Murphy Funeral Homes

4510 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA


Douglas Volgenau

November 13, 1937March 25, 2014

Douglas Volgenau

Rear Admiral Douglas Volgenau, 76, succumbed on March 25, 2014 as a result of complications associated with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Disease. Admiral Volgenau was raised in Clarence, new york, a small town outside of Buffalo. He attended a one room school through the sixth grade, Amherst Central High School and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with the class of 1959.

At sea, he served on a destroyer and four submarines, commanding the USS Billfish (SSN 676), a Sturgeon Class Fast Attack Submarine, for 3 years. Ashore, Admiral Volgenau commanded the Naval Nuclear Power School at Mare Island, California, served as Senior Member of the Pacific Fleet Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board, commanded Submarine Squadron 10 in the New London, Connecticut, and then served as the Commander of the Naval Underwater Systems Center (NUSC), including the laboratory in Newport, R.I. and the Underwater Sound Laboratory in New London, CT. As a flag officer, he served as the Director of Submarine Combat and Weapons System in the Naval Sea Systems Command and then as the first Program Executive Officer, Submarine Combat and Weapons Systems. He retired in 1991, after 32 years of service.

Following retirement from the Navy, Admiral Volgenau became a consultant for the Defense and Department of Energy agencies and their support contractors. He spent 20 years as an outside Expert for the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. In this capacity, he assisted the Board Staff in the oversight of the Department of Energy’s extensive nuclear weapons facilities complex.

Admiral Volgenau is survived by his beloved wife, Sue, of 53 years. She was chosen by him to be the 1959 USNA Color Girl. They have 3 children, Gigi Bruce(Scott), Douglas, Jr., and Andrea Beach(John) and eight loving grandchildren. A Memorial Service is on Friday, March 29 at 10:30 AM at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. Inurnment services to be at a later date at the Annapolis U.S. Naval School.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the ALS Association DC/MD/VA Chapter. 7507 Standish Place Rockville, MD 20855


The Dorothy Coleman Volgenau Scholarship Fund Amherst Central High School 4301 Main Street, Amherst, NY 14226


Douglas Volgenau

have a memory or condolence to add?

Raymond Fritz

April 21, 2014

On behalf of the United States Submarine Veterans (USSVI), we offer our sincere condolences to Sue and all of RADM Volgenau's family and friends as you mourn his passing. May God whisper peace into your hearts, comfort, and heal them. We are grateful for Doug's service to our country in the U.S. Submarine Service. Among many other positions he was the Commanding Officer of the USS Billfish SSN-676. He retired from the Navy as a RADM. To our “Brother of the Dolphin” we say … "Sailor, rest your oar. We have the watch. May you rest in peace and may God bless your loved ones who remain. Thank you for your service to our country."

So, heavenly Father add his name to the roll
Of our departed shipmates still on patrol.
Let them know that we who survive
Will always keep their memories alive.

Bless those who serve beneath the deep,
Through lonely hours their vigil keep.
May peace their mission ever be!
Protect each one, we ask of Thee.
Bless those at home who wait and pray
For their return by night and day.

Douglas Volgenau, RADM, US Navy Retired, Now on Eternal Patrol.
Fair Winds and Following Seas Shipmate
His record is now posted online in the Eternal Patrol file on the USSVI website.

Rev. Ray Fritz, National Chaplain United States Submarine Veterans, USSVI.

April 21, 2014

RADM VOLGENAU was the one person who had the most influence on my naval career. With the upmost respect. He earned it. CWO2(Ret) J. F. DANIELS

April 21, 2014

Sue, Gigi, Doug and Annie... How sorry I am to learn of Doug's passing today. He was such a fine man, and will live on always, remembered with such love and admiration for his kindness, and integrity. Thank you all for the honour you bestowed to allow me to share in your family and come to know and love your father and husband. Tha gaol agam ort. Gabrielle "Ruthie"

Richard Hubbard

April 11, 2014

I was on the USS Billfish when Catp Volgenau was Squadron 10 commander. He was a decent man, and treated those below him with courtesy and respect. I only wish that I had known at the time that we were both from Buffalo.

Godspeed, Captain

Bob Moore

April 8, 2014

Ann and I send our deepest sympathies on the passing of Doug,and have you both in our thoughts and prayers.I worked with Doug on a daily basis when he was Commander of NUSC,Newport RI and New London Ct.He was an outstanding leader and the first Commander of NUSC to rise to Flag while
leading NUSC.

I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to exchange telephone and email with you and Doug only a few weeks before his passing.
"A great Naval Officer to the Navy and to his family".

Judy and Alan Cone

April 3, 2014

Dear Sue,

We all share in your loss of Doug. Please accept our thoughts and prayers for you and your fine family. Be thankful for the wonderful years and times you had with him.

We all share differently in our loss of Doug. Doug was my first “hero”. I knew about Ernst at the Naval Academy, but when Doug became the Color Company Commander... the best of the best... and, when I understood what that meant... that is what I wanted to do. I wanted to do exactly as Doug had done.

When I asked his Dad what I had to do to follow in Doug's footsteps, Uncle Elmer told me I had to do everything right. That included academics, sports, leadership, church, family and community. I learned that I could not get in trouble in school or my community, because that would disqualify me.

Everything I did, I did to qualify for the Naval Academy, and future top success at the Academy. I started spit-shining my shoes... and even spit-shined my football shoes. I was the first in my school to be class president for 4 years. I co-captained the football and tracks teams, made All-America in football and set the state record in track. I was active at church and president of my Boy Scout Troop. I earned a Regents scholarship, National Honorary Society awards and a National Merit Scholarship. I co-won a National Science Award for building a working atom particle accelerator. I was president of my 4-H chapter, raising 300 horned Dorset sheep and winning numerous show competitions at the county and state level. And more...

In other words, I did everything right. With the incredible support of my family, my school and my community, I earned an appointment to The United States Naval Academy, my goal come true.

But, more importantly, Doug, as my hero example, helped me avoid the downfalls of young men in a small town. I was looked up to by everyone in my community. I could not let them down. Everyone had high expectations for me. I could not consider doing the wilder things that hurt many of my friends and classmates.

What started during those years following Doug's example has carried me for a lifetime. I look back at the decisions made, the paths taken and the paths avoided, and realize what a rich and productive life I have lived by and through the values I learned in those formative grade school years... by doing it right. I have been blessed along the way by leaders, coaches, teachers, administrators and mentors who have believed in me and have given of themselves for my success. But, without that start following Doug, I doubt I ever would have met the great people I have worked with or accomplished the successes of my life.

Doug set an early, high standard for me. I fall short of that standard often... but never lose sight of it. His gift to me will last a lifetime. I hope to continue to do it right... and positively influence others.

Thank you for sharing Doug with us. He was always my Mother's favorite and your wedding the storybook romance we all dream of. Doug was a good guy, a tough guy, a serious and funny friend. And, Doug was, and is, my first hero... always.

Family Love, Judy and Alan

Catharine (Sue) Wyman (Alvord)

April 3, 2014


My cousin Dick Leland told me of my cousin Doug's passing. I'm very saddened to hear the news. I remember him as a young child when we visited my Aunt Dottie's house. Such fond memories of him and his siblings. A great guy and fun to be around.

Chris, Marjan and Alexander Piccin

April 2, 2014


We will all miss Doug's quick wit and kind heart. We will remember him as a man in nearly perpetual motion; always fixing, improving, striving to make something or some person better. Our deepest condolences to you and your family.

James and Judith Bugbee

April 1, 2014

We were neighbors in Monterey, CA. During exam week at the Naval Postgraduate School our four year old son disappeared. Doug left his studies to join the search. Thanks to Doug and the others he was found. We have never forgotten.

Allen Lawver

March 31, 2014

Sue and Family,
I was in Doug's squadron when I had my first submarine command, USS Gato (SSN615). Six months after I relieved, I left for a Med deployment. One of the reasons Gato did so well during that deployment was the preparation Doug made sure we completed prior to leaving. Memories of Doug's Navy career and of his role as a father, husband and grandfather can help ease the burden of your loss. Mary and I send our best in this difficult time...
Al and Mary Lawver