Huber, Doug, passed away peacefully surrounded by family at the Saugeen Memorial Hospital in Southampton on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, at the age of 88. Beloved Husband of Helen (nee Krug). Father of Michael, Diane, Shari (Jeff), and Stephanie (Todd). Best Grandpa & Great Grandpa ever to Courtney & Michael Bridge (Cassandra & Corbin), Caitlin & Kurtis Kealey (Blake & Hannah), Jessica Huber & Jay (Jocelyn & Claire), Carly & Cory Rosner (Sawyer, Ruby & Camryn), Chelsea Huber & Mike, Rae Ann & Hayden Burke (Andrew), and honorary members of the Huber family, Simon & Claudia Barrick. Also fondly remembered by his special extended family Zack, Katrina (Josh, Keegan), Hunter, Colton (Caellum, Taylie), and Trenton (Shelby, Kash, Bristol). Survived by his older brother Robert Huber and Brother-in-law Jim Bain. Predeceased by Helen in 2015, by his grandson and Jessica’s twin, Jeremy, who sadly lived only a few days, by his parents Alfred C. (AC) & Mabel Huber, by his in-laws Harold & Gladys Krug, his sister-in-law Dorothy, his niece Susan, his nephew Timothy and his favourite fishing buddy and CCG colleague, Joe Dean.
Douglas Alton Huber lived his entire life, from June 12, 1935, until August 22nd, in one of the yellow brick heritage homes on Palmerston Street. He was born in the lower unit of this very early duplex, moving to the upper unit when he married Helen in 1959 and following a building conversion and addition, to the middle apartment and finally the big unit across the back.
Doug was the third Huber to be serve on the Southampton Council following his grandfather and father, a legacy carried on by Diane who is the current Saugeen Shores Deputy Mayor. He took a particular interest in recreation likely because while growing up Doug played almost every sport available in our community. Recently he was one of the ‘champions’ from a 1950’s Southampton baseball team asked to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at the opening of the new Lamont sports complex. He was a hockey player, a golfer, shuffleboard player, a hunter, a fisherman and a pool player. His skill on the curling rink continued a family tradition and legacy of local champions that included his grandfather, Alton (Dad) and his father, AC (Hungry). Doug has a nickname too, Big Foot, although there’s no 100% reliable version of how he came to be called that.
Fishing was both a sport and a business for Doug. The times spent fishing with his buddies, especially Joe, Doug Helwig and Kees Veerman, up north and closer to home resulted in not only good feeds of fish but the creation of legendary stories which may, or may not, be true. One catch that is real, based upon authenticated photos and boost in Doug’s bank account, was the prize winning 864 lb. tuna Doug caught during the North Lake Bluefin Tuna Classic in P.E.I. in 2002. He enjoyed fishing on the West Coast too every time he and Shari made trips to visit Joe and Yvonne. On the business side, for many years Doug and his fish tug, the Little Snick (yes, the one with the scantily clad mermaid on the bow), was part of the vibrant commercial fishing activity at the Southampton Harbour along with Mike and a motley great crew of local guys who enjoyed riding out on a calm or a wavy Lake at a ridiculously early hour on a noisy, smelly boat to do not always easy work lifting nets. A very young, inquisitive, summer visitor met Doug on the dock as he was unloading fish and that connection grew into a very special relationship between Doug and Simon over many decades.
Doug had a variety of jobs and fulfilled many community roles over his 88 years. His working life started when he did odd jobs (for no pay and the chance to be out past curfew times) as a teenager at his grandfather’s billiard hall downtown. He made deliveries for the local dairy, first with a horse-pulled wagon and then a truck. Doug was a stoker on the trains that regularly ran between Southampton and Palmerston and he also did school trip runs from Bruce County down to Niagara Falls and special train runs to bring the circus to Owen Sound. A train co-worker, Floyd Moffatt and Doug, shared this important local heritage by making recordings that are now part of the Rails Exhibit at the Bruce County Museum. He was a mail-truck driver who was once stopped by armed Police near Walkerton who mistook him for someone who had stolen a mail truck. He drove a school bus during the 1960’s and early 1970’s, his route through the reserve was particularly enjoyed by Diane who would hop on the bus parked by the old arena and tag along so she could get a ride to school with her friends rather than walk two and a half blocks. Doug laid flooring for Eagleson’s Furniture and was an Auxiliary Police Officer.
Doug joined the Southampton Fire Department in 1958, becoming a Captain in 1965 and Chief in 1966. His leadership initiated the mutual aid system within Bruce County, provided support to the SON as they built their own fire service in the 1970’s, supported improvements in training and gear for volunteer firefighters and ensured the acquisition of fire suppression and safety vehicles necessary for a growing community. It was Doug’s determination that led to the relocation of the fire hall from a small location within the Town Hall to the current location on Victoria Street. After retiring as Chief in 1985 he remained interested in the local fire service and his financial contribution ensured that the Antique Truck Fire Hall built at Jubilee Park was outfitted with appropriate doors that would enable this space to be moved to active duty when Station 50 needs to expand. For many years, Doug was also a firefighter at Douglas Point with the Bruce Generating Station Fire Department.
Doug watched his town grow and he and Helen were generous in supporting community projects like the building of the Southampton Coliseum, the Rotary Splashpad, our Hospital and whatever endeavor his grandkids and great grandkids were into.
As the son of a Lighthouse keeper, a 7 year old Doug spent the summer on Chantry Island with his Dad and older brother, Bobby. Many years later, Mike Sterling credits Doug with making the first significant financial donation toward the idea of restoring the Keeper’s Cottage which then led to the beginning of the Propeller Club, the forming of the Marine Heritage Society and finally summer tours to the lighthouse. Doug and his tug enjoyed the many runs they made to the island with volunteers and supplies during the Island Restoration project. Knowing the waters so well Doug was often able to get the Little Snick right onto the shore making for easy movement of equipment and supplies and no wet boots.
Doug combined his passions for the Lake and safety by joining the Canadian Coast Guard as his last big job. His Search and Rescue role was based out of the Tobermory CCG base, but at times, he was stationed at the Thunder Bay and Meaford bases too. He gained both a best friend, Joe, from those many years and some stellar cooking skills that served him well after Helen died in 2015. His roasted pigtails, clam chowder, tropical salad, strawberry rhubarb pie, leek soup and batter fried fish are legendary within the Huber family and he even mastered Helen’s chili sauce recipe eventually.
With only two exceptions, all of Doug and Helen’s family today live within 45 minutes of the yellow brick house on Palmerston Street. It is the heart and soul for all of us but especially for Stephanie who never really moved out (even though she did) totally to the delight of Doug and Helen. Her cardplaying and TV bingo nights with Dad, drives around town and regular stocking of his Treat drawer kept life sweet and good for Doug after Helen passed.
Doug and his family want to thank the amazing healthcare professionals who provided care. We believe that Helen’s nursing spirit was present during a few visits to the ER over the years and especially with the doctors and nurses at Saugeen Memorial Hospital who helped Dad on his final days. Earlier, we are grateful for the care provided by incredible nurses, especially Barb Mattiussi and Christine Champion, to both Mom, Dad and us. And special gratitude to the Doctor at the Lion’s Head Hospital who got Dad’s diabetes routine on the right track making sure we didn’t lose both our parents on the same weekend. Cardiac care nurses and doctors at St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener and University Hospital in London are also very appreciated as is Dr. Thiel for helping Doug get proper eyecare. Special thanks to Dr. McCulloch and Dr. Stanners for their care given as Doug’s family physician. Care partners home visit staff, especially Gary and Sheila, were always appreciated even if Doug was stubborn about doing what you encouraged him to do. We are thankful for the caregiving that Cathy provided and also to Kees, Floyd, CCG colleague Steve and Red for the many hours of phone and in-person visits and conversations they had with Doug.
Cremation has taken place. A come & go gathering to celebrate the life of Doug Huber will be held at the Southampton Fire Hall, on Saturday September 2, 2023 from 1- 4 p.m. If desired, memorial donations may be made to the Southampton Firefighters’ Association or to the Marine Heritage Society. Arrangements entrusted to the Eagleson Funeral Home, Southampton.