Lost Password

Yale menu

Daily News

Douglas Cragg Metcalf

Died: December 28, 2006

Douglas C. Metcalf started at Yale with the class of 1965 but earned his degree and affiliated with 1966. Having prepared for Yale in Pennington, New Jersey, he entered Yale with the class of 1965, living at 36 Vanderbilt Hall. He then transferred to and graduated with the class of 1966, graduating with a B.A. in Engineering.

After graduating, Doug joined the Navy, serving on nuclear submarines. “I remember Doug as a quiet person with a strong sense of purpose and integrity,” wrote Joe Freeman. “It was a very special honor for him to be accepted and serve in the Submarine Corps right in the middle of our cold war with the Soviets. Only now do we know of the strains and pressures these men were under in their long secret underwater missions. He had to be a tough cookie to survive those voyages.”

It was Joe who got Doug “hooked” on the banjo and the Morgan: “I had a banjo at Yale and played it. And we liked to go to hootenannies. The Morgan had been my long time dream. I guess Doug caught the same bug after I gave him a ride or two in mine — usually at night, when we’d drive into the Litchfield Hills — and ended up getting at least one later in his life.”

Henry Soper writes: “Doug always had an insatiable taste for knowledge, not necessarily that handed out in class. Sunday mornings were for the New York Times crossword puzzle, and he and I would attack it with a vengeance. When we were too tired during the week to think, we played cribbage. Tuesday evenings, I think it was, was “The Fugitive.” When I saw him last, about a year before he died, he had that same thirst for knowledge. He was quite sick, but you could hardly tell from his conversation.”

Dean Weidner admired Doug’s love of and care for language and its meanings: “Doug’s approach to life and his analysis of it was novel for our time. He was a deconstructionist before that term was popularized, always breaking down concepts and theories to their basic components, and then evaluating them from his fresh perspective. He was fiercely independent.”

Doug was, to Rob van Leeuwen, first and foremost an always welcoming and loyal friend. They had countless long conversations, which would evolve from any trivial matter into an exchange of reflections on deeper, larger issues of our time. An Anglophile, he particularly liked to talk with Rob’s wife, Richenda, who was born and raised in England. His keen sense of the integrity of language translated easily into an equally strong sense of the integrity of public and private life. In an e-mail to Rob Doug wrote: “If you have time … listen to Tony Blair’s speech … It made me feel embarrassed about our political leadership’s failure to use the English language in an articulate manner. I await your verdict.”

Doug loved his family — his brother Bill, his sisters Judith and Betsy — and delighted in the company of his nieces and nephews.