Douglas Ackley passed away in Medford, OR on January 3, 2014 due to complications from a blocked artery in his leg. Douglas was born on April 21, 1923 in Vancouver, WA, to Blaine and Myrtle Ackley, and was the youngest of four siblings, including Norman, Rachel and Coburn. He married Shirley Dickover on September 6, 1947 in Portland, OR, and they remained married for 65 years.
Douglas was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, his wife Shirley, Molly, his daughter who survived only 36 hours, and his grandson Cedar. He is survived by his son David Richard Ackley (and wife, Lynn Ate) and daughter, Deborah Anne Ackley (and husband, David Pfenning.) as well as two granddaughters, Brianna and Raineka Ackley.
After graduating from high school, Douglas took drafting courses at Washington State College (Pullman, WA), and worked at various jobs for the Bonneville Power Administration. He eventually followed in his father's footsteps and became an architect, but was delayed on this course by World War II. Douglas wrote a book about his experiences flying in a B17 bomber as a top turret gunner and engineer entitled Twenty-Seven and a Half Missions in the Fifteenth Air Force, which recounted the year he spent behind enemy lines in rural Italy after being shot down.
Douglas moved his young family to Fairbanks, AK in 1956 and became an architect with Alaska Architectural and Engineering. In 1968, he took a job with Olson and Sands in Juneau which over the years became Sands and Ackley, Ackley and Jensen, and then Ackley and Associates. Douglas' firm designed schools, banks, libraries and civic buildings across the state, including Juneau's Centennial Hall, the Juneau airport, and the UAS Library.
Douglas thoroughly enjoyed Alaska, exploring the wilderness, camping and hunting in the Interior, and roaming the waters of Southeast Alaska in several boats, his favorite of which was the 50' Shenandoah. He was active in the Juneau Yacht Club for many years. He also experienced the less pleasant side of Alaska, helping survey the damage from the 1964 earthquake in Anchorage, and surviving the 1967 flood in Fairbanks, which left 4 ½ feet of water in his house.
Retirement took him to Scottsdale, AZ for several years, however, he and Shirley moved back to the northwest in Medford, OR where they lived at the Rogue Valley Manor and made many more fast friends. Douglas enjoyed photography, skiing, snowshoe baseball (in Fairbanks), travelling, lawn bowling, fishing, and writing. Some of his personal memoirs include stories of growing up in Depression-era Portland, experiences in World War II, and a narration of living through the devastating flood that hit Fairbanks in 1967. He was a member of Kiwanis, Rotary, and Toastmasters.
As with his wife, Shirley, before him, his death brought on by health complications was unexpected, and there will always be an empty place in our hearts due to his passing.
Published in The Juneau Empire on Jan. 9, 2014