I only made it several feet into the room of my first meeting with the Writers of the Mendocino Coast when Doug walked up to greet me. Later, I learned he made it a personal mission to welcome every visitor so they would feel included by our group. Several years down the road, after I joined the board, it became clear to me that he was the man-behind-the-scenes who kept us afloat. As Covid necessitated staying home, Doug stepped in to be Zoom host for monthly meetings, opening half an hour early and staying half an hour after closing to answer questions, chit-chat with members marooned by the pandemic, and encourage conversation about writing. Less visibly, he was our webmaster, newsletter editor, and answered WMC’s numerous emails. Because he understood he would need to step away, he committed countless hours to training several of us to cover just some of what he’d done quietly for the club for years. All of this was done in addition to daily writing of his own, which can be found at www.dougfortier.com.
Stories abound of visits Doug made to people’s homes, setting up their Zoom accounts and designing writing websites, in addition to editing members’ stories. Once, when complimenting him for his consistent involvement in WMC and other local writing programs, he said: “What’s important to me is to contribute to the local writing community.” And that he did, many times over, humbly and with passion.
Doug is greatly missed—as an author, a friend to many, and a tireless advocate for writers.