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Captain Douglas Floyd Ponischil

Captain Douglas Floyd Ponischil


Captain Douglas Floyd Ponischil, 99, passed away peacefully on May 15, 2020. He was born on October 20, 1920 to Floyd Francis Ponischil and Yvonne Douglas Ponischil in Galveston, TX. He graduated from Ball High School with the class of '36 and was also a graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy in the second graduating class of 1940.

Douglas sailed for Lykes Brothers Steamship Company on various vessels and was the Captain of the S.S. George L. Baker from 1945-1946, which sailed to Pearl Harbor during WWII. He was called back to active duty during the Korean War and served as a Lieutenant and Public Information Officer in the United States Navy. At the age of 24, Douglas was the youngest skipper in the  Maritime Service to  hold Masters Papers, which allowed him to skipper a ship of any tonnage on any ocean in the world.

Douglas met his wife, Jean Kendall, in New York City, and raised three children in Charlotte, NC. He was very active in the Charlotte community, volunteering at Charlotte Catholic High School, The Mint Museum, and The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Douglas loved the cultural life of the Queen City; literacy, theatre, opera, and most of all, the symphony.

He was predeceased by his sister, Aimee Ponischil Dooley, and his brother, John Kit Ponischil, both of California. He is survived by his son Mark Douglas Ponischil (Karen) of Charlotte, NC, his daughter Susan Ponischil Seagroves (Rick) of Myrtle Beach, SC, his son John Kendall Ponischil (Tamara) of Denver, CO, and by his three grandchildren Tyler, Stuart, and Kendall Seagroves. Douglas is also survived by his first cousin and best friend, Bill Douglas of Galveston, TX.

Special thanks to Ula Smith for  her extraordinary love,  care, and support of Mr. Douglas. So many thanks to the staff and caregivers at Myrtle Beach Manor, their kindness and care was outstanding. Sincere gratitude goes to The Trustees of the Sailors' Snug Harbor in the City of New York for their support during Captain Ponischil's life.

A private burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to The Charlotte Symphony in honor of Douglas Ponischil.


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Captain Douglas
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Wayne Williams - USMC
Longs, SC
Created On: 06/04/2020 12:53:51

Thanks for your service Sailor !!
Wayne Williams
United States Marine Corps

Created On: 06/04/2020 10:54:23

SCOTT AND Pamela Pyle

Jay Kilroy
Charlotte, NC
Created On: 05/28/2020 14:02:33

A LIFE WELL LIVED! My life with your father crossed paths through many years. Mary Louise and I first met Doug & Jean at St. Patrick's, and always enjoyed their company there. Later, Doug was a guiding influence in leading me to AA. He also became a valuable employee (our patients loved him!) when I owned National Home Respiratory Care. And, of course, there were dinners together with Mary Louise and me at his favorite spot, Outback! A fine compassionate gentleman, and quite a story teller. You three should be very proud.

Father Wilbur Thomas
Asheville, NC
Created On: 05/26/2020 22:25:21

So sorry to hear of Doug’s passing. May he Rest In Peace. May you know great consolation in the memories you hold of his great spirit.

Muriel Crawford
Charlotte, NC
Created On: 05/26/2020 00:14:56

So sorry to learn of your father's passing. For sure he is with the Lord. Your father was a co-worker at Rexham Corporation when I was hired in 1980. He always had a wonderful smile and a great person to work with. I remember how he might share a joke or two to make me laugh. May God be with all of you through this difficult time.

Susan League
Chatlotte, NC
Created On: 05/22/2020 14:58:16

I am so saddened by the loss of Douglas but so honored and happy to have known him. I had the pleasure of enjoying the symphony and other cultural events with him on numerous occasions. He was truly a remarkable man. I send my sincere condolences to his family.

Paul RIsk
Cornelius NC
Created On: 05/21/2020 21:30:54

I remember Captain Doug from the monthly meetings for the Merchant Mariners but I best remember this fine gentleman from hearing his stories from my dad, James Risk. Dad would talk with Doug on the phone after he left the Charlotte area and that night I would hear all about their conversation. As you can imagine the call meant a lot to my dad and each call would allow my dad to remember the unique times these two men had in WWII. May we all remember what so many fought for in WWII and what a great generation they were a part of.

Ed Lowell
Charlotte, NC
Created On: 05/21/2020 21:05:33

I too had the opportunity to get to know Douglas while attending the USMMA monthly luncheons. He was rightfully very proud of his service in our country's Merchant Marine. Doug was quick with a sea story, a true friend and always a gentleman. The world needs many more just like him!

Lee Davis
Created On: 05/21/2020 19:35:37

Doug was a friend that I met at the USMMA Alumni group meetings and Christmas Parties. I enjoyed his sea stories of times that were much more dangerous than when I sailed. May God bless you and your family.

Dave Sanborn
Wesley Chapel, NC
Created On: 05/21/2020 19:14:37

I would like to offer my thoughts and prayers for
Douglas and his family in this difficult time. I knew Douglas through the North Carolina USMMA Alumni Chapter. It was always a pleasure speaking with Douglas and listening to the stories that he and Jim Risk would impart to us about their experiences and extensive time at sea. We will miss the good Captain's presence at our chapter luncheons.

Kind Regards,
Dave Sanborn
Kings Point Class of '73