Arkansas City native Douglas “Doug” Tauscher passed away March 4, just shy of his 56th birthday.

The 1980 graduate of Arkansas City High School was known best for his kindness.

“I don’t have enough hands to count how many strangers my dad helped in his days on Earth, and those are the ones just I knew about,” said his son, Ryan Tauscher. “He lived his life for his family, and the service of others and his country.”

“He always had a smile and a kind word for everyone,” said Pam Crain.

Tauscher remembered

Tauscher

Doug Tauscher is survived by his wife, son, daughter and parents.

“I learned too many things from my dad to recite, (but) one thing was to love everyone you meet always and you never know what someone is going through, so lend out a helping hand at all times,” said Ryan Tauscher.

“The memories we created together will be forever cherished, and I can’t thank him enough for his leadership to our family and this country.”

Family member Stephanie Rank also commented on Doug Tauscher’s passing.

“I wanted to take this opportunity to share the obituary of a combat veteran who served his country for 24 years, and was dedicated to the care and love of his beautiful family,” she said in a Facebook post earlier this month.

“His death has been a shock to his close and extended family and friends. And Doug’s death leaves a huge hole in our hearts and minds.”

“Doug Tauscher had so many gifts and talents. But, when reading the tributes left by so many people, there is a common thread, a significant message: Doug always made you feel like he had time for you,” Rank added.

“It didn’t matter how much time had passed, he was standing there in your landscape, always a bright light.”

Early life and education

Doug Tauscher began life as the son of hog farmers Ernest and Beverly Tauscher.

“(He) was taught the value of hard work from his parents,” said Ryan Tauscher.

Doug Tauscher received his bachelor of business administration degree in 1984 from Washburn University in Topeka.

That same year, he also joined the U.S. Air Force as a second lieutenant.

Tauscher earned his master’s degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1993.

Tauscher family

Tauscher met his wife, LeeAnn Johnson, in 1988 in Shreveport, Louisiana.

“My sister (Courtney) was born and then my dad had the option of being a Royal Exchange pilot with the British Air Force, so they moved to England,” said Ryan Tauscher.

Ryan was born while the family was in England.

“My parents got to travel (to) many parts of Europe and made so many lasting memories together,” he recalled.

The family then moved to a small town in Illinois, near St Louis.

“My sister and I picked up sports there and ran with them,” said Ryan Tauscher. “With my dad working his way up through the ranks, he was always there at practices and games for my sister and I, and (also) extra practice at home if we were struggling.”

Air Force career

In 1984, Doug Tauscher began pilot training.

He served his country as an officer and senior command pilot in the United States Air Force from 1984 to 2007.

Tauscher’s career included service as a KC-10 pilot, a DC-10 exchange pilot with the British Royal Air Force, a White House Presidential Agent, a senior science and technology adviser, and a transportation command adviser, to name just a few roles.

“After 9/11, my dad fought for our country and was over in Afghanistan for what seemed like years for my family and I,” said Ryan Tauscher.

“He also served in (Operations) Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the late ’80s (and) early ’90s.”

Douglas Tauscher retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel.

“He retired from the Air Force in 2007 and immediately became a contractor out at the same office he had just retired from,” said Ryan Tauscher.

During his service, Doug Tauscher was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Aerial Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Achievement Medal and Joint Meritorious Unit Award.