SGT Major Ernest Colden, 96, of Ridgeland, SC passed away Saturday, April 3, 2021, at his residence. he was the husband of Catherine Colden. Arrangements by Allen Funeral Home of Ridgeland, SC.
Deacon Colden will repose at St. Phillip Baptist Church SPBC Pocotaligo Community (1089 Kress Rd Ridgeland SC 29936) from 1 PM to 3 PM on Friday, April 9, 2021, a Walk-through visitation will be held at Allen Funeral Home in Ridgeland, SC from 4 PM to 7 PM, Funeral Services will be on Saturday, April 10, 2021, at Kingdom Touch Ministries 12 O'Clock in the afternoon. Interment Will be at Beaufort Nation Cemetery on Monday, April 12, 2021, @ 10 AM with Military Honors.
The Life and Legacy of the Late Sgt Major
Ernest Nicodemus Colden Sr,
Ernest Nicodemus Colden, Sr., the fifth child of the Late Samuel Colden and Elizabeth Singleton Colden was born on June 28, 1924.
He received Jesus as Savior and Lord and was baptized on July 10, 1938, and added to the church roll of the Mt. Hope Baptist Church in Martin, South Carolina. He served on the Usher Board and was a teacher for the Intermediate Sunday School Class. In 1980, he joined St. Phillip Baptist Church in Pocotaligo Community. In 1981, he was ordained as deacon. In 1994, he was elected Chairman of the Board of Deacons and also served as the Financial Secretary. He served faithfully until his health prevented him from doing so.
In December 1948, his military journey began as he was the last draftee from Jasper County, South Carolina. He graduated from Basic Training with the 365th Infantry Regiment at Fort Dix, New Jersey, followed by assignments with the 839th Engineer Aviation Battalion; 20th Soldiers Category Army with the Air Forces in Okinawa, Japan and later with the 8th Army Engineering School in Miazuru, Japan; 822nd Engineer Aviation Battalion; 550th Ordnance Maintenance at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; 1169th Engineer Battalion in Korea and later with the 8234th AG Admin Center in Yokohoma, Japan; 65th Artillery Regiment at Revanna Center in Cleveland, Ohio; 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia; V Corps
in Frankfurt, Germany; Army Engineer Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Military Assistance Command in Vietnam; 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and culminating a career of 30 years at Fort Stewart, Georgia. He also founded one of the first Black chapels on a military base, Chapel 6 in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He fought in three major wars: World War II, Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
On January 16, 1954, he was joined in Holy Matrimony to the love of his life Mrs. Catherine (Holcombe) Colden. In this union seven children were raised in which six preceded him in death.
(Ret.) Sergeant Major Ernest Colden passed away at his home on Saturday, April 3, 2021. At the time of his death, (Ret.) Sergeant Major Colden was the 12th oldest African American Sergeant Major in America as profiled in the book titled, “100 Sergeant Majors of Color”. This puts him in the same stature as Sergeant
Major Lewis Douglass’ son of the legendary Frederick Douglass in the 1800s.
This year (Ret.) Sergeant Major Colden completed another accomplishment. He is the author of his autobiographical book “Thirty-Five Cents: The Worth of a Man” which is due to be published this summer. His memories will forever be cherished by his lovely wife of 67 years, Mrs. Catherine Colden, his son Herman (Elmetta) Witherspoon of Ridgeland, South Carolina, his road dogs: Bailey, Brandy, and Fox, one daughter-in-law, Levetta Ferrell Davis of Anniston, Alabama, a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, a devoted grandson Herman Witherspoon Jr., of Atlanta Ga; one adopted granddaughter Patricia Rhett, his adopted family, the Willis Family of Ridgeland, South Carolina, a plethora of friends and extended families.
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