Doug Rose, 1946-2008
Editor’s note; The following eulogy was delivered at Doug Rose’s funeral by Brent Johns.
It is an honour for me to present Doug’s eulogy today. It was Doug’s wish his eulogy be kept casual and light-hearted. Doug wanted this so much he wrote parts of it himself. The rest of us just filled in some gaps.
Douglas Melvin Rose was born Jan. 17, 1946 in High Prairie and was raised on the family farm in the Big Meadow area by his parents, Roy and Francis Rose. He had three siblings: Fred, Margaret and David. He was predeceased by his mother, Francis, and grandparents, Adolph and Annie Rose and Frank and Margaret Willsey.
Affectionately known to all his friends and family as Doug, and on occasion if caught saying or doing something Lorene didn’t think was quite appropriate “Douglas”. But you had to listen closely to the context. At most times, it was also a term of endearment.
Doug was a kind and selfless man, a man who took great pride in everything he did. He always encouraged others to do their best. He was never judgmental and was always willing to lend a helping hand. Doug was physically solid on the out side but his dearest friends always said, “Doug has a gentle heart.”
He was a true gentleman.
With parents like Roy and Francis, it’s easy to see where he came by his hard work ethic and his soft gentle mannerism.
Like all farm boy’s growing up, Doug had a chore or two to do every day but he also loved to play sports. He played hockey for the Big Meadow Larks and was a member of the local Air Cadets. As a youth, Doug obviously kept very busy, which was something he continued to do all his life.
Doug began his education in Big Meadow, did his junior high in High Prairie and graduated from Camrose Lutheran College in 1965. In Camrose, he continued with sports by playing hockey, football and track and field, where he broke a record for the pole vault.
In the summer of 1965 he came home to the family farm. Later that fall he went to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology where he pursued a career in communications. As fate would have it, a career wasn’t the only thing Doug ended up pursuing, because this is where he first met his life partner Jean (Lorene) Younger.
In 1966, Doug started with AGT and apprenticed as a Telecommunication Electrician. With luck and good management he transferred to Peace River, which conveniently just happened to be where Lorene was from. On Sept. 2, 1967 Doug and Lorene pledged their lives to each other and married in Peace River.
While there he became a proud father of his sons, John on July 17, 1969 and Philip on Nov. 16, 1971.
Showing his selfless ways, Doug became a volunteer as an adult leader in the Air Cadets and joined the Elks in June of 1970.
In 1973 Doug purchased a quarter section of land just north of Enilda, where he settled his family and built the farm they will always call home.
On a memorable Nov. 11, 1974, Doug was once again blessed with the arrival of his little girl, Elaine.
In 1976 the entrepreneurial bug bit and Doug left AGT. He started his own business, Doug’s Backhoe Service. It was at that time that I went to work for Doug who became one of my true friends.
A wise lady once told me that during your lifetime you will only make a handful of true friends. These are people who will stand beside you through thick and thin, they will help when help is needed, and in return ask for nothing.
That wise lady was right. I, like many of you, have just lost a true friend.
Doug, however, is the exception to this rule. I know he has more than a handful of true friends.
Doug hired me as third-in-command and lead Mexican banjo operator. Or, in North American terms, ditch digger. Yes, third in charge! Doug, Dave and me. What a trio!
The first thing Doug told me when I started working for him was. “I will never ask you to do something I wouldn’t do myself.” I liked that approach and continue to use it to this day.
We worked hard, we did everything from cisterns and septic tanks, to water and gas lines. When there was nothing to do with the backhoe, we went farming when there was no farming, Oh, there was always farming! We put up hay, cut crops, chased cows, except in my case got chased by cows - or more politically correct, bulls - sharpened fence posts, pounded fence posts. Oh boy, fence posts! The hardest day’s work I’ve ever done was sharpening fence posts. Roy, Doug, Dave and I would each pick up a post and you had to run it through this cut-off saw four times to make a point.
Well, by the time lunch rolled around my arms were shaking so much, every time I tried to get a spoonful of soup to my mouth it always hit it’s final destination empty. I’m not sure who said it (probably Doug) but they wanted to know if I needed a straw.
I remember a job, an old sewer system repair, Dave was in the backhoe and I was in the trench operating the Mexican banjo. Doug was standing up top watching the bank of the trench. There I was, up to my you know what’s, standing in you know what and I said, “Doug, I thought you said you would never ask me to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself?”
Doug looked at me and said, “I would do it but lucky for me you showed up for work today.”
Doug stayed true to his word. He was the boss right there with us. “I’ll never ask you to do something I wouldn’t do myself.” Everyday was an example of how Doug kept his word. It’s because of this that I find the strength to stand in front of you today, knowing he would never ask me to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. I know if the roles were reversed he would be standing here for me.
I say again we worked hard. We also laughed hard and we played hard. After work, Dave and I did our thing that young teenaged boys do. And Doug did his thing, if he wasn’t fixing something Dave or I broke that day.
Doug’s thing always involved friends and family. He loved to fish with his dad, children and grandchildren. He went square dancing with his wife and friends in Enilda. He bowled and he loved curling, which he did with his parents, his wife and his son, John.
Doug was a busy man. Not only was he running a business, he had continued on in the Air Cadets in High Prairie. He eventually becoming a Captain and on April 1, 1991 he became a Commissioned Officer and stayed Captain of the High Prairie Squadron until September 1999.
He also continued with the Elks in High Prairie and eventually became the Exalted Ruler. Doug was also a member of the Rodeo Committee and a member of the Regal Alumni. He drove bus for the hockey players and was a member of the Enilda fire department.
You want to talk music to Doug’s ears, just say ‘rodeo’. He loved the rodeo and enjoyed his annual trip to Edmonton for the Canadian Finals Rodeo, especially when he could enjoy it with the rest of his family.
After four years Doug’s backhoe service became Double “D” Enterprises. Doug and his younger brother, David, became partners. For nine years the boys worked together, growing the business to five trucks, numerous excavating equipment while farming 19 quarters of land.
They eventually went their separate ways and Doug once again tried the 8-5 lifestyle. He took a job at AVC Grouard in the Public Works Department, followed by a short stint with the Town of High Prairie. But the entrepreneurial bug never really let go and once again Doug was doing what he truly loved, being an independent trucker until he was diagnosed with cancer.
When Doug first became ill, he made a list of things he was going to do: he wanted to ride in the Stampede Parade with Frank Pratt, celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary; go to Alaska with Lorene, something they always wanted to do, and see the Canadian Finals Rodeo one more time.
All of these things he accomplished.
Last summer Doug spent as much time as humanly possible at Shaw’s Point. He loved the lake lot and all the memories that were made there. He spent many a night staring into the flames of the fire and would say, “It’s amazing the things you will see if you stare into a fire long enough.”
In September Doug and Lorene celebrated their 40 wedding anniversary. They invited all their friends and relatives to come and join them on this special occasion. The boy’s cooked on the barbecue to the point they couldn’t give away all the meat and the girls filled table upon table with food.
During all the festivities Doug told John as he looked at all the people who had come and said, “See all these people? Whether related or not, this is family!”
And, finally, to Doug’s eight grandchildren: Jessica and Davis, Machaela and Koltin, Nicole, Sarah, Elyse, and last but never least, Wade, tour grandfather wanted you to know that, “You have brought him the greatest memories of all with your love and even your mischievousness. Take care and make wise choices in your lives.”
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