Home > Life > Farewell, Doug Bashaw…

Farewell, Doug Bashaw…

A few years ago, a bald man walked up to me and said, “Do you know who I am?” Thank goodness for the relatively narrow realm of possibility, it being my 20th high school reunion. I said “Wait…I need to picture you with hair…”, followed by “DOUG???”

I just learned that my high school classmate, Doug Bashaw, died in a motorcycle accident this week, and I am suddenly flooded with memories of him. He and I are forever immortalized as the “Class Musicians” of 1982 at Fall Mt. Reg. H.S. in Langdon, NH, and that’s how I knew him. Doug was a percussionist and I was a trumpet player. The rhythm of my high school life was largely dictated by Doug, since the drummers resided just behind the trumpet section. If I craned my doug_meneck I could catch somebody down at the other end playing the bass drum but for the most part the percussion section was a mystery. Yet I always knew when Doug was playing the tympani behind me because it was flawless.

I have a memory of Doug playing the rudiments on the snare drum for a music class test. The younger drummers could only wonder at his humble performance as I watched from across the room, mesmerized. At heart, Doug was much more of a set player, a rocker, but his formal technique was amazing. When I talked to him at the reunion he said that he had been playing in a group up in the Claremont area and I remember being envious. I went off to school to learn to be a music teacher and ended up having the love of music drained out of me. Doug, however, just went out and played. How I coveted his pure love of making music and I realized how much of him I had missed out on. He could have been very good for me if I’d had the courage at the time to get to know him.

My other major memory was talking to him at one of our graduation parties. After 4 years together in school, it was the first time he and I had ever really talked outside of the band room. Mostly we just passed each other in the hall and he would flash me that chipmunk smile. I don’t remember what we said — we might have been a little tipsy 🙂 — but I know that I walked away from that conversation with an empty space in me filled. I don’t doubt that many of us have stories like this — people who might have played very different roles in our lives but were there at the wrong time.

That hair-free man I talked to in 2002 was the very same guy I’d talked to years before… huge heart, great passion for his art… I am saddened this day to think that that’s all I ever knew about him, but I think, too, that that’s all I need to know…

Be well, Doug… I am honored and privileged to have known you. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me because I wasn’t nearly as confident as I might have seemed. You, indeed, were the star….

Categories: Life
    August 9, 2008 at 12:40 pm


  2. Chris Lillie
    August 10, 2008 at 1:06 am

    The great Doug Bashaw! The guy who always made you smile even on your worst day. He was kind and generous and would give you the shirt of his back even if it was all he had. Doug I am going to miss sharing stories of kids, family, and the bumps of life with you! Doug was the guy that would play or do sound for any benefit he was happy to help out. He loved his family, friends and being on stage. I am proud to call you my friend and there is a hole in my heart. I miss you bud and will forever remember you.

    Be well my friend and we will see you again.

  3. Tammy Vittum
    August 10, 2008 at 1:07 am

    What great memories of Doug. He was a great guy – always smiling – always sincere. I remember all of the times when we would try to figure out exactly how we are related. We just called ourselves cousins – close enough! Our hearts go out to his family and everyone who knew him. He will be missed.

  4. August 12, 2008 at 3:48 am

    I miss Doug. This is a huge loss for not only everyone who knew him, but the local music community as well.

    Please look for my tribute to Doug in next week’s Message For The Week and The Eagle Times.

    Rock on Dougie, you will never be forgotten

  5. Jay Emery
    August 12, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    Doug, I will miss you my friend. Everytime they play collective soul my heart bleeds. Bonnie and I will never forget your smile.

    Jay emery

  6. August 13, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Ellen, Thank you for your email. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to Doug’s family and friends. Doug’s smile and humor is what I remember best.

    I want to add that I appreciate what was mentioned about helmet safety in his obituary. That shows his family’s strength and is a good reminder for us all.

  7. Ted Kinson
    August 14, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    Ellen, This is the first time I have ever read your blog. Truly wonderful statement to immortalize a shared friend. When I looked down Main Street in little Charlestown yesterday and viewed the long line of people there to pay their respects to Doug, I was in awe. He touched so many lives and will be missed by all of them. Thanks again Ellen.

  8. August 15, 2008 at 9:51 pm


    What can I say that you and those who spoke at Doug’s memorial haven’t already? Thanks for sharing this with all of us. Doug’s mother mentioned your site to me at the memorial and I can see why she was moved. Art Bates, Rod Shroeder, and several others gave moving recounts of a life with one of the most wonderful people I’ll probably ever know! I don’t personally know a person who could bring together so many people purely because he touched their lives. I am in awe and humbled by how such a “simple man” could have such an impact on so many! I’ve never been so moved by the loss of a friend! Rock on Dougie!

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