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Douglas McDermott
Douglas McDermott, a founding faculty member of the Theatre Department at California State University Stanislaus, died Friday at Emanuel Medical Center of prostate cancer. McDermott was 73 years old.
The only child of Thomas McDermott and Marie Louise Williams, he was born in Los Angeles and educated at Pomona College, the University of North Carolina and the University of Iowa. He began his teaching career at the University of California, Davis. He came to Turlock as one of the founding faculty of the Theatre Department at California State University, Stanislaus. During his 30 years at CSUS, he taught history of the theatre, directed plays, and was a founding member and later director of the University’s first Honors Program.
Lisa McDermott, one of Douglas’ daughters, said that founding the Honors Program was her father’s proudest accomplishment at CSU Stanislaus.
“Working with students who were that interested in furthering their education meant a lot to him,” Lisa McDermott said.
He was also an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the School of Theatre, Film, and Dance at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. An authority on the history of the American stage, he was the author of numerous articles.  After his retirement from teaching at CSU Stanislaus, McDermott remained a Professor Emeritus. He was often seen riding his bike to and from campus, where he was doing research on a book he was working on.
Jere O’Donnell, a professor in the theater department, considered McDermott a special mentor of his. When O’Donnell started teaching at CSU Stanislaus, he often turned to McDermott for advice.
“Dr. McDermott really got me through my first years here,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell described Douglas McDermott as a patient, experienced and knowledgeable theatre historian and professor. McDermott was well respected by his students, and Lisa McDermott said that the family has received several kind notes from former students who are now working in the theatre industry.
Douglas McDermott is survived by his wife of more than 51 years, Nelda Hooper McDermott; his children, Julia Swanson-McDermott, Lisa McDermott (Tim McClary), James McDermott, Pamela Norris (Jeff), Monika McDermott (David Jones) and David McDermott; 13 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his infant son Thomas McDermott.
A vigil service will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, at Allen Mortuary. The funeral will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 26, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Turlock. A reception will follow in the Sacred Heart school gymnasium. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the United Samaritans Foundation, 220 S. Broadway, Turlock, 95380 ( Please share your condolences at