Douglas,78 gave to community,country

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 8, 1999

Ironton lost a friend this weekend when longtime community volunteer Bill Douglas passed away at age 78.

Monday, November 08, 1999

Ironton lost a friend this weekend when longtime community volunteer Bill Douglas passed away at age 78.

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Douglas photographed most every First Baptist Church event and greeted children as they came to the church’s afterschool program.

On Tuesdays, he sat beside Judge Richard Walton, smiling about the city’s future and telling old war stories.

Douglas advised the Adena Boy Scouts Council, helped in the Lawrence Lodge’s DeMolay activities, boosted the Ironton High School band, acted as grand marshal of the Ironton Memorial Day Parade, fought for veterans’ rights and helped Ohio University Southern Campus make education accessible to anyone in the county.

"Yes, he was a real ambassador for Ironton, and a real patriot for our country, too," First Baptist pastor Dennis Strawn said. "He was an outstanding man, and did everything he could to make this community a better place. He will be sorely missed."

Douglas died Sunday morning at his home on South Sixth Street. He is survived by his wife, Betty, and three children.

A longtime resident, Douglas served in the Company K guard unit in Ironton, and was called to active duty in World War II.

Douglas received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his actions at the Battle of the Bulge, and helped host an annual reunion of Company K members.

Herb Pierce at O’Keefe-Baker Funeral Home, where Douglas had worked part-time, remembers the stories the two veterans used to share.

"He was very sensitive about veterans," Pierce said. "And torn flags He always made sure flags were taken care of properly."

Douglas and Company K established OUSC’s flagpole, in fact, campus dean Bill Dingus said.

"From the early days of construction forward, Bill was a partner with this campus," he said. "Bill’s initials are etched in a number of projects …"

Douglas was an OUSC senior volunteer with classes and advocate of the wellness center project, Dingus said.

"Bill was just in every way a true member of the OUSC family," he said. "It was a tremendous loss not only to the city but also definitely to this university."

Walton recalled Douglas told about the bitter winters during the war, and how he almost lost his foot to frostbite.

"He said the newest invention of penicillin was the only thing that saved him," Walton said.

Douglas worked the Haunted Tunnel, pinned numbers on children at the Halloween parade and gave many other hours to Lions charities, Walton said.

"He was a fine, fine person, a wonderful husband and father," Walton said. "He and his wife just celebrated their 50th anniversary at the church and I remember he was always an optimist about the city."

Strawn said Douglas enjoyed helping anywhere he could, like interviewing city residents for OUSC’s Senior Happenings TV show or delivering Meals on Wheels.

"I couldn’t think of anyone more active in the community than he was," Strawn said. "He was a very caring man who didn’t seemed reduced top operating in certain circles He was with all different kinds of people in the community to do good."