Rafferty, Douglas D., 69 of White Bear Lake passed peacefully on August 24, 2021 after a hard-fought battle with Lewy Body Dementia and a recent Stage 4 Cancer diagnosis. He was preceded in death by parents, Leo and Madalen; sister, Judith Johnson; and uncle, Alois Kainz (Uncle Al). Doug is survived by his wife Mary Jo; sons, Paul and John (Jayna); grandchildren, Malena, Amara, and Nicolai; siblings, Karen (Tim) Nicholson and Mary Lou (Joe) Kugler; nieces, Kelly and Kate; and many other loved ones.
Doug was born on June 10,1952 at Mounds Park Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. He spent his childhood years enjoying life, the outdoors, and sports, specifically baseball and football. As a young boy, he could often be found playing with his dog, Tiny at his father's Mobil gas station. Growing up in East St. Paul there was no shortage of kids to play with or things to do. He also grew up in the Catholic Faith with strong values passed down to him from both Leo and Madelen. His love of life, values, and faith carried him through life and shaped the man we remember today.
Doug attended grade school at Sacred Heart and was known as a good altar boy, memorizing all the appropriate Latin responses. As a young man he was also known to cause some mischief in his day; if this surprises you, just look at some photos of him with his mustache, long hair, sunglasses, leather jacket, next to his motorcycle or one of his beloved sports cars and say it was not true. He attended Hill High School, where he was a natural at many sports and at building many friendships. After high school, Doug completed some college coursework at Lakewood Junior College before beginning his career with the railroad.
Doug's life can be defined as one centered in love, and he had no greater love than for God and his family. This love was never more true or apparent when seeing him with his equally loving, devoted, and caring wife, Mary Jo. As his memory came and went, this love never faltered with Mary Jo as his tireless caretaker late in life and Doug as her rock and example of unconditional love. Doug and Mary Jo had a few brief encounters throughout their adolescence but became close after high school through their mutual friend Diane. Their relationship and bond only grew stronger over the next few years. They were married on June 17th, 1977 at Blessed Sacrament Church. They were the perfect pair and a team throughout their 44 years of marriage. He will be forever missed by Mary Jo, but this love and their memories remain eternal and will never parish.
The love between Doug and Mary Jo was further strengthened through the birth of their two sons, Paul and John. Doug, the energetic and loving husband became Doug, the father, teacher, coach, and friend. Growing up in the Rafferty household was centered in love and family with too many memories to count. It was a busy time, full of fun, family trips and holidays, school, and youth sports. Summers at the cabin up at Big Sandy were favorites for Doug, his sisters, and family; he felt at ease either slalom skiing or driving the boat with his German Shephard at his side. Doug and Mary Jo devoted the next decades to their children and raised them into the two smart, loving, and compassionate people they are today. Doug had many accomplishments in life, but seeing his children grow into the men they are today was one of his proudest, and he would regularly say it. Doug's love and heart grew even more as he became a father-in-law and grandfather; the bonds and memories shared with them brought him incredible joy and pride. Simply watching his grandchildren play or hearing their voice would never fail to bring a smile to his face; likewise, when they saw or even heard their Papa, they immediately lit up with joy.
Doug's life can also be defined by hard work, ethics, and a desire to provide and care for those he loves. This care for his family and loved ones was also a characteristic that never faded, even towards his end of life. He was an example of how to put others first and the most selfless man you could have met. His hard work started at an early age, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather by joining the railroad. He worked as machinist, trainer, Federal Inspector, and Leadman at Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway for 42 years until he retired at 60 years old. At home, he worked for his family by utilizing his natural skill for fixing just about anything, likely a skill passed down from his father. He once told us that he worked for his family and enjoyed most planning and taking family vacations; it was nice to work for it, he said.
His final years were challenging with his declining health, but the many happy memories and moments later in life vastly outweigh the hard ones. Doug was able to transition from a life of hard work to some much-deserved relaxation time with loved ones. He often relaxed by going on day trips or lake walks with Mary Jo, golfing with his sons or in Florida with his sister, eating a footlong at the State Fair, "car shopping" at various car shows, swimming with his grandchildren, and grilling for the family. He was also known to root on the MN Twins from both Minnesota and spring training in Florida. No matter where he was or what he was doing, the time was joyful and meaningful when he was together with friends and family.
Doug's dementia and health issues made life a challenge, to say the least. However, he always remained the positive, caring, and kind soul that he had always been. Those core characteristics of love, hard work, and care for those he loved remained strong even during the hardest days. He will live on through what he has passed on to each of us, and in the memories and laughter we share with him.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 12:00 PM (NOON) on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church, 4741 Bald Eagle Ave, White Bear Lake, with public entrance at 11:30 AM. Reception to follow the mass from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM at Mueller Memorial, 4738 Bald Eagle Ave, White Bear Lake. Interment at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Cemetery. Face masks are encouraged. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the family to donate on behalf of Doug.
Rest in peace. We will see you again in Heaven.
To view Doug's Journey and leave tributes to the family please check out his Caring Bridge website, link below: