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James "Jim" Douglas

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James "Jim" Douglas Obituary
James "Jim" Douglas Captain James Douglas died on February 24, 2013 in San Rafael, California at the age of 98 years with his family surrounding him. He was born in Uvalde, Texas, the second of four sons and grew up in San Antonio. As a youth he was an Eagle Scout. He attended the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland where he met his future wife, Sarah (Sally) Maria Bisset. In June 1938, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with distinction. During his early Navy years, he served on board heavy cruisers. Then in 1941, he married and continued his education at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; earning a Master of Civil Engineering in 1943. In WWII he served with the Seabees in the Aleutians and Okinawa, and was awarded the Bronze Star with combat "V" for heroic service. His long naval career moved him around the globe with his family; he commanded the Seabee construction of the naval air base at Subic Bay, Philippines and eight bases built in the Antarctic. In 1961, he retired as Captain. Immediately he started a second career in academia at the age of 46. After two years at Stanford University, he received a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering specializing in Construction and accepted an appointment to the professorate of Stanford University. He taught there from 1963 until he retired in 1980. Dr. Douglas was one of the first in the field of civil engineering to apply computer technology to complex engineering problems. In the course of his career, he authored numerous articles and the book, "Construction Equipment policy" in 1975. He was a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and was awarded the ASCE Thomas Fitch Rowland Prize and the Construction Management Award. His retirement years were active. He established two Seabee Memorial Scholarships as a "good way to give something back to the Seabee family", and served as a Board Member and President of Villa Marin Homeowners Association in San Rafael. A private pilot, he loved to fly small, light planes. He said, "I didn't feel old until I was 95!". He was predeceased by his wife of 71 years, Sally, survived by his brother, William; children, Sarah, Susanna, Bonnie, James, and his grandson, Jesse. A memorial service will be held at the U.S. Naval Academy for both Jim and his beloved wife Sally later this spring. Donations in his memory may be made to: Seabee Memorial Scholarship Assn., P.O. Box 667, Gulfport, MS 39502 (memo note: memorial to Capt. Douglas) or the Stanford Construction Institute, Stanford University, 473 Via Ortega, Rm #242, Stanford, CA 94305-4020 (Tax Id #94-1156365).
Published in Marin Independent Journal on Mar. 10, 2013
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