Gratitude for the life and gifts of 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 lived for nine years. One of his poems offers this thought: “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 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 (1953), a M.Div. from 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 and senior consultant with North American Rockwell on moon shot.; before a mid-life decision to be ordained as an Episcopal Priest in the Diocese of Los Angeles, CA. 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.

Central to Doug’s life were the people he loved, among whom were his two dear wives, Alice and Norvene, and his adult children Jim Galloway (Nancy) and Christine Wnorowski (Donald), as well as a beloved brood of extended relatives. His poetry includes thoughts about life and death. 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]