Douglas's Story

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Douglas Gustav Engelhardt departed this world on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 in Paducah. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado on April 27, 1927 the son of Gustav and Connie Engelhardt.

He is survived by four children: Son Stephen Douglas Engelhardt (Diane) of Bloomsburg, PA; Son Kurt David Engelhardt of Paducah; (Peggy); Daughter Kyna Engelhardt Ransom (Mark) of Sheridan, Colorado; Daughter Leslie Robyn Levey (Alan) of Little Silver, New Jersey.

Doug is remembered fondly by his grandchildren: Korrie Purcell (Brian), Tim Engelhardt (Maria), Mica Mahler (John), Mary Peterson (Eric), Becky Eckenrode (Keith), Brian Engelhardt (Kristen), Brian Diehl, Caitlin Cacioppo (Steve), Victoria Engelhardt, Cassidy Engelhardt (Kolt), and Tatiana Levey.

Bringing additional joy into his life were Doug's great-grandchildren: Mason Purcell, Jacob Watson, Bobby Joe Purcell, Genevieve Engelhardt, Elijah Peterson and Hudson Eckenrode.

Doug is also survived by his niece Susan Luchs and nephew John Shifflet as well as his sister-in-law Jean Cutlip and her husband Fred Cutlip.

Douglas and his wife Charlotte moved to Paducah, in 1993 to retire and enjoy life near family in western Kentucky.

Professor Douglas Engelhardt retired from teaching as a member of the faculty at the University Of Hawaii in Honolulu at the end of the school year in 1993. Doug began teaching in the Illinois Public Schools in 1949 as well as in Kearney, Nebraska, and Ames, Iowa. The family moved to Pennsylvania where Doug became the Orchestra Director at Mansfield State College. He continued his education and the family moved to Belmont, Massachusetts as Doug worked on his Doctorate in Music at Boston University. The Engelhardt family then relocated to Rapid City, South Dakota where Doug became the Supervisor of Music for the Rapid City Public School System.

In 1968 he accepted a position at Morehead State University in Morehead. Later he taught at the University of Wyoming in Laramie before moving to Hawaii in 1979.

He received his M. M. E. from Drake University in 1960 and a D. M. A. from Boston University in 1974. While at University of Hawaii-Manoa he served as Director of the Honolulu Symphony Chorus and the Hawaii Opera Theatre Chorus from 1981 to 1986. He also served as Undergraduate Chairman in the Music Department.

Doug was an active string player beginning violin lessons at the age of six. His father Gustav, a German immigrant had brought an old fiddle from Europe, but it was too big for a six year old. Eventually he was persuaded to buy a violin suitable in size for a child. In later years Doug switched to viola and has played solo and chamber music recitals on both violin and viola until arthritis ended his playing career.

Doug served in the United States Army near the end of WW II, becoming a Staff Sergeant while serving in France and Spain. Doug was recently recognized as a sixty-five year member of the Mason's, Bloomington, Illinois Lodge No. 43.

His snowy-white hair and beard are the first thing one noticed about Doug: students in his classes often remarked on his resemblance to Santa Claus. That resemblance led to a role that made his face known in Japan and across parts of Asia. While swimming at the beach in Honolulu he was approached by a talent agent and after auditioning for the role of Captain Santa, was flown to Japan. The store in Japan already had a carved wood caricature that looked very similar to Doug. As an island, Santa arrives by ship, so Doug became "Captain Santa" and appeared in TV commercials and print ads in Japan.

Funeral services were 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 at Milner & Orr Funeral Home of Paducah with Rev. Jamie Lee and Rev. Stephen Engelhardt officiating. Burial will follow at Brooks Memorial Park Cemetery.

Visitation was held from 10:00 a.m. until the service time at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 at Milner & Orr Funeral Home of Paducah.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the Alzheimer's Association at alz.org.

You may leave a message of condolence or light a candle at milnerandorr.com
Published on December 7, 2016
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