In Memory of




Obituary for George Douglas Heatherington

George Douglas Heatherington

With deep sadness we announce the peaceful passing of George Douglas Heatherington on Thursday, November 30, 2023, in his 78th year. Doug was the beloved husband of Mary Jane, father of Alexis (Peter) and Sheldon, and loved grandfather of Ginger and Quinn. Brother of Karen (Murray), Brenda, Shelley (Ron), and Robyn (Kevin) and uncle to many nieces and nephews. His family and friends will dearly miss Doug.

During his long career in the horse industry, Doug embraced every area of equestrian life, coaching riders of all ages and abilities and training horses and ponies to reach their sporting potential in the hunter and jumper disciplines. He had a lifelong passion for horses, and for anyone who shared his enthusiasm, he was generous with his insight. His interest in horses began when, as a boy, he had a little barn with his ponies, Dan and Beauty, behind the family home in Beverley.

Beginning as a teenager and continuing on and off for many decades, Doug worked with his father George, building houses. The work instilled in him a lifelong appreciation for carpentry and woodworking. This past July, Doug took his granddaughters on a driving tour of houses he had built in the area, entertaining them with colourful stories of the characters he met and the challenges with each project.

Although they grew up in the same small village, Jane only knew Doug as the mischievous boy who sat behind her cousin Nancy in school, dipping her pigtails in his inkwell. That all changed on Thanksgiving weekend in 1966. Jane was at Rockton Fair watching two young cowboys blaze through their run of a buddy barrel pick-up race. As the riders galloped past the grandstand toward the finish line, their saddle suddenly turned, dumping both young men unceremoniously in the dirt. They had forgotten to check the girth. Those dusty cowboys were Doug and his cousin, Brian Gibson.

It was Jane who wooed Doug away from Stetson hats and western saddles to the English riding discipline, and he loved nothing more than watching show jumpers on a sunny afternoon. Still, throughout his life, he remained a cowboy at heart, never taking life too seriously. An incorrigible tease, if Doug took a shine to you, you were sure to be one of his victims, dishing out zingers with a glint in his eye and that trademark dimpled smile.

A celebration of Doug’s life will take place in the Spring. Those wishing to contribute in his memory may donate to: The Wild Horses of Alberta or Lisaard & Innisfree Hospice