Lionel Leroy Douglass “Doug”
In Loving Memory
Lionel Leroy Douglass (“Doug”), aged 88, passed at his home in Carson City
on October 11, 2020 surrounded by his loving family. Doug lived with a kind
and open heart, a strong back and good cheer.
Lionel Leroy Douglass was born (February 15, 1932) in Marcus, Washington and raised in Stevens County, Colville, Washington. His parents were Fred and Edna Douglass. His beloved sister and brothers, Mae Beth Wood, Eldon and Wilbur, preceded him in death.
With an 8th grade education at 14 Doug started work. Among other jobs, he
worked in Washington’s wheat country as a seasonal harvester and in the
mountains, he learned to log. Before age 18 Doug followed his oldest brother Eldon to the Puget Sound on a number of fishing boats. He attempted to join the military but was not able to meet Army vision standards for enlistment. At age 12 an unfortunate BB-gun accident caused irreparable damage to his left eye and although his ocular prosthesis well matched the twinkle in his good eye, he still couldn’t pass the eye exam despite his best efforts.
After returning back to eastern Washington from the rugged Washington Coast, at 18 Doug was married for four years to Carolyn Decker, the mother of his oldest son, Roger.
In the fall of 1953 a visit to Harding’s Cafe in Chewelah, Washington reintroduced Doug to Jeanne Harding, one of 11 in the Harding family. Doug and Jeanne married August 13, 1955.
Most of his 65 years of marriage to Jeanne were spent in northern Nevada. But the early years took the young couple across the western United States, towing a 40’ x 8’ trailer, to places where jobs were available. Doug’s work
ethic and willingness to learn created opportunity. He developed expertise in concrete work, one of the hardest and most physically demanding trades. As a project foreman on a number of military installations during the late 50’s and early ‘60s the couple found themselves in New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho and in South Dakota Doug poured concrete holding silos for the Peacekeeper MX Missile. Doug’s ability to inspire hard work from his crews through high expectations, a charming smile and leading by example kept these and many projects like them on time. Doug had great memories of jobs in Montana on an earth filled, gravity-type hydroelectric dam on the Clark Fork River. His final military project was the Titan Nuclear Missile project in Moses Lake, Washington Jeanne said, “It fascinated Doug.”
By late 1962, nearing a decade of marriage traveling the country, Doug and Jeanne found themselves in northern Nevada. Doug said, “Honey, I can see 30 years here.” Starting off he went to work for Brunzell Construction Company on the First National Bank of Nevada. This project became an icon as Nevada’s tallest building at the time – 16 stories located in downtown Reno. Jeanne’s Nevada beginning include running Keno, calling bingo and wearing a jackpot apron at John Ascuaga’s Nugget. In 1965 they moved to Carson City, raised a loving family and were engaged members of the
With extensive concrete experience, Doug was dispatched to high profile projects including mud pours on the Las Vegas MGM, which burned in 1980. Its aggressive rebuild lasted 18 months with crews working 24/7. He also worked on Carson City’s wastewater treatment facility, and on the east shore of Lake Tahoe on what is now known as the Thunderbird Lodge. Doug was a member of Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local 169, earning his gold card status and 50-year pin. Doug believed in the dignity of work, living wages and health benefits. He thought most community challenges stem from poverty. At retirement he concluded there are two kinds of concrete: cracked and waiting to crack.
Doug referred to Jeanne as his ‘bride’ and all who knew the couple never doubted their connection. They enjoyed their golden years as active, in-town grandparents and as motorhome travelers enjoying NASCAR racing events, annual trips back to eastern Washington and three cross-country adventures.
Doug was loved and appreciated by his family and many friends. He is survived by daughter Tammy Ann Douglass- Westergard and sons Roger Lynn and Michael Wade; granddaughters Clarissa Klippenstein; Destiney and Mystery Douglass, Jasmine and Jayna Sweeny; grandsons Brooks Todd and Keaton Douglass Westergard; and great grandchildren JT and George Klippenstein and Ruby and Lewis Westergard.
Those caring to make a donation in memory of “Doug” Douglass may contribute to the WNC Library Supporting Workforce Recovery Fund through the Western Nevada College Foundation at 2201 West College Parkway, Carson City Nevada 89703, online donations can be made at wnc.edu/foundation or by calling the WNC Foundation office at 775-445-3240.