Remembering Doug: A Memorial Program

My grandparents, Melmae and Doug Vicary.
One year ago, my grandfather passed away. It was no surprise, and even a bit of a relief that he was no longer suffering, but it’s always tough to say goodbye. Amidst the grieving, the not-small production of putting on a memorial service falls to the family. Cathartic, I suppose, to have a task and to do the work of remembering. The whole family pitched in and my job, naturally, was to design the memorial programs.

I quickly set to work to put together a pleasing and important account of my grandfather’s life. He had been a residential architect in Seattle for his entire career, building countless homes and apartment buildings in the area. (With his red hair, I always think of my grandfather when reading Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.) 

Desiring some visual interest for inside of the program cover, I pulled inspiration from a cinder block pattern from one of his designs that I thought was interesting and indicative of his career in the 1960s, and used it on the inside cover of the booklet.

I compiled photos from the family, as well as biographical information and personal anecdotes. 

In my mind, I kept going back to something my grandparents always said when surrounded by their family: “Look what we started.” Referring of course to the family they created together. Including my grandfather’s most cherished legacy became my focus, and I felt that a family tree was just the thing to do that.

As I started putting the family tree together, I decided that the memorial programs would be a keepsake for my family, so I wanted to add details that my family would enjoy and reference beyond that day. So the historian in me set to work collecting every birthday and wedding date to include as well.

Biographical pages for the memorial program with photographs and news clippings.

Family Tree
After the memorial service, my grandmother returned home, alone. She and my grandfather both suffered from dementia, so it wasn’t long before she forgot all about the day's event. She just knew she felt sad, and wondered where her husband was.  

Later that evening, she called my mother, Miriam, as she usually does.  She said, “Oh, Miriam! I just found the most wonderful book. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s all about your dad, it has everything about our life in it. It is just wonderful.”  

 Melmae and Doug, on a cruise to Greece.