Richard T. Douse, 1939 – 2019: A remarkable man who led a remarkable life

Note from Doni: It’s with deep sadness and honor that we publish Richard Douse’s obituary today, written by Tammy Douse. Richard was an early participant in and supporter of A News Cafe.com. He was a frequent commenter and contributor of opinion articles about everything from the environment and climate change to his most recent September 2018 article about how he and his wife fought a fire that threatened to destroy their home. Our hearts go out to Tammy and the entire Douse family, and we thank them for sharing Richard Douse with us. Rest in peace, Richard Douse. 

Richard T. Douse, 79, of Oak Run, passed away at home on February 28 after a difficult struggle with cancer. Richard, also known as “Dick” to his family and friends, was born on May 29, 1939, the only son of the late Carl Douse and Alice Glaser.

He is survived by the love of his life, Tammy, who was his constant companion and best friend for 49 years, his two daughters Jenny Hall and Shannon Carnegie (Scott), his two step-sons John Brooks and Mike Brooks, seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren, his half-sister Merrily Welden, and many nieces and nephews.

The Douse family at Dick Douse’s 70th birthday.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his step-father Karl Bendroth, his grandson Sage Carnegie and his half-sister Teddi Jean Howell.

Dick was born in San Diego where he spent his early years, moving to the Theosophical Society on Point Loma with his mother after his parents’ divorce. He had many stories of his time there during WWII. They eventually moved to the Theosophical Society campus in West Covina where his mother met and married Karl Bendroth. They moved to Claremont where Dick made life-long friends in high school, played the trumpet in the band, and joined a special six-year Navy program while continuing his education at Chaffey College.

His interest in photography turned into an avocation once he attended the Navy Photo School in Pensacola, Florida. It was there that he experienced discrimination when leaving the naval base with three navy buddies. They took the bus, after leaving the base the driver stopped the bus, came to their seat and said to Walker who was in the middle “You boy, get in the back of the bus.” Dick objected saying they were “Navy”.  All three were thrown off the bus.

He was a Navy aerial photographer, an industrial photographer for General Dynamics, Pomona, where he became head of the color photography lab. It was there that he created the traveling multi-screen, revolving slide show exhibit commemorating California’s 150th Anniversary. He opened his own Communication Design commercial photography business in 1969. It was during this time that he met and married Tammy in 1970.

Richard and Tammy Douse.

(Richard married his first wife, Brenda in 1959, and they had two daughters, Jenny and Shannon. The couple divorced in 1968.)

Richard loved outdoor adventures in the Southwest, exploring and photographing much of the southwest as a child when visiting the Navajo Reservation and Mesa Verde where his uncle was a park ranger. Richard took his family camping, sleeping on cots under the desert sky. Storytelling was his forte when sitting around the evening campfire. His children have many memories of the night drives to spot nocturnal animals both in Shasta County as well as outside of Prescott, Arizona.

With a desire to live closer to nature instead of in a big city, Tammy, Dick and sons John and Mike moved to Redding in October 1971, finding a home and new jobs. Dick first sold cars, then furniture, while studying and passing the real estate exam. In 1972 Dick acquired his real estate license and sold property and homes through the rest of the ’70s.

Richard and Tammy Douse.

He received his AA degree at Shasta College. It was here that he took a creative writing class inspiring him to continue writing for the rest of his life. He cared deeply about society, the planet and the role we all play and he frequently wrote letters to the editor as well as many opinion articles about issues that were important to him. Anytime he would go out to a gathering someone would ask him when he was going to write another letter to the editor. As one of his many admirers said, “Like a good book, he left me wanting to read more.” He wrote his first book in 1983, “The Gold Book: Your Guide to Real Estate Investment”, using it as gift for clients.

In 1974 the Douse family had a home built on two acres on Cow Creek, creating a garden and orchard, raising chickens, calves, lambs, pigs, riding horses and ponies.

Richard Douse nature photography.

Richard’s first major building project was a Dutch gambrel roof barn on the Palo Cedro property. In 1980 the Douses moved to Enterprise, Oregon, opened a grocery store, and daughter Shannon came to live with them through high school and college. In 1981, they decided the store idea was not for them and moved the family to Prescott Valley. The boys went to Southern California to visit their dad, while Dick, Tammy and Shannon camped under the stars near Beaver Creek outside of Sedona until time for school to start. They spent their days exploring abandoned Native American sites and tasting some of the wild plants that grew there. John stayed in Southern California while Mike and Shannon attended and graduated high school in Arizona in 1984.

It was in the beautiful southwest that Dick decided to write his second book “Spores”, which, when edited, became “The Next: An Omen”, and finally, while he had his own real estate brokerage firm, he wrote “Our Only Hope” –  which reflected his concerns about the growing population.

The Redding area continued to be the place the family visited every year, and Dick, Tammy and Shannon finally moved back in 1984. He once again became a realtor, selling real estate until 1987 when he became a residential appraiser for Shasta County. While there he learned coding and wrote his own software program to use for property analysis.

He led a remarkable life, always doing what he believed in. He joined Beyond War, and in 1969 started the Cambodian Relief Fund. He knew he needed to support the planet and those whose life challenges were harder than others. Most of the rest of his working life involved being a real estate agent, broker and finally, an appraiser.

Richard’s concerns about the environment and climate change had him wanting to make a difference. He researched building ideas and took a residential home construction class at Shasta College and started designing and building garages, and then houses, first in Bella Vista in 1988 and then Rocky Top in 1996. He taught himself to be an off-grid photovoltaic specialist and created a rainwater collection system. He was able to research any project and proceed to create what he imagined or needed. One of his greatest accomplishments was designing and building an off-grid home and domestic rain-water collection system.

After retirement he volunteered for the Shasta Land Trust, hosting “Wildways” events and serving on the Resource Development Committee. He supported many worthy causes, including Amnesty International, Doctors without Borders, Earth Justice, NAACP, PETA, One Safe Place, Public Citizens, Southern Poverty Law Center, United Farm Workers, Union of Concerned Scientists and Sierra Club. He was a man of many talents who inspired others with his insight, wisdom and humor. He was a true Renaissance man who will be remembered and revered.

Navy Honor Guard Services will be at the Northern California Veterans Cemetery on Thursday, May 30 at 2 p.m. A Celebration of Life, sponsored by the Shasta Land Trust, will follow at the Redding Library Community Room. Memorial donations may be made to Shasta Land Trust, 1748 West Street, Redding or www.shastalandtrust.org/donate.

Sign the Guest book at www.allenanddahl.com

You can read Richard’s aNewsCafe.com articles here.

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