Newsletter Item September 2000 Doug Ordinal


The Museum has suffered a great loss with the death on August 6th of Robert Douglas (Doug) Ordinal in his 81st year following several months of illness. Born in Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Doug is survived by his wife Marjorie, a daughter, a son, and their families including five grandchildren.

Many who have been closest to him over his years with the Museum attended his funeral on August 10th. Long time friend and Museum member, Dr. John Christie, delivered a very appropriate eulogy; who paid fitting tribute to Doug and his dedication to family, friends, and ACAM.

Doug enlisted in the Canadian Army at the start of World War II as a vehicle engine mechanic. When the rapidly expanding Air Force sought candidates as aero engine technicians he applied and was successful in both being accepted and in achieving a high course standing. This lead to an active wartime experience, which included service in the difficult living conditions of the advanced landing grounds of North Africa and later on into Europe.

Following the war Doug reenlisted in the army serving in Peace Keeping operations in the Middle East. After leaving the army he operated an auto body business in Wellington, N.S. until finally retiring.

Doug’s involvement in our Museum is legendary, having been part of virtually every major effort since it was first formed. Never one to back away from a difficult issue Doug was the consummate “scrounger” for every project that required assistance in materials or services. It was a measure of the respect held for him that virtually nobody seemed able to resist his approach for assistance to Museum projects.

Doug’s most recent project was his much beloved Harvard II restoration. The quality of that work has brought much credit to both Doug and ACAM. In recent years he extended his efforts to the Shearwater Museum where he was a valued member of the Firefly restoration team.

Having lost his first wife Isa some years ago. Doug’s marriage to Marjorie gave him the last five years of happiness and fulfilment that were obvious to all who knew him. His seasonal visits to Marjorie’s farm in Saskatchewan were also used to extend our contacts with many of the Western Museums.

Doug sought respect and received it in full measure. In return he respected the efforts and commitment of those around him. He could at times appear gruff and demanding but beneath that surface was a deep respect and appreciation of others.

Among the many comments of respect:

Reg Clarke – Curator: “His presence is in the very walls of this place.”

Jim Johnston – Board member and President of Cougar Helicopters: “He had the tenacity of a pit bull but the good nature of a retriever. He brought me back to the reasons I got involved in the Aviation Industry in the first place.”

Dave McMahon – Museum President: The Museum owes a lot of its existence to Doug Ordinal — It may just take three or four people to keep on where Doug left off.”

Don Hirtle – Canso Crew Chief: “People in the aviation industry had respect for Doug. — Old Doug would simply walk into a place, tell someone who he was, what he wanted and hand him or her an empty box. And sure enough he’d walk out with the box full. I don’t know how we’ll fill those boots.”

Marcel Olsen – Sabre Crew Chief: “The overpowering thing about this place is its personality.
After a few weeks here I began to realize that this Museum wasn’t about sheet metal and rivets, it’s about people. Doug never wanted us to lose sight of that.”

It is often said that the best we can hope for is that the world is better off for our having been here. That is certainly something that can be said of this most unique gentleman.

Doug Ordinal 1919 – 2000 GoodBye

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