Douglas B. Vaden
Douglas Burl Vaden, a resident of Sallisaw, Oklahoma, passed away on November 13, 2017 in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. He was born in Andrews, Texas on March 27, 1918. During the great depression his family relocated to Klamath Falls, Oregon. He was inducted into the Army on October 12, 1943. He received his training at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma along with Warren Spann. That year, Camp Gruber won the all Army baseball championship. Following basic training, he was assigned to the 276th Engineer Combat Battalion and saw action specifically in the Ardennes, during the Battle of the Bulge and at Remagen. On March 7, 1945, the Ludendorf Bridge was captured intact. The 276th was assigned to maintaining the bridge while infantry and armored divisions crossed the Rhine into Germany. This crossing led to the end of WWII a few weeks later. He received a Bronze Star, an European, African, Middle Eastern Service Medal along with a Good Conduct Medal for his service in WWII.
After returning from overseas and being discharged, he joined the U.S. Air Force Signal Corp and was assigned to Alaska. He received an honorable discharge as a T/Sgt. from the Air Force on November 22, 1950. During his Air Force enlistment, he and his family had established a homestead in Wasilla, Alaska. He started a successful Plumbing and Heating business in Anchorage. In the mid-1960s, he graduated from Alaska Methodist University with a teaching degree. After a year of teaching, he decided his calling was big game guiding. He established a hunting/guide service in the Wrangell Mountains, at the headwaters of the White river and obtained his private pilot’s license. For the next 20 years he was a master big game guide in Alaska.
He competed in 17 Golden Games, the last of which was held in May of 2017. He competed in 9-ball pool, boccia, air rifle and shuffleboard winning three gold medals. He was barred from competing in shotput in 2017 due to his age.
For the last 15 years, he has resided in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. He maintained an independent life until he was 98 when he finally moved into an assisted living community.
He was preceded in death by his mother Lydia Vaden, father Henry Samuel Vaden, brothers Ralph and Leroy, sister Essie, and daughter Virginia. He is survived by sons James of Las Vegas, Thomas of Nome, daughters Sheila Beth of Wasilla, Cynthia of Kansas City and Sylvia of Phoenix, Arizona.