June 15, 1926 – April 18, 2021
On Sunday, April 18th, our dad and papa, Doug Bell, passed away peacefully with a touch of Irish whiskey on his lips! He was just shy of his 95th birthday, and we were fortunate to have had him with us for so long.
He was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan on June 15,1926 to Irene and “Pop” Bell and was the eldest of a large, loving family of 5 boys and 2 girls.
He grew up in Moose Jaw, where he met and married the Love of his Life, Pearl Gray. They started life together with the Department of Transport in Beatton River, BC after dad trained as a wireless air gunner, never having to go to war but always proud to be considered a Veteran.
He was a radio operator in those days, living in remote communities, and he loved his job. To improve his typing skills, while on midnight shift he typed the dictionary from front to back twice! It not only helped his typing but likely had something to do with his love of words!
They moved countless times over the years spending time in Fort Nelson, Lethbridge, Watson Lake, Medicine Hat and finally arriving in Whitehorse as Telecommunications Area Manager in 1968.
Along the way, they had a family with Linda born in 1948, Bernie in 1953 and Bob in 1960. It was during this time in Whitehorse that he served as the territory’s 34th Commissioner. As a good friend put it, “Doug was a public servant and not a politician.” He loved people and everyone he met had a story to tell.
He then branched into the newspaper business writing the Rambling column for over 20 years. He was always with pen and paper in hand making notes for the next column.
He also “wore many hats” and his photography took he and mom far and wide promoting his beloved Yukon and his love of ravens. He was also on the Board for Holland America for many years, and always enjoyed their get-togethers.
Through all of this, to us he was a loving and devoted husband, dad and Papa. His granddaughter Beth wrote “When you think of Papa a few things come to mind … fedoras, photography, red wine, scotch and his happy-go-lucky personality. He was truly an example of what a good person is. He was humble, kind and compassionate. He was devoted to all his family as it grew, and he loved to spend time with us all.”
Dad never really got over the death of mom in 2010 or Bernie in 2013, but he handled both with courage and dignity. And as his grandson Robbie said “This is sad but his life was excellent, and I’m happy we are all part of it!” A fitting tribute to the man, the husband, the father and the papa, and to a life well lived.
Doug is survived by his 3 brothers Bob (Jane), Jack (Grace) and Rusty (Joan); by his 2 children Linda (Wayne) and Bob (Tracy) and his daughter-in-law Caroline; by his 7 grandchildren Shawn (Chelsea) and Rob (Karin), Trevor (Tasha) and Leah (Ben), Jordan (Komal), Grant and Beth (Randy) and by his great grandchildren Shea, Hanna and Liam, Luka and Lilah, and Cooper.
The family would like to especially thank Caroline, whose love and devotion helped dad to remain in his home and independent these past 2 years; to Ron and Truska for being such great friends and neighbours for over 30 years along with the others in the cul-de-sac; to Glenys and Richard, Stephen and Barbara, whose friendships he valued deeply and enjoyed many a good dinner over a bottle of Scotch. He was a lucky man to have such great friends! And also our thanks to the good care and respect shown to Dad during his brief stay in House 7 at the Whistle Bend.
Because of COVID, there will be no Celebration of Life but hopefully in the future, we will make our way to Moose Jaw where mom and dad want their ashes scattered in the park by the river where they first courted so many years ago, and began their long and most loving life journey together. If you would like, please sign the guest book on the Heritage North website.
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