After Ray’s freshman year at Florida A&M University, he transferred to Morgan State University where his football career continued to grow and led to a short-term professional football contract. Nonetheless, he sustained a neck injury and did not fulfill his potential to play professional football. Despite his unrealized dream to play professional football, he experienced professional and financial success through a variety of other endeavors. In addition to working jobs to support his growing family, he purchased and subdivided land in Anne Arundel County, Maryland and joined forces with a life-long friend from high school to build and sell single family homes. Additionally, he and his former wife formed Washington and Washington Enterprises, which provided social services to underserved and disabled communities. In the mid- 1980s, the pair discovered an 82-acre parcel of farmland for sale in Upper Marlboro, then known as horse country in Prince George’s County. The pair purchased the property and relocated their still-young family from suburban Anne Arundel County to the place the family now refers to as “The Farm.” Ray acquired and bred thoroughbred horses, raised cattle, and taught his children the humility and pride of hard-working farm life that he cherished from his early childhood. His legacy: A few years before his passing, Ray accepted his oldest daughter’s invitation to speak to her middle school classes on Career Day. He shared the stories of his many successful business endeavors during his younger years. After concluding his talk, a student asked him, “What was your greatest accomplishment?” He tearfully replied, “My family.” Rollie James Washington, Jr. was not a perfect man, but he was, without a doubt, a good man. He was born into no advantages in life, but he dared to dream big and worked hard to pursue extraordinary endeavors. As a result, his children, grandchildren, and descendants who will never know him have a strong foundation from which they can achieve greatness. In his later years, Rollie James Washington, Jr. (a.k.a. Daddy, Grandpa, Pop-pop, and Ray) focused on his grandchildren and relished in the pure joy that they brought to his life, and he dedicated his time and energy to trying to bring just as much joy to theirs. He is survived by his five children as well as his 18 grandchildren – Eric, Ashley, Robert Christopher, Colby, Justin, Zarriah, Mia, Phoebe, Princeton, Boston, Alexandra, Keith, Christina, Dorian, Devvon, Rhilee, Marcus (MJ), and Emmersyn – and two great grandchildren, Cire and Victoria. He is also survived by his former wife, older brother, and a handful of dear friends.

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