dj-southerlandIn 1930 DJ was born to Lucille and Jerry Southerland in Memphis, Tennessee. The Southerland family didn’t have a television, so DJ spent his childhood years playing outside with his friends. His favorite summer past time was playing pick-up baseball games. He was already a good baseball player when
he was 10 years old.

After graduating from Memphis High School he played for the Jackson Generals in the KITY League (Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League). When playing for the Jackson Generals, he pitched against the Fulton Railroaders, who were the league leaders, and won the game 5-2. Soon thereafter DJ injured his right shoulder and although his playing days were over he has never lost his love for the game of baseball.

DJ attended Memphis State (now the University of Memphis) until he was drafted into the United States Army in 1955. He was stationed in Colorado where he was introduced, by a friend, to Marlene Rocco. Her home was in Carteret, New Jersey but she was a student at the University of Colorado. DJ started calling her “Rocky” and for a long time Marlene thought he was a “pest.”
“With a broad smile, Marlene admits it took a long time for a lady from New Jersey to appreciate the Southern charm and courting ways of this gentleman from Memphis. DJ and Marlene married in 1957 while he was in the Army. He has continued calling her “Rocky” in an affectionate manner to this day.

After completing his 2 year military service obligation DJ returned to work at Anderson Clayton Cotton Company as a cotton grader and salesman. He became well known in the cotton industry so he started his own company in 1960. During the next 40 years DJ’s company was nicely successful, so Marlene chose to stay at-home and be a mother for their daughter: Linda, Sons: Randy and Davis, and later: 2 daughters Terri and Susan.

When DJ retired from business in 2,000 he became President of The Atlanta Cotton Expo while continuing his leadership for youth including Little League, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

Unfortunately, the serious debilitating health problems he experienced during the 2010 Christmas season on consecutive days slowed DJ down significantly. He continued to live at home the next 6 years with help from his family.

When DJ’s increasing medical needs could no longer be met at home, the family with DJ’s participation, decided to bring him to the Orchard on April 22, 2017, the day after DJ and Marlene 60th wedding anniversary. DJ is respected as a true Southern gentleman by the staff and residents at the Orchard of Tucker.