Rawligh Russell Sybrant
December 31, 1943 - May 1, 2020
Peacefully into the arms of God, Rawligh Russell Sybrant passed away on May 1, 2020 at his home in Olney, Maryland. Rawligh was the beloved husband of Roberta; devoted father of Shirley Griffin Aceituno, Julia Rader, and Thomas Sybrant; devoted grandfather of Patrick, Michael, Grace, Cally, Brandon, Cole, Kaitlyn, Ryan, Sarah and Heavenly Angel Emma; and loyal friend to his beloved Labrador Retriever, Jack.
Born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, to Erwin and Aslean Sybrant, Rawligh grew up in Fort Meade, Maryland, France and Germany while his father served in the U.S. Army. He completed his freshman year at the University of Maryland, Munich and then transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park, where he met Roberta, his wife of 53 years. He served in the United States Army Security Agency at Fort Hood, Texas and Sinop, Turkey. After completing his service, he began his 34-year career as a software engineer with C&P Telephone, Bell Atlantic and Verizon.
Soon after moving to Olney, Rawligh, Roberta and family began their longtime membership and worship with their loved Oakdale Church family. Rawligh was a proud member of the Olney Kiwanis Club since its formation in 1982, where he and dear friends dedicated years of service to the local community. He also served as a Field and Studio Producer and Director at Montgomery Community Television, and was an active member of Mensa.
From his early years, Rawligh loved photography, capturing the beauty of the world through a camera lens. He was rarely seen without a camera around his neck. Among his favorite subjects were lighthouses, cherry blossoms, butterflies, water lilies, hot air balloons, parades, fireworks, air shows, trains, old buildings, church choir cantatas, and grandchildren’s milestones and sports. Rawligh enjoyed many years as a member of the Latent Image Workshop in Bethesda, MD led by the late Lowell Anson Kenyon, former Chief of the Office of Photography for the Smithsonian Institution. He was teacher, mentor and friend to Rawligh, and served as an inspiration for Rawligh’s fine art photography.
Rawligh was a longtime member of the Olney Art Association, Board member of the Gaithersburg Camera Club, and member of camera clubs in Germantown, Rockville, Bethesda, Silver Spring and Frederick. He displayed his art in the Sandy Spring Museum, the Maryland House of Delegates, historic mansions, local galleries, and most recently in the Artists on Market gallery in Gaithersburg, MD. Rawligh received numerous awards for his fine art photography and was delighted to win a Grand Champion, Golden Years ribbon at the 2018 Montgomery County Fair for his photograph, “Glass Artist”.
Rawligh loved planning summer family trips where he served as chief station wagon driver and travel guide. Favorite memories are summer trips to Arkansas’ beautiful Ouachita mountains for family adventures at his mother and father’s farm in Pencil Bluff and his mother and father-in-law’s home on Daffodil Hill. There were trips to Bethany Beach, camping expeditions, and explorations of National Parks including memorable adventures at the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. One of his favorite trips was to Alaska, where he and Roberta celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, meeting and photographing the Iditarod sled dogs, and watching the clouds clear from Denali Mountain on the afternoon of the Summer Solstice, later watching a breathtaking sunset at 12:45 am.
Rawligh loved gardening, reading books, playing chess and racquetball, Dilbert cartoons, exploring his Cherokee heritage, and was always using his curious and creative mind to invent gadgets and find solutions to solve the problems of the world. He is remembered by those who knew him as incredibly intelligent, gentle, kind, loyal, humble, funny, a protector, and a true gentleman. He will be dearly missed by all.
A private graveside service will be held at Parklawn Cemetery on May 12, 2020 where Rawligh will be buried with military honors. Memorial donations may be given to Hero Dogs, service dogs for America’s veterans and first responders in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, an organization where Rawligh loved volunteering as a photographer, at http://www.hero-dogs.org/donate or Hero Dogs P.O. Box 64 Brookeville, Maryland 20833.
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