Douglas “Doug” VanderHoof Ackerman died August 1, 1980 of an acute case of spinal meningitis. He was 40 years old. Born to parents Robert VanderHoof Ackerman, a journalist, and Douschka Sweets Ackerman, a teacher of art, in Washington, D.C., he grew up in New York City until the age of four and, then, in Louisville, Kentucky. He graduated from Atherton High School in 1958 and entered the class of 1962 at Davidson, where he played soccer, was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, and wrote and penned cartoons for the Davidsonian and The Scripts ‘n Pranks, of which he was editor in December 1962 and April 1963.
He spent time away from Davidson in 1961, working in the editorial department of the Louisville Courier-Journal. in 1964 he entered the U.S. Army. He served in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas and on Governor’s Island in New York City as a medical corps operating room technician. In 1966, he worked as an editorial assistant in the Letters to the Editor department of Life Magazine. He graduated in 1970 from The University of Louisville Law School, where he was politically active in the campaign of U.S. Senator George McGovern. In 1970, he became an associate in the Wall Street law firm of Cadwallader, Wickersham and Taft.
In 1973 he joined the South Brooklyn office of U.S. Legal Services where he specialized in consumer cases. In 1976 he joined the New York state attorney general’s office, and worked, until his untimely death, with Beth Myerson in helping set up the first statewide consumer protection agency in Albany, NY, and then as an assistant New York State attorney general working in the World Trade Center. Doug was a writer, a stamp collector, widely read student of history and art,, and was an artist whose works were colorful and geometric, mainly acrylic. He arranged to build a cottage in Montreat, N.C. on a lot given by his maternal grandfather, Henry Sweets, and was an ardent hiker and naturalist during his college and later years.
He was survived by his mother, a brother, Henry Sweets Ackerman ’64 and a sister, Sallie.