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Doug passed away the day before his 87th birthday at his home in Burlington, after a brief illness.
He was born on April 26th, 1926 in Norway, Michigan to Angelo Ciprian and Elfie Erspamer joining two older brothers Gerald and Lloyd.
Doug served in the Air Force from 1942-1944 and moved with his parents to Bremerton in 1945 where he met Betty Jane Hammond.
Doug attended Pacific Lutheran University and Bradley School of Horology where he learned the trade of watchmaking.
Upon returning from watchmaking school in Peoria, Illinois he and Betty were married in Tacoma in 1949. They settled in Wenatchee where Doug worked for Button Jewelers. Daughters Patty and Carol were born in Wenatchee and in 1955 the family moved to Mt. Vernon, where Doug purchased Deming Jewelers and later the historic Odd Fellows Building where he moved and expanded his business.
During his years as a businessman Doug served as President of the Rotary Club, was a member of the American Gem Society, the Downtown Business Association of Mt. Vernon and Immaculate Conception Parish.
There was nothing more important to Doug than family and friends and he enjoyed numerous activities that involved being surrounded by those he loved such as flying, boating, golf, scuba diving, and family vacations.
Doug was a "gem" of a man and his zest for life and his sense of humor were evident from his days as a member of "The Tiger Club" to his expertise in telling a good joke, especially his favorites about "Mrs. Bergstrom".
Throughout his 60 years in Mt. Vernon he spent an hour every weekday with his friends and colleagues over coffee. That daily connection with friends right up until the week before he passed away was an anchor in his life. He walked almost every day from his home to the Skagit Valley Golf Course clubhouse and back, and was always delighted to wave to Tina the manager through her office window as he passed by.
Another of his biggest joys was his cat Pal, his constant and loyal partner, who chose Doug to be his adopted owner from the N.O.A.H. animal shelter this past summer. He loved and looked forward to his bi-monthly men's night dinners with his dear and dedicated friend Bud Egbers and fellow golfers, along with monthly lunches with his retired Skagit County judge friends. More recently he also looked forward to the comradery (and pie!) at the monthly spaghetti at the Avon Methodist church.
He is survived by his daughters Patty Gates of Spokane and Carol with husband Randall Parsons of Burien, grandson Daniel, 29, of Spokane and Ellie Parsons, 15, of Burien.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Betty Jane, in 2011.
Doug's family would like to thank all the many wonderful friends who helped make Doug's life such a joy. A special thank you also to Hospice of the Northwest and Doug and Betty's amazing "Team", the caregivers who helped make his last days at home so comfortable: Carolyn, Donna, Joni, Joy and Nian.
Doug loved beautiful music, especially piano, and liked to play select favorites by his favorite recording artist Beegie Adair. The family would like to extend a very special thank you to renowned pianist Helen Plowman who came to Doug's home and performed for him in the week before he passed away, including his favorite "Claire De Lune".
A private memorial will be held later this spring.
As a memorial remembrance of Doug, please do something special for someone you love, eat a Werther's caramel, and remember his favorite saying, "Onward and Upward!"
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on May 3, 2013