Plans are currently being made for Royce to be laid to rest at the Alabama National Cemetery, but a date has not yet been set.
Royce was born in Gorgas, a small village in Walker County, on Oct. 5, 1924, to A.V. and Orelle Northcutt. Gorgas was a remote location with no paved roads and was a community built by the main employer, Alabama Power Company, to house its employees. In 1942, he graduated from Parrish High School, where he drove a school bus during his senior year earning $1 per day — his first job. After graduating high school, Royce entered a Co-op program where he was able to work alternatively for three months at a time at the Alabama Power Company while attending college at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now known as Auburn University.
World War II interrupted his studies after just two quarters in college, and at 18 years old he volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps, precursor to today’s U.S. Air Force. In 1944, he entered the war effort as a Second Lieutenant making it to the war zone stationed in Italy where he served as navigator on a B24 “Liberator” heavy bomber.
After the war, Royce continued his education at Auburn under the GI Bill earning a degree in mechanical engineering. Upon graduation, he went to work at Turkey Creek Manufacturing Company in Birmingham. He soon moved to Ingall Iron works, a fabricator of steel structures, and would spend the rest of his career in the steel business, mainly at American Bridge Company, a division of U.S. Steel. In 1964, he was promoted to plant manager of American Bridge Company outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which was the largest steel fabrication plant in the world and built structures like the St. Louis Arch, the Sears Tower and the new River George Bridge in West Virginia. After 32 years of service, Royce retired from American Bridge and joined Pitt-Des Moines Corporation as vice president of operations, where he was in charge of worldwide operations that took him on frequent trips to the South Pacific and Middle East.
Finally in 1987, Royce retired for good, and he and Ruby settled at “The Landing’s” in Savannah, Georgia, where they spent their time golfing, boating, painting, partying and simply enjoying the southern lifestyle they both grew up with and loved.
He was also a lifelong Auburn fan – War Eagle!
Royce is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Ruby Nell Sartain and their three children, Dean, Marcia and Kevin, as well as their five grandchildren Katie, Ryan, Rachel, Sam and Della. Royce had eight siblings, Douglas, Melba, Nina, Maurice (Buddy), Frieda, Norma, Verna (Jackie) and Barry.
Fairchild Funeral Home,
Tallahassee, Florida; 850-386-8686