OHRN, Douglas Ralph
June 9, 1951 – January 17, 2022″The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.”

~Edward Abbey; Seconded by Doug Ohrn

Doug loved the outdoors. He hiked and climbed mountains, trekked through deserts, canoed and kayaked on rivers and lakes, and camped by the ocean on many sea kayaking adventures. Backcountry, cross-country, and downhill skiing were his mainstays. A day spent in our beautiful Rockies was a source of deep enjoyment and satisfaction for him. But in his early sixties, another siren called Doug’s name. The ocean, with its steady waves, tempted him. He taught himself to paddleboard surf, using a board the locals in Maui referred to as The Titanic. (It was huge!) With his wife, Cathy, he explored underwater landscapes through snorkeling and scuba diving.

Somewhere along the line, Doug did acquire some education. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree. He also earned a Master of Landscape Architecturedegree from Utah State University in Logan, Utah. Why Utah? It would be an adventure-and oh, yes, it was close to lots of outdoor recreation possibilities. To pay for his outdoor pursuits, Doug worked as a warden in Banff National Park and as a planner with the City of Calgary and the Government of Alberta.

Doug’s passion for and obsession with trains came to light as a toddler. He was alone in his bedroom, equipped with a pen. His mother thought he’d been quiet for a long time and went to check on him. He had drawn pictures of trains and railroad tracks all around the room. The room had to be repainted.

As an adult, a pattern of choosing destinations for road trips or ski trips emerged. A ski buddy of Doug’s began to realize that every ski hill he suggested they visit was also near a major train-watching junction. The same happened with vacations he planned with Cathy. Why else would one go to Fostoria, Ohio? (Apologies to any Fostorians reading this, and to all those addicted to trains.)

In his “down” time, Doug played in the garage. He spent many hours building and repairing things. He designed and built a large bird-feeding station, modifying and improving it year after year. Any further improvements would have required a building permit from the city. He also spent hours sanding and re-sanding his prized paddleboard.

Doug believed in giving back. He volunteered with a number of outdoor groups;
clearing trails in Kananaskis Country, moving snow on the cross-country ski tracks in Confederation Park, and picking up garbage from riverbanks. He and Cathy volunteered with Meals on Wheels.

Stage 4 lung cancer cut Doug’s lifeshort. He was diagnosed in October.

Doug leaves a big hole in the lives of many people. Mourning him are his wife, Cathy Little; his mother, Mary from Edmonton; his sister, Susan from Vancouver; his sister, Jocelyn from Edmonton; and his nephew, Michael (Carleigh) from Toronto. Doug was predeceased by his father, Ralph and two infant brothers, Neville and Timmy. He was also loved by aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as by Cathy’s family and many friends in Alberta, and his “Utah Buddies” from his time at university there.

A long-time friend described Doug as such a private and quiet fellow, always so gentle and understated. In lieu of a memorial service, Doug’s wife and family ask that you do as he would do-go outside, hike along a mountain trail, paddle a river, or just look up at the night sky and marvel at the wonder of our world.


If desired, donations can be made to the Avalanche Control Centre or any cancer organization, as those initiatives were meaningful to Doug. His loving wife, Cathy, invites you to visit www.choicememorial.com to share your stories, photos and memories of Doug.

“The mountains are calling and I must go!” -John Muir