Doug Mawer


Doug Mawer went home to his Heavenly Father on July 5, 2003. Doug was a great Newfoundland patriot and a long time member of the Newfoundland Club of California. He was a St. John's native and a wonderful musician.

Doug leaves to mourn his son Rob, his daughter-in-law Anita and grandchildren Amanda and Roger along with his daughter Sue, son-in-law Gary and grandson Zachary.

We will miss you our friend. Peace.

— From your Newfoundland friends in the club.

My Memories of John Douglas Mawer

I first met Doug in 1949, through a mutual friend, Bobby MacLeod, who played the clarinet. Bobby and I played on the Guards city baseball team together. Bobby had heard that I played saxophone and told me that he and some other fellows were trying to get a band going. He asked if I would like to go and meet them. Doug played upright bass. After a short while, we found a new piano player named Dave Chafe. Although there were other fellows in the band, it was the three of us, Dave, Doug, and I that hung out together and became the best of friends.

Doug was very easy going and had a good sense of the type of music and songs that the people we played for liked, so he was soon looked upon as the leader. Sometime later I left to play with another older and more established band. However we still hung out together and had some great times.

Playing in the bands in St. John's was mostly part time, so we all had day jobs. I worked at Steers Ltd. where a young girl named Shirley Russell also worked. At the upcoming company annual dinner and dance at the Old Colony Club, I asked Shirley whom she was taking to the dinner. She said she had no one in mind so I told her "Do I have the Date for You!" With that, I set up a blind date between Doug and Shirley. After that they were almost inseparable. Dave and I didn't see as much of Doug after that, but we did get together a lot.

In 1955, Doug and Shirley were married and I had the pleasure of being Doug's best man. For years, each one would jokingly tell me that they'd never forgive me for this. However, in reality, they have thanked me over and over for arranging the blind date. Shirley told me once that she had seen Doug around town and had a very big crush on him.

In 1960, my long time girlfriend, Julie Butcher, and I were married and Doug was my best man. One year later, Julie and I set out for warm and sunny California.

We kept in touch with Doug and Shirley and told them lots of stories of California. As the story goes, some years later, Doug and his band were playing a job at Argentia, on their way back to St. John's there was a big snow storm and their vehicle went off the road and they had to walk a couple of miles for help. That's when Doug decided that he was packing up and heading for California. At first, Shirley was not too thrilled about the move but Doug, in his own quiet way, persuaded her to go and told her if she didn't like it there, they would come back.

Doug, Shirley, Robert, and Susan arrived here in July 1966. After being here for quite a while, Shirley admitted that she liked it here probably even more than Doug did. As with a lot of close friends and families in St. John's, the children of your closest friends refer to the married adults as uncles and aunts. To Robert and Susan, I was always Uncle Tubby and to my son, Steven, Doug was always Uncle Doug.

We all picked up from where we left off when we all lived back home. There was one thing I learned about Doug that I didn't know before. He had a great interest in airplanes. He knew more about planes than anyone I had ever known. Living out here gave him the opportunity to get more involved with planes. Doug and I took Ground School down at LAX and a short time later he bought a Taylor Craft airplane which he kept in his garage and proceeded to restore it. He did some very beautiful and meticulous work on it and had it certified as he did the work. However, he became busy with other things and restoring the plane kept getting pushed further and further back. Alas, he did not get to complete the restoration process.

My wife Julie passed away in 1978. Seven years later, I married the new love of my life, Deanna Schaefer in 1985. Again, Doug was my best man.

Shortly after Shirley passed away in 1996, Doug became an American citizen and of course with that honor came jury duty. While on jury duty, he met a lovely lady named Claire Frith who became a very close friend and companion. Doug very much enjoyed his time with Claire, and the wonderful places they went: movies, plays, dancing, formal balls, a trip to London for a cruise to France, Portugal, Spain, Azores and across the Atlantic to Halifax and Boston. Doug really enjoyed that trip.

As a member of the Newfoundland Club of California, Doug made a lot of new friends from Newfoundland and enjoyed the get-togethers at our monthly parties. The members will surely miss him.

Dave Chafe, the other member of the trio, was also Uncle Dave to all the kids. He didn't move to California though but settled in Ohio and has a wonderful life there. Since his retirement, Dave has visited Doug and me every year. This last February was the eleventh year in a row. Doug and I always looked forward to his visits. Last October, Doug, Dave, Deanna and I went back to Newfoundland where Doug saw all his cousins and friends one last time.

Doug was one of the most wonderful people, I've ever known. Always kind, gentle, honest, very giving, helpful and loyal. I'll miss him terribly. If I was doing something for myself or helping him to do something he would say: "Eldred Ellis, you done a good job, I'm proud of you."

Well, Doug, me b'y, looking back on your life, I say, you done a great job, I'm very proud of you."

Your friend always,

"Tubby" Whalen

Back to Memorial Page

© 2013, Newfoundland Club of California