A Lifelong Entertainer

At 95 some would be slowing down, but that’s not Doug Williams’ style. He might be a hospice patient but that doesn’t mean he is going to stop doing what he loves: karaoke.

“I’d be lost without karaoke,” he said.

“It’s definitely your thing,” laughed Mary Wolfe, one of his daughters who is with her dad six days a week. He spends four days a week at her home, which Doug helped build, and three nights at his room at Fox Run, where she stays a couple nights a week. One of her brothers stays with him the seventh day.

This isn’t Doug’s first hospice stay though. He tried hospice back in January, but just kept on getting better. And he was finally discharged before going back on hospice in November.

Doug (center) with two of his daughters, Mary Wolfe (left)
and Nancy Ray. He sings karaoke every weekend.
When he isn’t at home Doug, who has congestive heart failure, can be found at the VFW or American Legion every weekend with his family. Sometimes he sings with his brothers and sister, who call themselves the Wild Willies. Other times he sings with one of his kids. Or he’s perfectly content singing solo.

“I just think it’s a lot of fun,” Doug said.

Doug can be heard singing everything from Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” to “The Old Rugged Cross,” the latter of which he often closes with.

He’s always loved to sing but that love was taken to new heights when he was overseas in the Army during World War II.

Before Doug joined the Army, where he went from private to sergeant in three-and-a-half years, he was hit in the eye with the end of a broomstick and lost most of the vision in his right eye.

“God works in strange ways,” he said.

Because of this he wasn’t sent to the frontlines since, as he put it, “You needed two good eyes for that.”

So instead he started out as the baker for his company, where he got to lift the men’s spirits by making dessert. Then he became the entertainment director of the enlisted men’s club, where his love for singing and entertainment flourished.

Doug served in the Army for almost four
years during World War II.
When Doug first got the title he was pretty apprehensive about it, but he said you learn pretty quickly how to do something when you have to. He started looking for entertainment for the company, which he often did by seeing local shows he heard about via word-of-mouth. Sometimes the performers were good, other times they were so bad he had to do a little performing himself.

Doug said the biggest group he had to perform in front of was about 300 people, which would be intimidating for some, but Doug grew up one of 11 kids. He was used to a big crowd.

“They had to have someone for entertainment and sometimes I was the best they could get,” he laughed.

Doug’s crowds at karaoke might not be quite as big, but he still loves it. In fact, he’ll perform just about everywhere, including a hospital bed.

About a year-and-a-half ago he was in the hospital and Mary said he had the party room, with people constantly coming in and out because they were under the impression that he was going to pass in a few days.

“About the third day or so he said to me, ‘When am I going to die? Cause I’m getting tired,’” Mary explained. “I said, ‘Dad, it could be a couple days to a couple months.’ He said, ‘Well, then I’m taking a nap.’”

Which is exactly what he did after our interview ended. He needed to rest up before another weekend of karaoke.

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