Anyone who knew Doug knows he didn't do things half-heartedly. He was always diving into a new project or educating himself about some new hobby or subject. But his core interests throughout his life have been very consistent--among them engineering, space, and nature/conservation. That was underlined recently when Doug's mother, Elaine, came across these essays he wrote in grade school:

If I were a multimillionaire and had spent all I wanted for myself, I would want to help others by developing a smog-free automobile engine.

In order to do this, I would need authorities on the subject and an administrator to get a building, hire men, and do the over all planning. So I would go to the Office of Scientific Research in Washington, D. C., and talk to the head man about my idea and get recommendations for people.

After I had gotten an administrator and scientists, I would talk to them about my idea for a car that wouldn’t pollute the air.

I would suggest many ideas, some of which they may disagree with. These are some of the ideas I would suggest: a solar cell for electric power, a more powerful battery to provide electricity, an atomic energy engine, a combustion engine with adequate exhaust filters, and a combustion engine that doesn’t give off pollutants. I think I would ask them to develop a gasoline that doesn’t pollute.

When they finish the first project, then I would ask them to continue on other projects to clean up the environment.

Doug, April 1972, 4th grade


Comets are bodies that maintain definite orbits around the Sun, so they are part of the solar system. Like the planets, comets have elliptical orbits. One time around its orbit is called a period. The parts of one are: the nucleus, the head, and the tail.

The most famous comet, Halley’s, was named for Edmond Halley. It was first seen in 240 B.C. Another comet, Billa’s broke in two in 1816 and has since disappeared. Donate’s Comet has two curved tails and was first seen in 1858. The Arened-Ronald was the first bright one seen since Halley’s Comet in 1910. It was first seen in 1957.

Comets are still a mystery to scientists. Comets are not known where to originate.

Douglas, October 13, 1972, 5th grade