We regret to announce the death of our dad, grandfather and great-grandfather, Commodore Douglas Rainsford Learoyd II, CMM, CD, who passed away in Edmonton on March 12, 2022, at the age of 96.
Doug was smart, warm, and loving with a wonderful sense of humour that occasionally pushed the envelope – to the delight and consternation of his children Douglas, Debbie, Shelley (Jim), all of Edmonton, and Julie (Gerald) of Albuquerque, NM. He adored his 10 grandchildren – Douglas, Jaclyn (Ryan), Stefan, Alexandra, Kimberly (Andrew), Lauren (Lee), Jason, Mark (Christine), Andrew (Alexandria) and Zachary (Samantha) – and great-grandchildren Everly, Hazel, Jakob, Derek, Tyler, Lior, and Erica. Doug was predeceased by his wife Joyce (Roberts) and his sisters, Judy, and Sally.
Doug was Navy to the core. He joined the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve as an Ordinary Seaman in January 1944 and served in River class frigate HMCS Poundmaker (CEG8), which saw duty in late 1944 until the end of the Second World War as a mid-ocean escort for North Atlantic convoys. His sonar duty station, listening for enemy submarines, permanently affected his hearing, a limitation he later mischievously and selectively applied (as needed).
After the war, Doug was appointed an Acting Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve in 1949 and by 1961 had attained the rank of Lieutenant-Commander RCN(R). He served in HMCS Malahat as Executive Officer and was promoted to Commander in 1966. He became Commanding Officer at HMCS Discovery in Vancouver in January 1968. Doug was appointed Captain in 1970, and later the same year became Commodore (NR). He subsequently served as Senior Naval Reserve Advisor to Commander Maritime Command. His distinguished career also included an appointment as Naval Aide-de-Camp to Governor General Roland Michener. In June 1975, Doug earned the honour Commander of Military Merit in acknowledgement of outstanding meritorious service.
Doug was born in Anyox, BC on June 21, 1925, to Dr. Douglas and Mrs. Nora Learoyd. Anyox is a ghost town now but was then home to a large copper mining operation; Doug’s father was the company town’s physician.
After the war, he worked for Standard Oil in Vancouver while earning a political science degree at the University of British Columbia, with the goal of becoming a diplomat. While serving as a staff officer in HMCS Malahat in Victoria in 1952, he met Joyce, who shared his love of sailing. They were married in Victoria in November 1953.
Doug and Joyce moved to Vancouver in 1956; he worked in marketing for Standard Oil before joining Travelers insurance company in 1957. Ten years later, he joined the federal Public Service Commission where his regional director, a former naval officer, gave him significant latitude to attend to his duties as CO Discovery. Doug called that appointment the highlight of his naval career, especially hosting many foreign naval visitors who put into Vancouver.
In June 1973, the family moved to Edmonton where Doug had accepted a promotion to regional director for the Public Service Commission, overseeing human resources for federal departments in Alberta, the Yukon, and Northwest Territories. Doug later joined the Alberta government under an executive exchange program and served as director of personnel for the provincial Transportation Department until his retirement in 1992.
Doug was an avid reader with a special affection for military history. He loved sailing, skiing, water skiing, golfing, power boating and travelling. He cherished summer trips to the Okanagan with his family, where they tented by the lake and spent sunny days on the water.
Doug was always attentive to his family’s needs, and lovingly took special care of Joyce as her health declined before her passing in April 2018.
Cremation has taken place. No flowers, at the family’s request. Donations in memory of Commodore Douglas Rainsford Learoyd II, CMM, CD, can be made to The War Amps Canada.
Serenity Funeral Service – South
780 450 0101