Douglas John Middleton was born August 14, 1934 to Howard and Hilda Ann (Brunton) in Arran Township. He was the youngest of six children; Norma (1924); Lenore (1926); William “Bill” (1928); Doris (1930); Tom (1932) and Doug. He began attending school in Arkwright before the Middleton family soon moved to Tara while he was in grade four. Doug finished his education at Tara Continuation School followed by Chesley District High School.
Upon graduation, the CNR (Canadian National Railroad) was looking to recruit new employees and so on May 7, 1951 Doug began his twenty year career with them. He became an operator/agent in Weston (Toronto) followed by stops in Listowel, Ripley, Durham, Hanover and finally Walkerton. Doug loved his time working for the Railway and fondly remembered the many challenges that came along with his daily routines. Scheduling and overseeing the constant movement of freight, livestock and of course passengers kept his days full. He recalled many falls when 100 cars (50 – 60 animals in each car) of calves from the West would come in, while at the same time shipping grain back out in similar amounts. Doug left the Railway when services to Grey/Bruce were being reduced, as he had no desire to go back to the city to continue.
In 1954, Doug married Edith Gladys Ruthven. Together they had two children, David (1955) and Joan (1958). In the years that followed, Doug bought Fred Hagedorn’s farm on the outskirts of Chesley and began raising sheep. He also spent five years at Douglas Point where he was regularly exposed to radiation. In fact, most months he got the last several days of the month off as he had reached his radiation limit. Crazy! Doug soon founded Middleton's Men’s & Ladies Wear in Chesley, operating it for a few years.
Jim Stinson soon approached Doug and suggested that he sell insurance. Doug went away to Guelph to be educated in his new field of employment and became an agent for Co-operators. In 1977, Doug received his broker’s license. Starting from nothing in 1979, Doug built his business, Middleton’s Insurance. His son David joined him in 1980 and their Wiarton office opened in 1982. After 12 years in the business, he sold his insurance business to his son Dave and retired at the age of 57.
When not working for pay, Doug worked tirelessly as a member of the Chesley Kinsmen Club, served on town council for two terms, reeve for two terms, one term as mayor and a county council member as well. Doug also served as a board member for the Chesley Hospital and a union rep for the railroad for four years with 130 – 140 union members under him. If all of this wasn’t enough, Doug also enjoyed coaching baseball with his good friend Grant Gallinger, for many years.
Doug’s passion for coaching hockey came from his own love of playing the game. In fact, it was as a defenceman that he lost his first tooth. A much safer game he loved to play was cards, especially in Chesley with his friends. He often referred to them as the crazy “buggers.”
Doug married Audrey Porter on Thursday, January 23, 1992 and together they built a home in Wiarton. It was the same year Doug retired, and the couple quickly jumped in their car, heading to Bradenton, Florida for their honeymoon.
Sugarcreek Country Club in Bradenton, was their home away from home. From 1989 – 2007 Doug and Audrey spent every February & March there, often visiting with Doug’s two brothers who also resided in the park. When it came to politics, the Middletons sided with the Democrats, but often had to hold back their views as the park was made up of 90% Republicans… :)
When not hard at work, Doug or "Red" as he was referred to by many of his close friends loved a good game of cards. Frank's Garage was often the location for countless Poker matches. He also enjoyed a good game of Cribbage or Solo. Pool was another game Doug had a passion for. In his youth, Doug's second home was definitely the Allenford pool hall, were he perfected his game. In recent years, the Toronto Blue Jays provided Doug with much entertainment. To say that he was an avid "Jays" fan would be an understatement! Curling and hockey were also known as favourites on Doug's television.
Doug also loved his cars. It wasn't uncommon for him to upgrade his vehicle every two years. He started out with GM’s but over the years enjoyed several Chryslers and Fords as well. Doug enjoyed the autumn months with all of its colours. In fact, yellow was his favourite, and on more than one occasion he could be found picking up some yellow begonias, to take home for Audrey.
Doug worked hard throughout his life and instilled his strong work ethic in many of those around him. He was always serious when it came to business and taught his children from a young age that if you said you were going to do it, you better do it! Another life lesson came when he decided to finance his first car, a 1948 Chevy. Apparently the math did not add up and therefore learned early on that if you don't have the money, don't buy it. Apparently, he had a soft, tender heart and was very family oriented. He also enjoyed to tease a bit, particularly his nieces and nephews. He was never "late" for anything, always arriving early and prepared. His sincere, practical and reliable ways will live on in his children and grandchildren for years to come.
In recent years, Audrey and Doug relocated to Owen Sound and then Hanover to be closer to family and friends. In 2016, he was diagnosed with cancer and his health soon began to decline. He lived out his final months on his own terms, passing away at Chapman House, Owen Sound, surrounded by his family on Friday, September 28, 2018 in his 85th year.
Beloved husband of Audrey (Porter). Loving father of David (Heather) of Chesley, Joan (Peter) McCannel of Burgoyne and step-father of Marilyn (Gary) Sachs of Hamilton. Cherished grandfather of Kara (Mark), Brynn (Jason), Caiden (Leah), Rebekah (Steve), Dan (Sheena), Courtney (Bill), Kellin (Larissa) and step-grandfather of Krista (Matt) and Shannon (Roy). Doug will be lovingly remembered by his fourteen great-grandchildren, sister-in-law Ada Middleton and brother-in-law Lloyd Dealy. He will be sadly missed by his many nieces, nephews, neighbours and good friends. Doug was predeceased by his first wife Edith, sisters Norma Love, Lenore Eby, Doris Dealy, brothers Tom and Bill and his parents Howard and Hilda (Brunton) Middleton
Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Wednesday evening from 7 - 9 p.m. and again on Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until the time of the funeral service at 11:30 a.m. Interment in Hillcrest Cemetery, Tara.
Memorial donations to Canadian Blood Services, Chesley Hospital Foundation or Chesley Minor Ball would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.Send to friend