We are proud to present the highlights of Doug and Karlista Rickerson personal journey at VAC. This recognition is one that specifically highlights the personal commitment of VAC’s Mission Statement. “Quality of Life through Health and Fitness at any age”.
Doug (age 90) and Karlista (age 82) have been members of VAC since 1992. Doug and Karlista were married in 1971, where they moved to her house on Vashon Island 47 years ago. At the time she was living with her three sons.
Doug has had many jobs in his 90 years. He enlisted into the Marine Corp in 1946. While on active duty,he went on a week-end pass with buddies to go swimming in the ocean surf, where he dove into the waves and broke his neck. (ask him about it). During Boot camp on a leave with friends he went swimming in the ocean drove into the waves and broke his neck. He was discharged in 1948. He was on inactive reserve and attended Washington State College on the GI Bill. The Korean War was escalating and in 1950 he was recalled. He went to Korea and became a tank commander (there is more to this story just ask). After his return he decided to go to the U of W getting a degree in Physical Education in 1955. His first teaching job was in Port Townsend where he eventually became a coach in both football and baseball for 11 years (coaching is his passion). Doug got a grant to work on his Master’s at the U of W. During that time he was on the coaching staff with Jim Owens (Amazing). In 1968 he started teaching at Garfield HS. During his time there he instructed and coached the swim team and was nominated for National Swim Coach in 1982. He was Seattle Metro League Football Coach of the Year 4 times!
Doug retired in 1987, and to celebrate headed to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji with Karlista and her mother. At home, he kept busy running a fishing charter boat out of Port Angeles.
In 1991 Doug was diagnosed with an AVM in his brain, he was referred to UCSF, the best Neurosurgeons on the Pacific Coast. His only defect is the lower left quad of his vision. In 1992 he had both knees replaced at the same time, which was a great success.
Karlista worked for the King County Health Dept. In 1988 she was named Nurse Practitioner of the year. She retired in 1997. She learned to scuba dive and became certified diver in 1981. Her interest moved to underwater photography from the encouragement of her youngest son and her husband. She specialized in pictures from Tramp Harbor, Sandy Shores, and the Maury Island gravel pits. She has had a booth at the Strawberry Festival for several years and during that time has won awards for her photographs. She was named Diver of the Year in 2010 for her work with Washington SCUBA Alliance. Sadly, Karlista had to give up diving at the age of 81 for safety reasons. Now she volunteers to collect mussels and salt water samples for the detection of Harmful Algae Blooms in Quarter Master Harbor.
The VAC is Doug’s social life; he cares about the people in his classes and worries about them when they are not there. Doug’s classes are always full and are the most popular at VAC.