John Robert Tomkys Douglas, OBE, died at his home at Canford Cliffs, Poole, Dorset, on 13 June 2010 after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 79 years old.
Born at Tamworth in Staffordshire in 1930, he married Sheila Varey in 1957 and together they enjoyed over half a century of devoted married life, with the blessing of loving children and grandchildren.
Abba Seraphim first met John Douglas when he was invited to become an advisor and later a member of the Development Advisory Council of Sat-7, the Christian TV channel broadcasting to the Middle East. At that time John was the Chairman of Sat-7 Trust Limited. John combined his long business experience with a deep desire to support disadvantaged and persecuted Christians throughout the world and also enabling the Gospel to be preached to people in their own language. From that time he and Abba Seraphim became firm friends and he was always happy to support specific cases of need brought to his attention as well as Coptic and Syriac causes. Himself an Evangelical Christian he had a deep love and respect for the ancient Orthodox churches and valued his contacts with these churches. He was also a generous benefactor to the British Orthodox Church and when the Church in Chatham was bought he made a substantial donation towards its refurbishment, noting that as a National Service officer in the Royal Engineers he had done part of his training in Chatham.
Although accomplished in so many ways, John was completely unassuming and his many acts of generosity were done in secret so that those who benefitted would never even have known his name. In sending condolences to his widow and family, Abba Seraphim said he felt privileged to have known John, whose life was an example of Christian living and he commended his soul to God, praying for his repose and that all those who mourned his loss would be comforted.