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North Bay man who died after apartment COVID outbreak was loving family man, retired OPP officer

Doug Arthur, 75, lived at Lancelot Apartments, where there has been an outbreak

NORTH BAY — The daughter of a man who passed Tuesday morning after contracting COVID at the Lancelot Apartments has warm praise for the nurses who showed compassion during her dad's final hours.

Doug Arthur, 75, felt like he had a cold and started feeling weak a couple of days before an outbreak at Lancelot Apartments on Lakeshore was announced, his daughter Andrea Maville told BayToday.

He was tested in the building, but as the day wore on he started feeling worse and worse.

"He was starting to get really short of breath and feeling really tired," Maville recalls. An ambulance was called and he was rushed to hospital.

Later that night the Health Unit called and told Doug and his wife Jean that both had tested positive. He remained in the hospital from this past Sunday until his death. He had a preliminary positive result for a COVID-19 Variant of Concern.

It is the second death within the North Bay district associated with COVID-19.

"We weren't allowed to go see him at all," says Maville. "But the nurses were amazing. My Mom talked to them and I sent a bunch of family pictures and they hung them all around his bed, talked with him, and held his hand and he told them stories. It was awesome they were there because we couldn't be," she says, her voice breaking.

"They told me that every time they went to see him they said how much his family loved him, and one of the nurses told me he would sit with my Dad and hold his hand while my Dad told him stories about the people in the pictures I had brought. They cared for him and made him feel like he was not alone. That was the biggest and hardest thing, was that he was all alone. .And my Mom was alone knowing that her husband was dying alone.

"That was really hard for us, but the nurses made it so much better because they were there for him the whole time. It must be scary for them because he has COVID but they would suit up, and while they were checking out his numbers, they would sit with him and tell him how much we loved him. I really, really appreciate that."

With her father in hospital, Maville was determined to keep up a loving tradition that defined Doug and Jean's relationship.

"I bought flowers for my Mom on Valentine's Day and that was the last day I talked to him. He always bought her flowers so I wanted to do that for him. It was the last time I talked with him. I just told him I bought her flowers for him, and he thanked me."

Doug and Jean were married 46 years.

"They had a great relationship. That's the thing I'll miss the most," says Maville. "I loved watching him hug her. They did everything together."

The family, Andrea and her brother Bob, would always enjoy Sunday dinner together. "We'd make dinner, cook turkey, and spend a lot of time together." 

Many in the community would know Doug Arthur as a retired OPP officer.

"He loved the OPP," said Maville. "He was a very proud member He retired in 1997 so it was quite a few years."

Starting in White River, he moved to Kapuskasing, then Powassan, and when he retired he was a sergeant at the North Bay Communications Centre.

Arthur was huge into volunteering for the Heritage Railway and Carousel and started volunteering in the beginning with them. He heard about the North Bay Carvers Club in the North Bay Mall, so popped over and borrowed some carving tools to help out.

"He helped carve some of the horses on the carousel. He just started carving and then bought his own tools and started carving. It grew from there. He taught himself. He volunteered every week in the summer and was very big into that."

The couple ended up in the Lancelot after selling their North Bay home. They were snowbirds, spending every winter in Myrtle Beach.

"My Dad did have a heart condition and because they were going away every year in the winter they would have to get someone to care for the house so they decided to move into the Lancelot three years ago."

"He loved red wine and cooking and the carousel and carving. He would sit there and carve Christmas ornaments, He would make the whole family a Christmas ornament every year.

"He was just happy. He loved life!"

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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