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AUSTIN, Douglas Joseph

March 23, 1922 – April 8, 2013

It is with great sadness that the family announces the peaceful passing of their father, grandfather and great grandfather at the Beverly Care Centre (Glenmore) after a long and colorful life.

Douglas was born in Calgary in 1922 the third child of Arthur and Vera (nee Cobbledick). Both of his pioneering parents arrived in Calgary at the turn of the twentieth century from Ontario. His mother was one of the first teachers in Calgary and her picture still hangs in the school house at Heritage Park. His father was a real estate entrepreneur. Douglas attended Haultain Primary School and Central High School (CCI) in Calgary as well as St Joseph’s College in Edmonton. Douglas joined the RCAF and proudly served his country. After his flight training in Canada, he was stationed in England with the 433 Squadron (Porcupine). He flew over 30 missions in both Halifax and Lancaster bombers and left the air force in 1945 returning home to Calgary. As with all enlisted men in WWII he had many adventures overseas. Douglas was very proud of his membership with the Air Crew Association where many hours were spent recalling the air force experiences during WWII. To the end, he hated Brussel sprouts.

Douglas met the love of his life, on a ski bus, Edith Whitburn, and they were married in January 1948 and were married for over fifty two years until her passing in 1999. He established Austin Agencies and spent over 40 years in the insurance and real estate business. His success in this business was largely due to his open, honest and genial manner which endeared him to his clients and associates. His fun loving spirit made him a natural. Douglas was heavily involved in a broad spectrum of the community activities over the years including the Rideau and Roxboro communities association. He was also very active in sports. He played football in high school and with the air force team. This love of football continued all of his life as a long time, die-hard Stampeders fan. He co-founded (along with Keith Spaith and Paul Rowe, 1948 Grey Cup Champions) bantam contact football in Calgary for boys 12 to 15 years of age. Through his membership in the South Calgary Optimist Clubs they sponsored eight teams in Calgary and many Saturday afternoons were spent at the old Mewata Stadium watching the young footballers go at it. Douglas was also extremely active in the Scouting movement with his sons, for both Cubs and Scouts in Rideau Park – Sara Scout Hall.

He joined the Calgary Rotary Club in 1972 and spent over forty years as an active member. He will long be remembered for his many charitable pursuits. Many will fondly remember his dancing along with his mates in the ‘fat boys’ dance troupe performing for many years in the annual Rotary President’s Balls.

He was a bit of a Tom Sawyer as he had an uncanny ability to recruit many of the neighborhood boys to participate in all kinds of adventures in and around the city whether it be a hike in the mountains or an outing shooting gophers in the countryside. He was the most popular Dad around mostly due to the fact that for his entire life, he was himself just a young boy at heart. Douglas was an active member of the Glencoe Club for over fifty years and played tennis, badminton, squash, and bowling and was an avid golfer at the Glencoe Golf and Country Club. He was a mid handicapper but a keen competitor and loved the camaraderie of the game with his mates as much as the actual shot making. His one regret was that his wife Edith was the only one in the family who had scored a hole in one – a feat that is unmatched by the rest of the family golfers to this day.

His happy demeanor and love of life will be remembered by all who knew him. He touched many lives through his 91 years, leaving special memories for all to enjoy. He was larger than life, one of a kind and a bright light who will continue to shine for his friends and family.

Douglas had great pride in his family. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother Graham and sister Madeline as well as his wife Edith and a son Douglas Blair. He is survived by his daughter Marilyn (Gordon), Stephen (Sherry), Donald (Kim) and his grandchildren: Kris (Colin), Angela, Laura, and Pamela as well as great grandchildren: Ben, Mathew Douglas, and Sam as well as many nieces and nephews across Canada.

The family would like to thank the excellent caregivers at the Beverly Nursing Home where Douglas spent the last three years of his life as well as Drs. Don and Paul Gladman. In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes in Douglas Austin’s name may be made directly to the Calgary Rotary Clubs Foundation or to the Terry Fox Foundation.

A Celebration of Douglas’s life will be held at the Glencoe Club on Thursday, May 2, 2013 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.   Condolences may be forwarded through

In living memory of Doug Austin, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Wow, one of a kind !
    Always a smile when you think of this dude and all of his exploits !
    His fondness with the “recipe” , his love of parties , and always kind and interesting words made this guy very fun to be around !!
    Life well lived Mr. Austin !
    The Austin clan should be very Proud , enjoy being Irish for the day and celebrate a great Life !

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  2. Norman F. Talbot :

    My heartfelt condolences go out to the Austin Family and may Doug’s memory dwell in your hearts in the same fashion as He lived His Life.

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  3. Jack & Louise Garrett :

    Doug & Edi were great folks & such wonderful neighbours. We were lucky to have known them for the time that we were in Roxboro.

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  4. John Gunn Gunn :

    To the Austin Family from the Gunners; thank you for all the great memories and special times with Ian the number 1 Gunner at Roxboro House. Your Dad was a great and special man that we will always treasure in our memories, even though he wasn’t much of a crokinole player.

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  5. Lee & Liz Thompson :

    Our sincere condolences to all members of the family. In Calgary’s Military Community Doug was a living legend to all us and a great friend to all who knew him. His host of friends in the insurance business was unequaled and all respected him immensely. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
    Colonel (ret’d) Lee S. Thompson

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  6. Cheryl Wilton-Clark :

    What great memories we have of both your Dad and your Mom from the good old days in Roxboro. Your parents were always so good to both of us and we remember them with love and laughter. Praying your happy memories will sustain you in this loss. God bless.
    Cheryl and Mike Wilton-Clark

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  7. A great loss. You have my sincere condolences.

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  8. Lorraine Maruyama :

    Marilyn, Gordon and family:
    We are thinking of you, Marilyn, and remembering your wonderful Father. We loved your Dad.
    With Sympathy and Love, Wayne and Lorraine

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  9. Stuart Watkins :

    I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mr. Austin on several occasions as he was a friend and badminton partner with my dad, Howard Watkins, at the Glencoe Club. Dad always spoke very highly of him; a funny man with a great sense of humour and a warm and caring heart. After reading your well written and articulate obituary about him, I can see why my dad enjoyed his company so much. Be blessed today that you had so many years with him.

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  10. George Brookman :

    What a loss for all of us. I first met Doug about 1953 or 1954 when he had Austin Agencies in the Bow Building on 8th Avenue. My Dad was starting Brookman Real Estate, and he rented one office from Doug. I can remember his good humour and the twinkle in his eye, even as small boy. He was such a great sport in the Rotary Shows for so many years. This is a man that will be truly missed.

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  11. Steve and Donnie, Sorry to learn about your loss.

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  12. Patrick Cooper :

    Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss.

    Patrick Cooper

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  13. Rhonda Risebrough :

    On behalf of The Terry Fox Foundation, please accept our sincere condolences on Doug’s passing. He sounds like a wonderful man, dedicated to serving others and we are touched that he and his family would choose Terry’s foundation as a recipient of memorial donations in his name. Please let us know when his Celebration of Life will take place. You can reach me at or 403.212.1336.
    Rhonda Risebrough, Provincial Director – The Terry Fox Foundation

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    Steve and Family –
    Since we last met, and to say again, what a great guy Doug was, always was the most friendly – to All – and great memories of how Doug and Rolly V greeted us into Rotary and many show-fun times.
    Wes and Gene Stephens

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  15. Carl St. Laurent :

    My heartful condolence and prayers at this time. I will remember Doug’s smile on the many occasions during our Rotary
    Club fund raisrers and socials.
    Carl St. Laurent

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  16. What a great man! Mr. Austin was there in my days growing up in Rideau Roxboro. In Cubs at the Sara Scout Hall and everything else we did. The writeup is so fitting, as he was a kid at heart. I remember him allowing us to play CKXL 1140 on the radio as we drove up for a hike in Kananaskis. Always that mischevious grin in his smile. Happy memories.

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  17. Don and Linda Snow :

    Doug was our insurance agent and friend for many years. This is to express our sympathy to his family and thanks for having known such a fine man and gentle advisor.
    Bonne chance!!

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  18. BOb Phelps and Charleen Wells :

    We were sorry to learn of your father’s death. As far as 1 Street goes we are relatively new neighbors to your parents. We have fond memories of seeing your Dad make the young tennis aficionados run all over the court; talk to all children and dogs. However we enjoy a most vivid memory of watching your Dad teaching the neighborhood children (including ours) to play “Ante – Ante I Over ” at the cabin .He was so kind and made certain even the littlest child had a turn. Since your parents were part of the original back lane hose brigade; they are owed a big Thank You for leaving a legacy of hockey and skating pleasure that is enjoyed by many every winter.
    Our condolences again,

    Charleen and Bob

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  19. Claire Young :

    Marilyn & family,
    I’m so very sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. What a wonderful role model for you and your children and it shows. I would love to join the celebration, but have been called out of town, but my thoughts and prayers are with you.
    “Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.” Emily Dickinson

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  20. jim inkster :

    Austin Family;
    Sincere condolences. Doug was a great man. I for one will never forget January 1978 in Sydney Australia when Doug and Edie came for a visit. We rocked for sure! A fine man and a fine Canadian
    Jim Inkster/Wendy Wheeler

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