Beaver Dam, AZ – Ralph Douglas (Doug) Reese, 76, passed away on January 28, 2015, in St. George, Utah. He was born on August 5, 1938, in Long Beach, Calif., to Ralph and Violette Reese.
Doug spent his childhood in Long Beach. As a teenager in the 50s, his rebellious nature prompted his mother to enroll him in military school. He spent about a year and a half gaining the discipline of a good work ethic and a sense of adventure that would contradict the rules.
He started welding when he was 17 years old and this turned into a career that would span 60 years. He was known sometimes as just “The Welder” by many during the early 70s. He traded his Harley for an old blue welding truck and made enough for a new truck and turned it into a “work of art” when he finished. Everyone knew it was Doug doing the welding when they would see his rig and he became known to his friends as “Ol Blue.” He started working as a contract welder and continued working for himself over the next four decades.
But Doug lived to ride his motorcycles. He was a motorcycle drag racer in the 60s and 70s and won many awards and medals riding his Norton. He started building Harleys in his garage and would eventually own a motorcycle shop in Huntington Beach. One of the engines that he built was profiled in an early edition of Easy Rider magazine in 1972.
In the 80s he bought another Harley and after many, many hours of labor and love he completed his pride and joy – a 1951 Harley Davidson Panhead Policeman’s Special. He would ride this motorcycle to shows and events where he won numerous awards throughout central California. This beautiful, detailed, handmade Harley exhibited all the skills he had learned over the years and he was so proud of the machine he created.
Doug is known as a “living legend” throughout the Hangman motorcycle club and made friends everywhere he went. In recent years he had participated in many Hangman reunions and rides, and continued to see friends and make new ones. Everyone loved the “Ol’ Geezer” as he became known in recent years. Everyone who knew him knew of his adventures and were always amazed that he was around to tell the stories about gold dredging, crashing an airplane, motorcycles etc.
Doug is survived by his former wife Fran, his sister Annette, children Gail and Gary, grandchildren Matthew, Ronni Jean, Erica and Alexander, great-grandchildren Grace, Garrett and Annibelle, and nephews and nieces.
A celebration of life will be schedules at a later date. The family invites you to leave a message or memory in their Guest Book at www.virginvalleymortuary.com.