Alvin F. Doubler: 1922-2006
by Boge Quinn
May 12, 2006
Updated June 28, 2006
Alvin F. Doubler
October 17, 1922 - May 7, 2006
(click picture for a larger version)
On May 7, 2006, the United States of America lost a Great man.
"Great" is not a word that I use lightly in description of a man, but my friend Alvin "Dubbie" Doubler lived a life of sustained Greatness that was equaled by few. Dubbie, as an exemplary member of "The Greatest Generation", was a great soldier in his beloved Country's service during World War II; he was a great and devoted husband to his beloved wife, Mary Macon Doubler; he was a great father to his five sons and to his daughter; he was a great servant of God, whose life was a shining example to all; he was a great example of integrity and work ethic in the business community; and he was a great and selfless friend to the many who loved him, myself included.
Dubbie held a deep and abiding love for his Country, and lived as a shining example of what it means to be a Patriot. Originally from Illinois, he enlisted in the U.S. Army’s 61st Coast Artillery Regiment in October 1940. Before the United States officially entered the War, Dubbie for a time manned a battery of .50-caliber machine guns stationed on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Only two months after Pearl Harbor, his unit deployed overseas, first to Iceland to defend U.S. airfields there and then to Great Britain to prepare for the invasion of Europe. While in Iceland, the 61st became the first U.S. Army anti-aircraft outfit to down a German aircraft in the European Theater. In England, parts of the 61st Coast Artillery were reorganized as the 634th Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA) Automatic Weapons Battalion and armed with the twin 40-mm. Bofors gun and quad 50-cal. Browning machine guns mounted on half-tracks. Dubbie was particularly fond of the "Quad-50" and told me of its impressive firepower and the feeling of watching four sets of tracers over his gun sight. Dubbie was an aerial observer and a radio-telephone operator in one of the 634th’s firing batteries. He entered the European continent over Utah Beach in June 1944, only a few days after D-Day, and saw heavy action at St. Lo and all across France. Just before the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, the 634th AAA Battalion was assigned to support the 106th Infantry Division in a quiet sector of the Ardennes. During the Battle of the Bulge, Dubbie saw a German artillery shell thunderously hit the earth mere feet from his position, but the shell was a "dud" and did not explode - had the shell exploded, Dubbie would surely have been killed. Dubbie took the failure of the shell to explode as a miracle from God, and vowed then and there to live his life from that day forward in such a way that God would be glad that He had spared Dubbie's life. Dubbie witnessed the 106th Infantry Division being overrun by the German Army in the opening days of the Bulge, and he continued to fight around St. Vith as an infantryman. For its role in the stubborn defense of St. Vith, the 634th received the Presidential Unit Citation. In the spring of 1945, Dubbie crossed the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine River and fought within the Remagen bridgehead. From a small foxhole on the far side of the Rhine, Dubbie observed the 291st Engineer Battalion construct a pontoon bridge across the river while under heavy fire, one of the greatest tactical actions in the entire history of the U.S. Army. By the time the war ended, Dubbie had been overseas for forty-five months and had amassed a staggering 122 points for his military service. To the end, Dubbie remained extremely proud of his service in World War II, attending many subsequent reunions and supporting his Country as a patriotic Veteran.
After the War Dubbie moved to Tennessee, married his sweetheart, raised a large family, and continued to supremely fulfill the solemn vow he had made when his life was miraculously spared at the Bulge. He served as a Service Manager for Ford dealerships over the course of 38 years, and was sought both for his expertise and for his integrity. I did not know Dubbie during that time, but I have heard many accounts of Dubbie's uncanny abilities and his willingness to help his clients and friends for little or no money. He never took advantage of anyone, sharing his abilities and working hard to provide for his family.
Dubbie's devotion to God, his patriotism and love of his Country, his ebullient personality, his fierce loyalty to his friends and loved ones, his wisdom, and his integrity have been passed down to all his children, each of whom I am proud to call my friend. Dubbie lives on in his talents and interests, which have been passed down in different ways to his children; from his love of aviation, to his mechanical abilities and love of anything with an engine, to his ethic of service to his Country, to his artistic soul and his musical abilities. Those musical abilities also emanate from the mother's side of the family, as Mary Macon is the granddaughter of the legendary Country Music pioneer, Uncle Dave Macon.
Dubbie's youngest son has been one of my closest friends and musical partners for a great many years, but Dubbie quickly rose above being just the father of my friend. Dubbie embraced me as though I were his own son, and his example remains as a shining light for my own path through life. Dubbie was the kind of man whom everybody loved, because he loved everybody. In all the years I knew him, I never saw him down, I never heard him say a cross word to or about anyone, and I never heard anyone say a cross word to or about him. His ever-present smile was a genuine look into the loving heart of the man, and to look into his eyes was to see his eternal optimism. When Dubbie entered a room, the mood of everyone else there was immediately elevated, and he truly radiated love in a way to which I cannot even aspire.
Dubbie lived his life as few men do, embracing each day with a pure heart, happiness and optimism. He was never in failing health, remaining vital and energetic until he passed away suddenly at his home.
Most of you did not know Alvin F. Doubler, and all of this rambling may mean nothing to you, but I'll tell you this: Dubbie contributed to this world in ways I could never hope to attain. As a Veteran, as a father, as a friend, and as a MAN, Dubbie was without peer. Most of you did not know Alvin F. Doubler, but hopefully, someday you will. As one of his granddaughters was heard to say at Dubbie's Memorial Service, "Pop will be a Greeter in Heaven".
On May 7, 2006, the United States of America lost a Great man. A family lost its patriarch, and I lost a friend whom I truly loved...but Heaven shines a little brighter.
Thanks to LTC (Ret) Michael Doubler (www.michaeldoubler.com).