Goodbye to My Friend Doug
Doug Harrington, 74, longtime area pharmacy owner died last Friday, Oct. 25. I had known Doug since he was in his late twenties. We bonded and built a friendship that would last throughout his lifetime. Down this road I call life’s highway paths will cross with many individuals from all walks of life. Along the way you will make plenty of friends and some enemies. You are extremely fortunate if, at the end of the road, you have accumulated a handful of those rare friendships that knows no bonds. Someone you can truly count on to be in your corner regardless. That’s how it was with Doug and me. The exception being that I don’t believe Doug ever had an enemy. He was one of the most compassionate people I’ve known. He and W.T. Oliver were from the same mold, whenever they could help anyone they went out of their way to do so.
Doug was on the A&M track and diving team. He often spoke of those days. He said athletes weren’t treated equally. Football players got the best of it. He said often his friend, Aggie football player Bill Godwin, would come by nights wanting to take in a movie. Doug said he had to study while Bill had a tutor taking care of homework.
Doug always was a health nut, worked out regularly, took vitamins’ and supplements by the handful. He couldn’t understand why I didn’t do the same. He often preached to me about my health. While in his mid-twenties, Doug got thyroid cancer, several years later so did I. He would always ask, “When was the last time your had a blood test?” He was always monitoring my thyroid medicine, sincerely concerned.
Doug’s dad was Sen. D. Roy Harrington and when the senate was in session the senator’s family left Port Arthur and Doug and his sister attended school in Austin. He and attorney H.D. Pate attended school together. Pate on the football team, Doug on the track team. One day in Bridge City Doug saw this guy that looked familiar to him. It was H.D., who had just come to town to set up a law practice. Doug befriended him and despite a few spates, H.D. was his lawyer.
Doug and his wife Helen had known each other since the 5th grade. They raised two fine children together, Doug, Jr. and Dana. About the same time Phyl and I were raising our own family. We both had homes at the beach and doing what young families do. We enjoyed the family times we spent together.
Doug always liked toys, from airplanes, sail boats to mud buggies. Jimmy Conn, of Conn Furniture, kept Doug in debt. He would visit Helen and tell her she needed a particular piece of furniture and he would just add it to the bill. As long as Jimmy lived Doug paid him $100 a month. One day Jimmy came by to push some more furniture on them but Doug said first he must go for a ride in his new Dune Buggie. Doug drove them through muddy fields and ditches. When they returned Conn was covered with mud. His face and new suit were unrecognizable. Doug said maybe that will break him of loading them down with furniture. Jimmy sent Doug the cleaning bill and also a bill of $30 for his lost hat. Everyone who flew with Doug on his airplane has a story.
Doug loved having fun with friends. He and Dow Gene Anderson’s cattle exploits are hilarious. They once chased a big bull down Roundbunch and once a mad bull stomped Dow’s Stetson hat in the ground.
Back 40 years ago, a young pharmacist Carl Thibodeaux had been looking for a change and wanted to go into business. Doug became his partner and helped him open a pharmacy in Danny Brack’s grocery store on Western Ave. For the ribbon cutting they used a long chain of boudin. Tib later bought out Doug’s half and built a new store down the street. They remained friends. Doug dabbled in many businesses but his mainstay was Harrington’s Pharmacy in Bridge City. Over the years he knew most every family in town. He would often get up during the night, open the store and get medicine for a sick child.
After he and Helen split, Wilson Roberts introduced Doug to Regina, several years his junior. He brought her by our home to announce they would be married. I asked if they were going to move near the school house. Doug, who was sometimes a little slow to catch on to my garbage asked, “Why?” “So the kids can attend school,” I said. “Been there, done that,” Doug replied. About a year later he and Regina’s lovely daughter Britanie was born. Doug’s reason for moving to Spring was so Regina could be near her daughter after he was gone. He was that thoughtful.
He always raised some kind of stock, cattle, registered chickens and even some high priced, registered goats that he and Regina could raise together. It turned out she was allergic to goats. He gave his stock away.
One time Doug left Bridge City, sold his pharmacy and opened a barbecue restaurant in Woodland Park, Colorado. He built a nice home in the mountains, over the edge of the National Forest. He later sold the restaurant and let his sister Karol and husband Henry take over the home. After a short stay in Silsbee he wanted to come back to Bridge City. When Butch Johansson was killed by a buck deer, Doug bought the store back from the estate. One tradition Doug had at the store was friends getting together and eating raw oysters right out of a gallon bucket on Christmas Eve. After several years Doug suffered a stroke and decided it was time to hang it up. He sold out to Family Pharmacy.
Doug was embarrassed easily. I could make his face light up like a porch light in the red light district. I should be ashamed of the many tricks I played on him but I’m not. I truly loved the guy. I’ll miss my friend Doug. Service held Wednesday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m. God better lock those Angels up. Just kidding Doug. Rest in peace my friend.