Clayton Otis Douglass

 

Oct 1, 1925 – May 31, 2021

 

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Clayton Otis Douglass

Clayton Otis Douglass (Doug) was born in Shenandoah, Iowa, on October 1, 1925.  He died on May 31, 2021 at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, WA.  He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for many years.

His parents were Clayton O. Douglass, Sr. and Violet Belle Clark Douglass.  As a child, he played competitive tennis, and his dad even built a tennis court on their side lawn.  He also loved to sing and he played trumpet in the high school band, playing taps at funerals, as the “echo” on the hill above the cemetery.  He also enjoyed building model airplanes with his dad.  An aviation enthusiast his whole life, he Joined the Army Aviation Cadets as soon as he was old enough, and officially enlisted into the Army Air Corps on his 18th birthday in 1943.  He was selected to become one of the crew for the new B26 Martin Marauder, which needed smaller crews than the B17s.  He trained as a “3-headed monster”, primarily serving as a navigator but also earning certifications as a Bombardier and Radar Operator.

He knew that he wanted to be an engineer his entire life, so after he was discharged, in 1946, he attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, believing that it had the best engineering program. He graduated in 1949 with a BS in Electrical Engineering.

While at CU, he met the love of his life, Helen Arlene Chambers.  Helen grew up in Iowa also, but lived in Texas before attending CU, so her sorority sisters nicknamed her “Tex”, and the nickname stuck.  Clayton (also known as Doug) never called her by any other name.   Helen knew on their first date that Doug was the guy for her, and after dating for a few months they married on December 21, 1947, in Arkansas City, KS. After graduation, he interviewed with Boeing and they were both thrilled when he was hired on the spot.  The new job required a move to Wichita, Kansas.  Working at Boeing was a dream job for Doug.  He always knew that he wanted to be an engineer and he wanted to work in aviation, and he enjoyed his 35 years with the company.  He worked on numerous projects, including as Chief Engineer on the B52 Tail Redesign, on AWACS, where he designed the lift for the dome, and on the IUS.  Boeing moved the family to Bellevue, WA, in 1966, and after retiring in 1986, he and his wife spent time every year on Maui, and on numerous golf trips around the world.  He also had a passion for building things, including a Heathkit Color Television set in 1965, and a Snipe Sailboat, that he also built from a kit, in 1966.  His passion for sailing was born when he made his first trip to Seattle, prior to moving here, and friends took him to the Ballard Locks.  He had never sailed before, but loved the graceful sailboats as they moved through the Locks.

Doug is survived by his loving wife of 73 years, Tex, and their 4 children; John, Dianne, Charles and Denise, their spouses, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. A small gathering of friends and family will be held at Newport Hills Swim & Tennis Club on Sunday, June 27th from 2 – 4 pm.

 

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