Obituary: Douglas McGoon

Artist, agriculturist, Burning Man devotee

Claremont resident Douglas O. McGoon III died Friday, May 24 at home, with his son Greg McGoon and longtime friend Anne Seltzer at his side.

Mr. McGoon loved gardening, raising ducks, cooking, music, art and fun: he could be spotted sliding down stair rails at the Colleges, shooting pool, tossing an occasional basketball and, most recently, playing Pétanque on Sundays in the park with the Claremont group. He surfed, hiked, and even skydived with son Greg. Quick to say “yes” to adventure, Mr. McGoon traveled across the United States, to Africa, Europe and the Philippines. Most of all, he enjoyed people, and was a dedicated friend to many.

Born January 12, 1950, Doug grew up in Florida, Arizona, but settled in Claremont in the 1970s. After graduating from college with a degree in structural engineering, he served in the United States Navy from 1968 to 1972. He originally came to California to work for Kaiser Steel. He and his wife Carol also owned The Candy Bar in Claremont (now Bert and Rocky’s) from 1980 to 1987.

He pursued his art later in life, creating marble and stone structures, as well as concrete projects, many of which are permanent installations in Claremont. He preserved three significant architectural treasures: the Mary B. Eyre Children’s School building and accompanying Millard Sheets designed addition, and the Greene and Greene garage from Eighth Street in Claremont; both structures were moved to his Claremont property located behind Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. Community service was a priority for Mr. McGoon, and he was a dedicated member of the Rotary Club of Claremont.

He was a respected and loved participant and ranger in Burning Man for 12 years, participating in Burning Man gatherings all over the world. He was known as “Ranger Rebar/Bender.” His beloved co-burners will always remember him.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I post of the passing of my good friend, camp mate at AEZ and ranger brother Rebar/Bender,” said Susan Kennedy (aka Miss Piggy). “You burned for 12 years, and rangered for nine. May you fly high with the pelicans. I’ll treasure forever the day you came into our lives. Your toaster pin will always be a treasured item on my hat. One could only wish to have an ounce of your calm, balance, wisdom, vitality, creativity, joy and love. I will strive hard to match your spirit for life.”

One of his mentors, Paragon, said “With great sorrow and a heavy heart we mourn and celebrate the life of Doug McGoon Ranger Rebar. Our brother in the dust passed on to a better place this morning at home surrounded by love, light and family. In his last moments he was read the caring messages from everyone. He appreciated the love he received throughout the years as a ranger. May his spirit fly free.”

Mr. McGoon is remembered for his varied talents, his overwhelming enthusiasm for any project he worked on, his generous contribution to his community and, most of all, his sincere love for and dedication to his many friends. It was his wish to one day fly free with the pelicans he so loved. We imagine he is soaring now, his family shared.

Mr. McGoon is survived by his mother Elizabeth Smith, his stepfather Lee Freel, his sons Doug IV and Greg, and grandchildren, Ava and Douglas V.

A memorial celebration of life will be held Saturday, June 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Garner House in Claremont’s Memorial Park, 840 N. Indian Hill Blvd. Attire: colorful!


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