Obituary of Douglas DeWitt McCreary
Douglas DeWitt McCreary, 72, died peacefully on Thursday, February 15th in Grass Valley, California. He was born on June 11, 1945 in San Mateo, to Harriet (Duerr) and James McCreary.
Doug was raised in Berkeley, where he enjoyed exploring, building forts, and golfing at Tilden Park. He also played saxophone and was an award-winning paperboy. Upon his graduation from El Cerrito High School in 1963, Doug went to UC Riverside and majored in economics. After graduating from UCR, Doug studied at the London School of Economics for one year before taking an extended break from academics. He traveled throughout Europe, drove across the Sahara in a VW bus, and lived on the Spanish island of Formentera. Doug spent many summers working in Tahoe,
and lived for one summer in a tree house he built in the woods.
In 1972, Doug moved to Corvallis, Oregon to study at OSU, where he received his Masters and PhD in Forestry. At a meditation workshop in Corvallis, Doug met Roxanne Priestly, whom he married in 1976. They had two children, Tyson and Megan.
Doug and his family moved to Grass Valley in 1986, and he began working for the University of California at the Sierra Foothill Research and
Extension Center. He studied oak woodland management, gave talks throughout the country about his work, and made many contributions to the field of forestry and conservation. After the 49er Fire in 1988, Doug organized Project Acorn, a county-wide effort with dozens of volunteers who collected and planted acorns in areas devastated by the fire. In recognition of Project Acorn, Doug received the Take Pride in America Award in
1990 in Washington, DC. Doug enjoyed hiking, skiing, reading, yard sales, and collecting yard art. He loved a good bargain. He practiced meditation throughout his life, and was known for his warm, gentle presence, though long stop lights were occasionally a source of expletives. He was an incredibly generous person.
He was preceded in death by his father, James; his mother, Harriet; and his brother, Richard. He is survived by his partner, Therese Hukill-DeRock; his exwife, Roxanne Fitzsimmons, with whom he maintained a lifelong friendship; his children, Tyson McCreary and Megan Cielatka;
and his grandchildren, Hazel, Sybil, Ian and Isaac. He was also blessed with many great friends, some of whom he knew since childhood.
A celebration of Doug’s life is planned for June in Grass Valley.
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