Douglas McLaren. “Whatever joy or grief be ours: We will always think of you”

Douglas McLaren 79

January 18, 1932 – February 12, 2011

Douglas McLaren Photo Carla Caplan


That was my first impression of Douglas McLaren. It was sometime in 2010, I had just started walking a new dog Rufus a Jack Russell/other terrier mix. My pack and I were walking along the north fence at Cherry Beach heading toward the point. Rufus bounded ahead and ran up to Douglas, his back end dusting the ground in a vigorous side to side motion. Obviously they knew each other, Douglas bent down to greet him. Having seen Mr. McLaren at the beach on occasion I wasn’t concerned. Quite often my dogs will recognize a friend when we are out, it’s always fun putting the pieces together. I held up my hand signalling acknowledgement.

I stopped to take a few pictures of my dogs and if I’m being completely honest I did forget about Rufus for about 5-7 minutes. When I remembered and looked up there was Douglas, silhouetted by the sun, standing rigid on the hill with Rufus on leash at his side. It was a foreboding image, I took a deep breath and approached him.

“Hi, thanks. Rufus is with me, may I have him back?”

“Who the Hell RRRRR EWE ?!” he demanded in his Scottish brogue.

I explained that I was his walker, he then  went on to berate me about my lack of care and attention. Words were exchanged and I eventually convinced him to relinquish Rufus to me.

When I called Rufus’ mom and told her I was yelled at by a scary Scotsman she laughed and told me he was her friend’s dad.

Douglas walked his daughter Sam’s dog Georgia daily at Cherry Beach. When Douglas passed I became Georgia’s walker. There were times I’d look over my shoulder when we’d walk by his bench.

doug-mclaren bench

I had to smile when I noticed Douglas’s bench was the only one at the beach that has the middle armrest, you know, the one preventing anyone from fully reclining and possibly enjoying a delicious nap.

However, after talking to a few CB regulars I was told Douglas was a great and interesting character who loved a good debate.

Jim Doyle, Liberty’s dad has many a fond memory of their strolls and conversations.

Carla Caplan remembers:

“Doug McLaren was my friend. I wish I had taken notes during our many discussions. Our first conversation was one morning when I was in the park wearing my post office uniform. He asked me if I ever ran into a man named Al Shaw in my travels. I walked over to him and showed him my phone with Al Shaw as the first contact–Al Shaw is now 94. Doug was Al’s boy scout leader when they were boys. One of his favorite quotes was “revenge is best served cold”. I don’t know why I remember that, I suspect it was in answer to one of my issues. Doug was married for many years to the love of his life, {Merle Anne}. They ran a travel agency where they booked ski trips, which they were a part of. Their daughter Samantha was his joy and he was thrilled when he was finally a grandfather.”

Sheri Warner, mother of Rufus adds:

“I remember that him and his friend Hal used to walk at Cherry everyday and would get into such fierce arguments over who was right/wrong that Doug ended up putting encyclopedias & research material in his trunk to make it easier at the beach to decide which of them was correct.

That cracked me up! Like Statler & Waldorf from the Muppets!!”

Douglas McLaren’s Obituary:

MCLAREN, Douglas – On February 12, 2011, in his 79th year, Douglas McLaren, forever loving husband to the late Merle Anne McLaren, passed away with his daughter, Samantha Blaise and his son-in-law, Andrew Meredith by his side. Douglas ‘Hammer’ McLaren will be remembered by family and friends for his feisty spirit, passionate story telling and emotional, loving heart. His grandson, Taggart Douglas Meredith, will forever be touched by ‘Poppy’s’ strong and loving hands. Do not stand at my grave and weep; I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn’s rain. When you awaken in the morning’s hush; I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there. I did not die.

Memorial Service to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers and donations, please tell your family and friends how much you love them. – Source star

If you have any stories about Douglas please share in the comments.


2 thoughts on “Douglas McLaren. “Whatever joy or grief be ours: We will always think of you””

  1. Lovely. I am pretty sure I remember Douglas from a few very brief chats. What a character!

    And of course, Georgia. She was also lovely.

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