Remembering my Dad

When my brother and I were little, my dad would make us help him with everything. My dad was a do-it-yourself king. He refused to pay someone for a job he could do himself. The son of a carpenter and all-around handyman, my dad was brought up by generations of people who fixed things. Of course, many of my dad’s projects involved duct tape and WD40, and finished with Dad uttering the words, “Good enough for government work.” (I used to wonder when the government was coming by to complete their inspection). I remember a particular fence gate that never quite closed right and leaned a little to the left.

Through these weekend projects of fixing fences and sprinklers, cleaning up the yard, and changing car brakes, my brother, Lars, and I were Dad’s assistants. We handed him tools, held the light, and picked up piles of leaves. I knew how to find a 3/8 socket wrench and a pair of channel locks in Dad’s toolbox when I was four years old. Lars and I could tile a bathroom and hang Sheetrock before we could drive.

Lars and I used to think that Dad must have wanted to ruin our Saturday morning cartoon-watching time and keep us from hanging out with our friends on the weekend. One time Lars was holding the ladder while Dad was using his brand-new Wagner spray painter to touch up the facia boards on the house. In the street, the neighborhood kids were playing ball. Lars got distracted watching the game, and my dad sprayed him with the new Wagner, right in the face. “Pay attention and hold the ladder!” Lars and I were so jealous that the other kids didn’t have to work on the weekend.

As we got older, we realized that Dad was teaching us life lessons: how to be problem solvers, how to do home projects on our own, and how to have a clue when talking to contractors and mechanics. Of course, how to hold the ladder and not get sprayed in the face with a paint sprayer was an easier lesson.

In the month since my dad has been gone, I have been thinking a lot about what he has taught me. Looking back on these experiences, I think it was so much more than just teaching us to be responsible and hard-working humans. I think my dad just liked being with us. Dad loved spending his free time coaching and watching us play soccer. He loved taking us out to eat, and yes, he loved involving us in his home projects. He wanted to spend as much time with his kids as he could.

That sums up my dad to me. He enjoyed spending time with the people he loved. He spent every vacation visiting family and friends and enjoyed the company of all he loved. I don’t think my mom and dad ever took a trip that didn’t involve visiting someone along the way.

My dad valued my mom, my brother and me, his grandkids, and all his family, including the friends he chose. He enjoyed making them laugh, sharing stories, and breaking bread. May his legacy be the love he shared and the family and friends who are better for having known him.


Doug was born December 4, 1946, in Ithaca, New York. The 4th child of 6, he spent most of his childhood moving around the country while his dad built bowling alleys. Living in Ohio, Georgia, and Florida, and finally settling in Bloomington, California, he graduated from Colton High School. Soon after, he enlisted in the Army, becoming a military policeman stationed in Germany.

There he met his bride, a young teacher, Beate, known by most as Neini. Moving back to Southern California, Doug joined the Colton Police Department where he served the community for over 15 years. After a knee injury, Doug chose another service career: teaching. He taught social studies and economics before becoming a library media teacher in the Rialto Unified School District. He retired from a life of service in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where he became active in the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans and the Pachyderms.

Doug and Neini were married for 54 years and raised two children, Lars and Kristina. Doug’s greatest joy was being an Opa to every “kid” he ever met. He watched all six of his grandchildren grow to adulthood: Nick, Logan, Brenna, Jasmine, Stephanie, and Jeffrey and enjoyed spending any moment he could with them.

Doug went to church every Sunday, looking forward to breakfast after with Neini at Elmer’s. He loved watching old westerns, playing golf, and cheering on the Army West Point Black Knights during football season. He had an incredible sense of humor and enjoyed cracking jokes with those he loved.

He died peacefully in his sleep on February 28, 2024, at 77 years old. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him, especially to all who knew him as Opa.

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