Douglas C. Vest
In his 100th year, Douglas C. Vest of Charlottesville, VA died on November 6, 2019 at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge (WCBR), where he has lived for the past nine years. A memorial service will be held in spring 2020 at St. Paul’s Memorial Church in Charlottesville.
“Attitude of gratitude” sounds like a catchy slogan. In truth, the words open a variety of thoughts – such as life itself is gift to be given thanks for. [Life’s Flow]
Douglas was born in Covington, Kentucky to Hugh and Geraldine Vest on June 15, 1920. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1942 and was commissioned in the Navy that year, serving aboard the USS Chenango as radio officer. Subsequently, he attended the Navy Postgraduate school in 1944-5 and taught there as an instructor in cryptology. His later education included a M.S. from Johns Hopkins in 1953, a M.Div. from Los Angeles’ Bloy House and the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, MA (1966), and a M.A. from Duquesne University’s Institute of Formative Spirituality (1982).
As something of a Renaissance man, Douglas worked as a research physicist as Head of Applied Interior Ballistics at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD; senior consultant with Redel Inc., Anaheim CA; and North American Rockwell on moon shot, Downey, CA.; before a mid-life decision to be ordained as an Episcopal Priest in the Diocese of Los Angeles, CA (1966). His pastoral experience was varied and rich, serving the parishes of St. Andrew’s Fullerton; St. Charles, Northridge; and All Saints Pasadena; before becoming Canon Missioner for Ministry to the Bishop of Los Angeles from 1982-2007, in which capacity he was chaplain to fellow clergy and seminarians in the diocese.
After retirement, Doug devoted more energy to nature as his long-valued mentor in hobbies of hiking, gardening and wood carving. He also took up poetry, publishing 12 books, 8 of which are poetry. Phrases from his poems bookend this obituary.
Central to Doug’s life were the people he loved. He is survived by his wife, Norvene; his adult children Jim Galloway (Nancy) and Christine Wnorowski (Donald), and sister-in-law Ann Fasnacht (Bill) and brother-in-law Sam Foster. Rich in relatives, Doug also is survived by grandchildren Joshua Galloway (Neville +Alice and Louis) and Anna Highsmith (Cyrus +Frances) and nephews Russ Roberts (Anita, son Chad & wife Jessica +Carter and Landon), Mike Vest (Lynette +Will and Cathy), and John Fasnacht, and nieces Judy Bryant (son Terry & wife Dana +Alexis) and Peggy Rosen (Alan +Joshua and Dan), whose spouses and children are mentioned in parentheses above. The beloved brood goes on to include the Wnorowski clan of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great great grandchildren. Doug is preceded in death by his first wife, Alice; his brother, Hugh and Hugh’s wife Jane; two sisters, Madeline and Maxine Jane; nephew Gary and nieces Judy, Barbara and Sandie.
The sage ponders, “Why am I here?” as a riddle for life itself. And even about ourselves as mysterious. Never ending for a lifetime, as at his end an early clergy sighed, his final words, “Now comes the mystery.” [A Second Helping]
If wished, memorial donations may be made to St. Paul’s Memorial Church (1701 University Ave, Charlottesville, 22903) or WCBR Foundation (250 Pantops Mountain Drive, Charlottesville, 22911). The family wishes to extend their gratitude to all those who have held us in prayer and especially to the HC#3 nursing staff of WBCR.
Welcome to the website of Norvene & Doug Vest
Taking a cue from the title of one of Doug’s books, we hope you’ll enjoy “sauntering” with us through our various activities.
Our home is lovely Charlottesville, Virginia. All of the poems on our site have been written by Douglas. Our site speaks to the many meaningful facets of our mutual ministries, especially those of writing (we’ve authored/edited over 20 books!); workshops and retreat leadership; spiritual guidance; and an overall commitment to live in a contemplative manner, including a rhythm of action and rest, reflective reading and conversation, intellectural inquiry (Doug would call it just plain “curiosity” about the world), regular devotional time, and an attitude of thankfulness.
Within you will find some photographs of us, some of our Virginia home, and some evoking the Spirit. We hope these views and notes will bring you also the gift of shalom, the fullness of peace.
By the way, you may wonder what a “composury” is: it’s a word we created to describe the little out-building where Norvene had her office in our southern California home. Presumably not only did she compose books there, but she also experienced composure in its secluded setting! So we adopted the word as a key part of our collaborative name: Composury Colleagues.
Norvene & Doug Vest