Douglas Hemmings, 64, of North Wolcott died unexpectedly on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.
A loving husband, father, and grampy of two grandsons, he leaves a big hole in the hearts of all who loved him.
Doug was born March 2, 1954, in Plainfield, N.J., son of Ernest T. and Kathryn B. Hemmings. He spent his formative years in New Jersey, but his family had a very long history with the Newbury-Bradford area, and his parents bought and restored a house in West Newbury, Vt.
Doug moved to Vermont in 1972, graduated from Oxbow High School in 1973 and went on to college. Although his father’s illness and family obligations cut short his college experience, Doug was a wholehearted believer in a lifetime of learning and he continued his education, both in his chosen career field and other interests.
He met Debbie and her 2-year-old son Jonathan in 1975, and they became a family soon thereafter. They started the Rubber Bubbles Balloon Co. in 1978 and toured New England and New York, selling helium balloons for celebrations and music festivals, often dressed as clowns. The concession business morphed into the current and now well-established Rubber Bubbles Balloon & Party Supply Store.
After many years building the business, Doug retired the clown makeup to pursue another love — advocating for low-income Vermonters, as his family had been among them. He worked for Head Start, AmeriCorps and Community Action (now called Capstone); his most recent position was resident coordinator of Highgate Apartments in Barre.
He introduced many important programs to the residents, such as Gardens for Learning, Good Food-Good Medicine, Funnery (Shakespeare for Kids), Race to Read and CLiF, just to name a few. He was an avid reader and gifted writer. Doug will be remembered for his quick wit and his kind and compassionate spirit. He had a book in progress in his head, which he has taken to heaven.
Doug’s parents died earlier, as did his sister and her husband, Art and Carol Like; and his brother, Thomas Hemmings.
Survivors include his wife, Debbie; son Jonathan and wife, Corynn; two grandsons, Matthew and Noah Hemmings; mother-in-law Flo Hartman; older brother Bruce Allen Hemmings; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, Doug would be very happy if everyone would take the time to look up on YouTube “Playing for Change” and get a concept of its mission. He always felt music could bring the world together.
A celebration of Doug’s life will be held at the Barre Elks Club from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1.
The Elmwood-Meunier Funeral Home assisted the family.