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Our go to guy is gone

Editor’s note: This column consists of remarks Walter Geiger gave at the funeral of Doug Walter Sept. 23 at First United Methodist Church of Barnesville. The Bible teaches us that God created man in His own image. That may have been true of Adam but as Earth’s population grew, people grew more distinct. They became individuals. God did not create his people using the same mold and he certainly did not churn out cookie-cutter Christians. This is a unique service for a one of a kind ‘“ my friend Capt. Doug. Doug was born 200 years too late. He was a salt of the earth type who would have been right at home with Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett at the Alamo or with General Custer at Little Big Horn. Indeed, through skill, force of will and sheer firepower, Capt. Doug may have single-handedly altered the course and outcomes of both those battles had he been there. He was always well-armed. Today, we are celebrating Doug’s life in this sanctuary where he was a regular but he would tell you his place of worship was in the woods. That was where he was at home and where he reveled in God’s glory. Sports teams, businesses, churches and enterprises of all descriptions have their go-to guys or gals ‘“ the people you turn to to win a game when it is on the line or do something that no one else can seem to get done. Capt. Doug was my go-to guy and that of many of you here today. He had a ring full of house keys. When something broke, people called Doug and he went by to fix it. He could fix anything. If a 747 crashed in your backyard, given enough time Doug could come in, fix the plane and fly it out. If you needed to match a 150-year-old piece of crown moulding, build a house or barn, catch a snake, identify a garden pest, mount a flat screen TV on the wall or hang art 20 feet off the ground, you called Doug. Captain Doug looked out for his friends. I’ve spent more than my share of days in the hospital over the past year. Doug called me three or four times a day to check on me. When I complained about hospital food, he and Wesley brought me a tomato sandwich made with a tomato from Doug’s garden. Doug was obsessed with the weather. I can hear him on the phone now with his weather radio alert sounding in the background, ‘Bad storm coming but you got time to get over here and get in my basement.’ Indeed, my survival plan for any calamity up to and including nuclear winter was to get to wherever Doug was. He could live off the land and provide for whomever he needed to provide for. Captain Doug loved Halloween when Grannie Annie would come down. Generations of Barnesville kids looked forward to Doug doing his chainsaw massacre show in the front yard. Just last Saturday he was talking about tweaking the Halloween show for this year. Doug had complained for months about our current and ongoing drought. Twenty-six hours after he died, the rain began and it came in abundance. I have no doubt God turned on the faucet because he quickly grew tired of hearing Doug complain. Doug was fortunate enough to marry a saint in Susan. She put up with Doug’s proclivities. He loved her and she loved him. They raised up three sons ‘“ all Eagle scouts who came through Doug’s Troop 17 like many of you here today. Chris is an accomplished artist and his work will be featured at an upcoming show in Miami’s South Beach. Matt was the champion forestry student at UGA and in the Southeastern Conference. David, the only employee we ever had who sported a Mohawk, works, fittingly, at a brewery. He is going to Germany soon to study brewing and bottling equipment. Just last week, Capt. Doug told me, ‘He’s like his Dad. He likes to fix things.’ Captain Doug loved his family. He loved hunting and fishing excursions. He relished a good poker game with his friends and an ice cold Miller High Life. He was always in. The man wore many hats and could fix anything but, sadly, he is not here to fix all the broken hearts he left behind. We’ll have to hold him close in our memories and do that on our own.     Capt. Doug, our go-to guy, is gone. God bless him! Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette and Pike County Journal Reporter.

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