Inducted: November 15, 2011
Douglas Flook has devoted a full and challenging life to his family, his community and to the future of sustainable agriculture.
In recent years, he has been appointed to and continues to serve on provincial appeal tribunals that adjudicate various agricultural issues. Earlier he was, and still is very active in the Co-operative movement, with its promise of benefits to agriculture. Through the years, he has maintained an interest in protecting the environment.
Mr. Flook was born January 2nd, 1932, the son and one of five children of Earl and Mildred (Riseborough) Flook. After his elementary education at S. S. 5, Raleigh Township, a one-room school, he went on to Chatham Vocational School where he graduated in 1950. He married Shirley Butler in 1952.
Mr. Flook soon became involved in the Co-operative movement. He was a Board member and Chairman of the Chatham Co-op from 1960 to 1983, and was instrumental in the merger of Chatham, Tupperville and Thamesville Co-ops. The newly merged Co-operatives were renamed the Kenway Co-operative. Mr. Flook was elected to the Executive, and then President two years later. His work was recognized; in 1965 when he received the Co-operator of the Year Award; and in 1985, the United Co-operative of Ontario Delegate Award.
He was an elected member of the Ontario Vegetable Growers Marketing Board from 1977 to 1994; an Executive member for four years, and Chairman for two.
He has farmed for 55 years on 300 acres in Raleigh Township, raising livestock (hogs and cattle) until 1980. He has grown sugar beets, processing tomatoes, cucumbers, white beans and kidney beans; and is still producing cash crops, including peas, seed corn, commercial corn, soybeans and wheat. He is pleased that his son Brian and wife, Marilyn have recently taken ownership of the home farm. Brad and his son Corbin, farm machinery mechanics, help maintain the farm machinery. Over the years, all of the family has worked to build Flook Farms into a successful fourth generation farming operation.
Mr. Flook has been as active in community and church affairs as he has been in agriculture. He was a member of the local school board from 1960 until 1965, during a period when education experienced a major change. At Wesley United Church he has been a Sunday School teacher, Chairman of the Board of Stewards, and Elder, and, at present, Congregational Chairman.
In the last two decades, Mr. Flook’s sound judgement and objectivity have been recognized at the provincial level. Mr. Flook was named to the Ontario Crop Insurance Appeal Tribunal in 1994, and to the Ontario Drainage Tribunal two years later. In 1997, he was appointed to the Farm Tax Rebate Appeal Board; and in 2001, to the Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal, on which he is currently serving.
His first wife, the former Shirley Butler, died in a tragic accident in 1977, leaving him with eight children. In 1980, he married the former Dianne Parry, who brought three children from a first marriage.
That merged family: Brenda Leclair, Sharron Arthurton, Elaine Flook, Linda McBrayne, Brent Flook, Brian Flook, Brad Flook, Susan Drouin, Andrea Stass, Evan Stass and Arden Stass.
A neighbour, Leonard Harwood, said Mr. Flook is “a gentlemen, a good man, an honest man.” He “appears mild-mannered”, but anyone who challenges him on fundamental issues will learn that he has the courage of his convictions.
Doug and Dianne are keenly interested in the environment, and have helped in the establishment and maintenance of several nature trails, wind breaks and Carolinian tree plantings.
Jane McGeachy, a friend of the Flooks for over 40 years, said “Doug is a good man in many, many ways. He is a moral man with sound values.”