AUSTIN, Douglas Joseph
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March 23, 1922 - April 8, 2013
It is with great sadness that the family announces the peaceful passing of their father, grandfather and great-grandfather at the Beverly Care Centre (Glenmore) after a long and colorful life. Douglas was born in Calgary in 1922, the third child of Arthur and Vera (nee Cobbledick). Both of his pioneering parents arrived in Calgary at the turn of the twentieth century from Ontario. His mother was one of the first teachers in Calgary and her picture still hangs in the school house at Heritage Park. His father was a real estate entrepreneur. Douglas attended Haultain Primary School and Central High School (CCI) in Calgary as well as St. Joseph's College in Edmonton. Douglas joined the RCAF and proudly served his country. After his flight training in Canada, he was stationed in England with the 433 Squadron (Porcupine). He flew over 30 missions in both Halifax and Lancaster bombers and left the Air Force in 1945 returning home to Calgary. As with all enlisted men in WWII, he had many adventures overseas. Douglas was very proud of his membership with the Air Crew Association where many hours were spent recalling the Air Force experiences during WWII. To the end, he hated Brussel sprouts. Douglas met the love of his life, on a ski bus, Edith Whitburn, and they were married in January 1948 and were married for over fifty two years until her passing in 1999. He established Austin Agencies and spent over 40 years in the insurance and real estate business. His success in this business was largely due to his open, honest and genial manner which endeared him to his clients and associates. His fun-loving spirit made him a natural. Douglas was heavily involved in a broad spectrum of the community activities over the years including the Rideau and Roxboro communities association. He was also very active in sports. He played football in high school and with the air force team. This love of football continued all of his life as a long-time, die-hard Stampeders fan. He co-founded (along with Keith Spaith and Paul Rowe, 1948 Grey Cup Champions) bantam contact football in Calgary for boys 12 to 15 years of age. Through his membership in the South Calgary Optimist Clubs they sponsored eight teams in Calgary and many Saturday afternoons were spent at the old Mewata Stadium watching the young footballers go at it. Douglas was also extremely active in the Scouting movement with his sons, for both Cubs and Scouts in Rideau Park – Sara Scout Hall. He joined the Calgary Rotary Club in 1972 and spent over forty years as an active member. He will long be remembered for his many charitable pursuits. Many will fondly remember his dancing along with his mates in the "fat boys" dance troupe performing for many years in the annual Rotary President's Balls. He was a bit of a Tom Sawyer as he had an uncanny ability to recruit many of the neighborhood boys to participate in all kinds of adventures in and around the city whether it be a hike in the mountains or an outing shooting gophers in the countryside. He was the most popular Dad around mostly due to the fact that for his entire life, he was himself just a young boy at heart. Douglas was an active member of the Glencoe Club for over fifty years and played tennis, badminton, squash, and bowling and was an avid golfer at the Glencoe Golf and Country Club. He was a mid handicapper but a keen competitor and loved the camaraderie of the game with his mates as much as the actual shot making. His one regret was that his wife Edith was the only one in the family who had scored a hole in one – a feat that is unmatched by the rest of the family golfers to this day. His happy demeanor and love of life will be remembered by all who knew him. He touched many lives through his 91 years, leaving special memories for all to enjoy. He was larger than life, one of a kind and a bright light who will continue to shine for his friends and family. Douglas had great pride in his family. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother Graham and sister Madeline as well as his wife Edith and a son Douglas Blair. He is survived by his daughter Marilyn (Gordon), Stephen (Sherry), Donald (Kim) and his grandchildren: Kris (Colin), Angela, Laura, and Pamela as well as great-grandchildren: Ben, Mathew Douglas, and Sam as well as many nieces and nephews across Canada. The family would like to thank the excellent caregivers at the Beverly Nursing Home where Douglas spent the last three years of his life as well as Drs. Don and Paul Gladman. In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes in Douglas Austin's name may be made directly to the Calgary Rotary Clubs Foundation or to the Terry Fox Foundation. A Celebration of Douglas's life will be held at the Glencoe Club on Thursday, May 2, 2013 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. In living memory of Doug Austin, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park.
Published in The Calgary Herald from Apr. 10 to Apr. 13, 2013