A Goodbye To A Dear ACF-CASA Member

DOUGLAS MARVIN, 94, a beloved husband, father, “Fafa” and friend, passed away March 3, 2015. Douglas is survived by his children: Brian (Liz) Marvin, Karen (Bill) Simms, Jeffrey (Michelle) Marvin; 5 grandchildren: Gregory (Rhonda) Kocis, Jenna (Ryan) Norris, Nicole, Alyssa and Kayla Marvin and 5 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Rita and infant son, Gregory.


Douglas was born in Croyden, England. Douglas had his first apprenticeship at the age of 17 at the Thames House Restaurant. He joined the Royal Air Force in World War II and was a proud member of the air-sea rescue unit, serving six years in the military. At the age of 26, Douglas told his mum he was leaving to Canada or Australia; he flipped a coin and ended up in Canada. He worked in many different hotels and restaurants across the country, including the Santa Rita Hotel in Tucson where he did the catering for the movie “The Furies”.  Douglas worked in California in the summers of 1949 to 1951 and was employed by the El Dorado Lodge in Tucson in 1951-1952. He became a member of the Chefs de Cuisine Association of California in 1950 and continued to be a lifetime member. In 1952, Douglas met his future wife Rita while trying to straighten out his resident-alien status. Rita was the clerk at the office where his bond was handled. Douglas and Rita were married in 1952 and remained together until Rita passed away in 2005.

Shortly after marrying, Douglas and Rita opened their first restaurant, Marrows (1952-1956). Douglas was asked by General Wilson of Davis Monthan Air Force Base to open up a new Officer’s Club on-base and he became the Executive Chef/Manager there for eight months. Later, Douglas was the chef and manager of the Redwood Lodge in Tucson from 1958 to 1960. In 1961, he opened his second restaurant, the Coat of Arms and was the co-owner/chef until 1964. (Blue Fin Restaurant currently occupies that space today.) In addition, he managed the Ghost Ranch Lodge Restaurant around the same time for two seasons. In 1965, Douglas and Rita built the Iron Mask Restaurant on Grant Road. (The KingFisher occupies the same space today.) The husband and wife team worked side by side, Douglas as the chef and Rita serving as the hostess. They were known as the restaurant “where the chef is the owner”. Douglas’ two sons, Brian and Jeffrey, worked side by side in the kitchen with him for many years. Douglas and Rita finally retired in 1993.

Douglas was a founding member of the ACF Chefs’ Association of Southern Arizona. In 1970, he was vice president of ACF-CASA and became president in 1971.

In 1992, at the age of 71, Douglas was inducted into the CASA Hall of Fame. In 1994, Douglas was inducted in the Arizona Restaurant Association Hall of Fame.

Douglas was an incredible chef and charmed everyone with his English accent, gracious demeanor and occasional “Bloody hell”. Douglas was a truly remarkable man: kind, gentle, hardworking and, above all, the best father anyone could ever hope for. We are so thankful and blessed to have so many years of wonderful memories.

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