In Memoriam

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One of my dearest, greatest, sweetest fans has passed away.  My father-in-law, R. Douglas MacDougall, has died, and I'm heading down with Grey to Louisiana for the services.  The Handsome Husband is already there.

Douglas was already almost 70 when I met him two decades ago, and he was a voracious reader of literary work and a lively, engaged commentator on current events.  After growing up in North Dakota, the descendant of Norwegian and Scottish immigrants, he worked as a journalist, served in the Navy in World War II, studied geology at the University of Montana, and helped to map the oil deposits in Saudi Arabia in the 1950s.  (Little did he anticipate where our dependence on oil would lead.)  He met the lovely Ingrid in Berlin, and they married and moved to D.C., where their two sons were born, and finally to the greater New Orleans area. 

Douglas was always extraordinarily kind to and interested in Grey and me, even though most parents probably don't hope their sons will fall for a single mother with a child in tow.  Douglas also took a particular interest in my work, and he kept a shelf full of everything I published.  He read it all, and he often had shrewd or generous comments to offer.

I was always so touched by his sincere interest in my writing.  Douglas was a great fan of THE DESIRE PROJECTS (now known as HELL OR HIGH WATER) and was pleased by the fact that its protagonist is a reporter, as he had been.

Our admiration was mutual.  I liked his enthusiasm for language, his devotion to precision, and his faithfulness to his family.  I admired his long, storied life.  He was an absolutely devoted grandparent, and to see him with children was a joy.  He loved animals, and he was known for his careful budgeting.  (He liked being called Frugal MacDougall.)  I even liked his occasional grumpiness.  It made me smile.  And the two sons he raised are fantastic men:  generous, kind, smart, fair, gentle, and engaged with the world around them.

So we're off to pay tribute to a long, generous, and fruitful life.  Rest in peace, Douglas.  You were good to me.



Faye said:

I am so sorry for your loss, Joy. I'm sure your father-in-law would have been proud of this touching tribute, which brought a tear to my eye.

June 19, 2011 9:26 PM

fayepoet said:

Joy, I just read your post about your beloved father-in-law, Douglas. You portrayed him so lovingly; I can only imagine how much he will be missed. Please give my condolences to James.

June 24, 2011 4:26 AM

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