Douglas Joseph Stimson, 80, was the son and grandson of timber barons and a member of one of the richest, most influential and deeply rooted families in the Pacific Northwest. He loved history, a subject in which he received two degrees. He moved from Washington, the state, to Washington, the city, in part because of the wealth of the latter's past.
Mr. Stimson, who died Aug. 28 of complications from pulmonary fibrosis at Frederick Memorial Hospital, remained the chairman emeritus of his family's Seattle-based real estate holding firm, the C.D. Stimson Co. He lived in Myersville.
"Dad thought Seattle was a sleepy, little town, and it was, at the time," said his son, Charles "Cully" Douglas Stimson of McLean. "He liked Washington, D.C., and loved the history out here."
Mr. Stimson's American roots might not have gone back as far as some pre-Revolutionary War families in the mid-Atlantic region, but by most other standards, his family was historic.
His great-grandfather, Thomas Douglas Stimson, started the family fortune in Michigan, where he cut and milled some of the last great stands of the Midwestern forests in the mid-1800s. After living in Chicago and Los Angeles, the family moved to Seattle, where the next generation, led by Charles Douglas Stimson, bought forests and established a mill in Ballard. The businesses boomed, helped by a devastating city fire in 1889 and the Yukon gold rush. The family owned timberlands and mills in four states, and one of its mills -- which is now a marina -- became the world's largest producer of roofing shingles.
The family's real estate company, established in 1909, developed residential and commercial property. Architecturally significant buildings in Los Angeles and Seattle bear the Stimson name, according to "The Stimson Legacy: Architecture in the Urban West," by Lawrence Kreisman, published in 1992.
The family's legacy continues in other ways, too. The well-known Chateau Ste. Michelle winery is on what was Stimson land. Another branch of the family established a television station, endowed a classical music radio station and gave tens of millions of dollars to CARE for the education of girls in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as to environmental organizations. Douglas Joseph Stimson, born in Seattle, grew up in a home, known as the Stimson-Green Mansion, that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mr. Stimson attended the Asheville School in North Carolina and joined the Navy during World War II, serving in the Pacific theater. He became a director in his family's company in 1945 and received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Washington in 1950. He moved to Washington in the late 1950s and received a master's degree in history from Georgetown University in 1967.
He met his future wife, Virginia Mullane of Youngstown, Ohio, and for her, he stayed in the Washington area, she said.
"He loved Seattle, but I wanted to live in the East because the weather out there is so awful," she said. "He decided he loved it here, too. What he really loved was travel, so I said, 'Doug, if you want to go to Africa, you go ahead with or without me.' "
Mr. Stimson loved being "a gentleman farmer," his wife said, but though he was a member of the Congressional Country Club, he never cared for golf. He was also a member of the Frederick Rotary Club -- as well as numerous other organizations -- and retired last year after serving at various times as vice president, president and co-chairman of the board.
In addition to his wife of 42 years, of Myersville, and his son, survivors include a daughter, Lori Marie Stimson of Great Falls, and four grandchildren.