Douglas Edward Epps
March 8, 1955 – Oct. 21, 2021
Douglas Epps passed early in the morning of Oct. 21, 2021, while surrounded by his loving wife Laurel and two daughters, Jessica and Lisa. The extreme pain from his Metastatic Prostate Cancer was finally released. He was a kind and gentle man, with a great sense of humor, who was dearly loved by his family and friends. Because he was enrolled in Life Alaska Donor Services, two blind individuals are able to see again with his ‘pristine’ corneas.
He was born in Pasadena, California and lived in West Covina and Huntington Beach, California while growing up. He graduated from Edgewood High School in West Covina and got his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from West Coast University.
Doug worked for many engineering companies in Southern California and ended that career as Director of Engineering and Chief Technologist for Gyyr, Inc. in 1999. He was fortunate to travel around the world for work and loved visiting Japan, where he enjoyed eating lots of sushi! When in New York City, Doug was able to catch Broadway shows. He saw “Les Miserables” at least five times and surprised his kids by taking them to see it at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles! It was our family’s favorite musical! Doug was always active in his kids lives: going on skiing vacations, learning Taekwondo together and refereeing soccer.
He loved flying and took a leap of faith by becoming a Certificated Flight Instructor, giving instruction in single and multi-engine aircraft at Aviation West Flight School in Long Beach, California. His goal was to log enough hours to get hired by an airline. But, in the summer of 2000, Doug and Laurel decided to come to Alaska and fell in love! They never returned to their old life in Southern California! He got his floatplane rating that summer and started his first piloting job at Smokey Bay Air in Homer, Alaska. Doug felt a calling to the freedom of the skies and that passion led him to a career in aviation that took him to some of the most wild places in Alaska, working for several companies and eventually the FAA.
While living in Homer, Doug was introduced to Zimbabwean-style Marimba Music while attending a concert at Alice’s Champagne Palace in 2003. The music touched his heart and he began playing with one of the five Zimbabwean-style Marimba Bands in town.
In 2007, Doug and Laurel took another leap of faith and decided to leave Alaska to create a documentary movie about how Zimbabwean music came to North America and was continuing to spread. They called it “Soul Resonance” because the music resonated with their souls. They produced, filmed, edited and directed it themselves and it was completed in 2012. It was previewed at the Homer Documentary Film Festival in September 2011.
During that time, they moved to Pagosa Springs, Colorado from 2009 until 2013. Doug was also a part time flight instructor and member of a flying club and loved skiing at the Wolf Creek Ski Area near by.
They moved to Anchorage in 2013, after flying flight seeing and bear viewing trips in Homer with Steller Air Service and Alaska Bear Adventures/Kbay Air during the summers of 2011, 2012 and 2013. He also had two brief stints in 2012 and 2013 flying Twin Otters around Deadhorse, Alaska, and a King Air 200 for a medevac service servicing Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage. They also started the first Zimbabwean-style marimba school in 2013, and Doug personally taught many people in Anchorage to play.
Doug loved flying, skiing, music, playing marimba, gardening and being with friends and family. He was an awesome cook and enjoyed healthy living.
Doug is survived by his loving wife and soulmate Laurel of 36 years and his three children, Jessica L. Epps McAfee, Jason D. Epps and Lisa P. McCreary Christopher. He also had four wonderful grandchildren, Connor, Charlie, Soren and Noah that he loved dearly.
A Celebration of his Life is planned for the summer of 2022, when he can be surrounded by friends and family and the Marimba music he loved.