11/28/2008

Great Hero Doug Hoxworth Passes Away.


Stephen "Doug" Hoxworth, 61, died Nov. 13, 2008, at his Wasilla, Alaska home.

No local services were planned. His cremated remains are to be scattered at Alexander Creek and in the Wenatchee/Yakima area of Washington state.

A 2006 Seattle Times Article,
"A Life That Beats The Odds," told the incredible story of Doug Hoxworth, "believed to be the fifth-longest survivor in the world of a combined heart and lung transplant, a procedure that is rarely performed anymore."

On May 14, 1986, Doug received the heart and lungs of 18-year-old Michael Fencl who had died the previous day in Bakersfield, California. Michael was a friend of Waist High, and a great many others.

Doug was born May 30, 1947, in Yakima. He came to Alaska in the summer of 1947, and graduated from East High School in 1965. He had worked at Yukon Office Supply and V.F. Grace in Anchorage, and Coopervision/Alcon Laboratories in Seattle. He had also resided in Georgetown, Calif., and Wenatchee, Wash. He retired from Coopervision in 1985.

His family wrote: "He lived an extraordinary existence as the 34th heart and lung transplant recipient at Stanford Medical Center. He passed away this month after living 22 full years with organs that were generously donated from Michael Fencl by his mother, Marion. Pre-transplant, Doug and his wife lived and worked in Alaska, Washington and California. Post-transplant, Doug lived his life to the fullest, golfing, fishing, speaking on behalf of organ transplants, and spending time with friends and relatives.

"Everyone's days are limited, but Doug and his family were acutely aware that he was living on borrowed time. He had defied all odds by outliving his 6-month life expectancy and surviving a still-experimental transplant. After the surgery, he recovered quickly and lived more than 15 healthy, active years. In that time, he became a stay-at-home father to his two young daughters, guided his teenage daughters through high school, helped his parents through terminal illnesses, watched his daughters marry, established close relationships with his sons-in-law, watched six grandchildren come into the world, traveled and reduced his golf handicap. He always surprised everyone with his positive attitude and seemingly excellent health.

"Doug was a fighter. When his health started deteriorating a few years ago, he battled illness after illness. In 2005, Doug and his wife, Susan, moved back to Alaska to get better care for him. Each time he became ill, the family braced itself for the end. However, Doug continued to stubbornly fight for his life. Appropriately, he was referred to as 'the cockroach' and 'the terminator.'

"After defying death for so many years, Doug's body gave up on Nov. 13. He had achieved his goal of living until November 7, his 38th wedding anniversary with Susan. Doug always achieved his goals. His inability to be defeated by illness and continual defiance of a death sentence were inspirational. Doug is already greatly missed."

Survivors are his wife, Susan of Wasilla; daughters and sons-in-law, Stacey of LaMesa, Calif.; Lisa and Todd Carpenter of Wasilla; Mary and Jerry Gatewood of Bellevue, Wash.; Sara Kalahar and Joel Yoakum of Wenatchee, Wash.; and Katy and Dustin Boreson of Seattle; son-in-law and mate, Kory Kalahar and Haylee Holland of Wenatchee; grandchildren, Emma, MacKenzie and Carson Kalahar of Wenatchee; and Faith, Isabel and Sophia Carpenter of Wasilla; sisters and their spouses, Nancy and Gary Jones of Anchorage; Linda Hoxworth of Wasilla; and Carol and Wayne Turner of Ellensburg, Wash.; brother and his spouse, Robert and Gail Hoxworth of Las Vegas, Nev.; honorary brother and spouse, Michael and Susan Lavin of Anchorage; nephews, Curt, Chris H. and Chris S.; nieces, Carla, Amy, Emily, Kelly and Alissa; special friends, Joe and Mary Piaskowski; and Dave and Bonnie Faulk of Anchorage; Erik and Pam Larsen of Seattle; Andrew and Pat Vary of Brighton, England; Melody Celio of Las Angeles; Dick Celio of Winnemucca, Nev.; Dick, Dube and Craig of Georgetown, Calif.; Mike Peratrovich and Dave Wagner of Anchorage; Rick Kastle of Palmer; Don Walker of Wasilla; Jean and Howard Seaman of Lake of the Pines, Calif.; and Barbara Green of Wenatchee, Wash.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Curtis and Betty Hoxworth; father-in-law, Don Gillis, Sr.; sister, Jean Marie Hoxworth; beloved aunts and uncles, Fred and Cathryn, Claire and Alita, Lura, Bob and Bernadine, and Helen and Jack; several cousins; special friends, Mike Plimpton, Chris Butts, Kris Kolby, Patty and Joanne, Jim Bembrook, Tim Travers, Marvin Watson, Bill Piaskowski, Norm Bailey, Oz, and Galen Devore; and our apologies to any we may have forgotten to mention.

Memorial bequests may be made to any local humane society.


Photo:
Betty Udesen via The Seattle Times
Material: Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman