Tavistock Residents Missing the Smile and the Wave

  • Feature   Thu, Jun 9th, 2022   Lee Griffi
Doug Haveron was well known around Tavistock.

Doug Haveron was well known around Tavistock.

By Lee Griffi
There is something missing from the Tavistock landscape these days, or rather, someone. You don’t know his story. You don’t know where he came from or how he got here. You may not even know his name. But almost all of us saw the gentleman sitting on his scooter outside the former Carnegie Library, waving at every car that drove by.
Doug Haveron was only 69 years of age when lung cancer took his life. Ironically, he volunteered for the Canadian Cancer Society when he lived in Guelph a number of years ago. He was married twice, had two sons and six grandchildren. “He saw them as much as he could. No one really saw anyone during COVID, but one son lives in Strathroy and one in St. Thomas,” says his mother, Nora Haveron, who resides in Tavistock.
Doug’s cancer diagnosis snuck up on him, and by the time he knew, it was too late. “He didn’t know he had cancer. He had COPD and was on oxygen and made a trip to the breathing clinic here in town, and he found out his lungs were full of it. No one ever caught it, and there was nothing they could do for him.” Doug went into hospital on February 13 of this year, his birthday, and passed away at a hospice just a week later and because of the pandemic, his family could not be at his side. “Nobody could be with him or anything. I was able to talk to him over the phone, but that’s all we could do. Pretty hard.”
Doug had a tremendous amount of what could be called bad luck when it came to his health. “He was a workaholic and had a stroke when he was about 57. He couldn’t drive after that, and he had major back surgery and couldn’t go back to work. He worked at a mushroom composting plan on the machinery in Ingersoll,” adds Nora.
“He was the 13th grandchild in the family, and he was born on Friday the 13th.”
Word of Doug’s death spread around Tavistock recently, and many residents left notes on the ‘People of Tavistock’ Facebook page, much to the delight of Nora and his sister Cathy Sippel. “I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t a part of that page, and I don’t go on Facebook a lot, but my grandson’s wife was telling me about all the comments, and then I saw it for myself. It made me feel very good. He had a lot of friends, and so many people have said they would just sit and talk with him. He knew way more people than I thought he did because he never talked about it.”
Doug was able to purchase a scooter once he was on disability, and as a result, he was able to continue with the hobby he loved. “He was a great photographer. He had a really nice camera, and he was gone in the summer for hours on his scooter taking pictures. He had so many albums of birds and wildlife. He was very interested in that. He just had the eye to capture something.” Nora says one picture that stands out to her is four deer on the side of the road where he was able to catch an incredible moment. “When he stopped, they all turned and looked at him at the same time, and he was able to get it.” Doug’s grandson is interested in photography, and the camera has been left to him.
The Haveron family has had its fair share of tragedy. Doug’s dad died in 1991 of an inoperable brain tumour right after he retired from the OPP, and Nora’s second husband passed away about 12 years ago. No parent wants to live through one of their children dying before they do, and Nora admits it has been difficult. “This isn’t the way things are to go in life. This kind of hit me pretty hard. We were very close. He would phone me every morning to see how I was doing. One thing he never, ever did was complain about being sick, and he was sick. He always had a smile on his face and never said a bad word about anyone.”
Now you know a little bit more about the man sitting on his scooter who just liked to be outside and wave at us with a big smile on his face. Doug mattered, and he is missed.