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William Richard Croom’s battle with ALS ended Thursday, September 5, 2019, at 10:03 AM at Liberty Lane Hospice Home in the Salisbury, VA Medical Center. Richard was born in Durham, NC on October 28, 1947, to Donald Campbell Croom and Lila Harris Croom. He grew up and attended school in Scotland Neck, NC. His home was across the street from his grandparents whom he dearly loved. His grandfather, Timothy Harris, was a major Christian influence in his life. Richard joined the army in 1967 and served in Germany with the Second Battalion, 48th Infantry as a scout in the Recon Platoon for two years. In 1969, he was assigned to Head Quarters Company, Second Battalion, 34th Armor, 25th Infantry Division in Viet Nam as a Squad Leader in the Recon Scout Platoon. He was in Viet Nam all of 1969 and 1970. Part of that time, he spent as Sgt. in charge of Ground Surveillance Radar Team and Instructor at Ground Surveillance Radar in Cu Chi. During his service to our country, he earned many awards including a Combat Infantryman’s Badge, 3 Bronze Stars, 5 Army Commendation Medals, Good Conduct Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, National Defense Service Ribbon and Presidential Unit Citation. While in Viet Nam, he saw things that no young man should have to see. As a result of the many traumas, he experienced while in Viet Nam, he was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which he learned to manage through therapy but it was a lifelong process and a daily battle. He used his experiences to educate others about PTSD and to let them know that there is hope after trauma. Richard loved deep-sea fishing and spent many hours doing what he loved. He found riding the waves very soothing. He was preceded in death by his parents, Lila and Donald Croom, two nieces, Sherry Butler Liverman and Michelle Butler Craig and a great-niece Collette Reittinger. Survivors include his wife Wanda Davis Croom, Sister Donna Croom (Jim) Butler, brother, Wayne (Louise Ackerman) Croom, nieces, Monique (Tyke) Farror and Stephanie (Travis) Reittinger, nephew, TR Butler, and his children, Megan and Andy Butler and a friend/brother by choice, Bruddie (Bonita) Wilson.
Richard’s funeral will be held in the sanctuary of Dobson First Baptist where he was a member. Visitation is from 1:30 until 3:15 on Sunday afternoon Sept. 8 with the funeral service at 3:30 with Pastor Cory Honeycutt and Bruddie Wilson. Immediately following the service, the burial will take place at Fairview Baptist Church Cemetery; with Graveside Military Honors by Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Honor Guard Mount Airy Post 219 and Pilot Mountain Post 946.