Cover photo for Emil Ragland "Rags" Medicus's Obituary
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1924 Rags 2022

Emil Ragland "Rags" Medicus

August 16, 1924 — November 15, 2022

Abingdon, VA

Emil Ragland (Rags) Medicus, 98, went to be with the Lord on November 15, 2022 after a very brief illness at his residence within Oakmont at Gordon Park, Bristol, VA. 

He was born in Asheville, NC to the world-renowned flutist Emil H. Medicus and Mary Ragland Medicus, an only child, and was pre-deceased by his beloved wife, Betty Gregory Medicus.  He is survived by his only child, and loving daughter, Mary Medicus, of Boulder, CO and her spouse Tim Snipes, sister in-law Millie Anderson of North Hampton, NH, special nieces Caroline Levine of Rye, NH and Pam Garrett of Roxboro, NC, and devoted friends Dick Gail and Carol Keene of Abingdon.

Rags, like many young men at the time, enlisted in military service during WWII. He joined the Navy and served in Task Force 38 under Admiral Halsey, on the cruiser USS Tucson (CL-98), as a Radar Technician. Following his Navy service, he attended the University of North Carolina where he graduated with a BS in Physics.  After graduation, Rags joined the burgeoning aerospace defense industry initially with Sperry, in Bristol. He worked for several defense contractors, over 22 years, before going into business for himself in Marietta, GA and later in Asheville, NC.  He met his wife, Betty, while working at Sperry in Bristol, and he stayed with the plant, during the transfer to Raytheon - where he was in engineering supervision on the Sparrow III missile program. 

While in Bristol, he was active in the Jaycees, American Legion, the VFW, and was the founder of the Bristol Rifle and Pistol Club.  In Asheville, he was an usher team-captain at Central UMC, and co-founder of the Western North Carolina Daylily Club.  After spending over 20 years in semi-retirement, on the remains of his family’s dairy farm; he and Betty moved to Abingdon to be closer to her family. 

In Abingdon, he was head usher at Abingdon UMC, a member of both the Abingdon Civitan and Meadowview Civic Clubs. Much as he loved the Asheville area, he commented on the move to Abingdon that “it felt like they had gone back in time to a better era.” Rags and Betty settled into their new home and Rags established a vegetable garden and landscaped the grounds per Betty’s design and wishes. Rags was an early hobbyist in home beer brewing where he perfected his craft for over 35 years. At their home in Abingdon, with the help of Betty’s brother, “Buddy” Gregory, they constructed a small beer brewing kitchen in the basement. From there, Rags brewed many batches of his favorite recipes and flavors. Over time, a group of fellow beer enthusiasts began to join Rags in sampling his home crafted beers and made regular field trips to the growing micro-breweries in the area. This group of enthusiasts Rags named “the Beer Buds” and they included Dick, Brady, and Andy all of Abingdon.

Rags lived independently for most of his 98 years. His parents managed a full life and passed away at 97. Rags acquired great German genes, that, and a tough, resilient, character kept him going. After Betty’s passing in 2013, he continued his gardening, beer brewing, and managed to add housekeeping and cooking to his skills.  2.5 years ago, he moved into Oakmont at Gordon Park assisted living in Bristol. At Oakmont, he was blessed with the lovely community, the caring support, and love of the wonderful staff.

The family is eternally grateful for the genuine love and compassion that was provided by the Oakmont employees to Rags during his time there.

Graveside services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 7, 2023 at Forest Hills Memory Gardens with Rev. Glenn Patterson officiating.  Military rites will be conducted by Highlands Veterans Honor Guard and the United States Navy.

The family of Emil Ragland "Rags" Medicus is being cared for by Farris Funeral Service & Crematory, 427 East Main Street, Abingdon, VA 24210, (276) 623-2700.


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