Published: August 15, 2017
ODESSA, DEL. – Douglas Warriner, 67, died from complications related to lung cancer, at home on July 26. Co-owner of the Firehouse Antiques Center, he was a fixture at antiques shows up and down the East Coast.
Born on July 22, 1950, in Wilmington, Del., he was one of six children of the late Ann and Watson Warriner. Growing up, he was a self-proclaimed “happy child” with many siblings and cousins surrounding him. His stories were numerous and always funny. As an adult, he was involved in many vocations, including food service in Wilmington, Del., and Georgetown, Md. His two passions were always politics and music. He possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of every band, lead singer and musician from the 1960s to present and knowledge of every political event and major political figure spanning the same period.
A life-changing event happened in 1990 when passing by an empty firehouse, he said to his now-spouse Paul Thien, “This would make a good group shop.” From that moment on it was off to the races. He designed and acted as general contractor for Firehouse Antiques Center, which has evolved into one of the leading group shops on the Eastern seaboard.
Along with the antiques business comes shows, and Douglas first participated in a show in New York on the famous Pier 92, and he was instantly hooked. For 25 years, Douglas befriended countless people in the antiques world, from Maine to Nashville to Chicago. His circle of friends was as varied as the business, from show promoters and celebrities to porters, fire fighters, union reps and always the dealers. He often referred to the show circuit as vaudeville, which is a fitting comparison.
His greatest passion was designing booths and the shop windows. He loved working with the objects, creating startling compositions from disparate objects. He said to his husband, “You worry about dovetails, I’ll take care of the display.” Throughout this journey battling cancer, his family has always been there, always supportive, making this difficult time memorable. And the great support from friends and neighbors in Prime Hook Beach, Galena and Odessa were a great comfort to him.
He is survived by his husband Paul Thien; brothers Watson Warriner Jr and Sheppard Warriner; sisters Jane Obara and Betsy Dean; 13 nieces and nephews and five great nieces and nephews.
There is a vast, empty, quiet space left in this world with his passing.
Services will be conducted privately. Arrangements were handled by Galena Funeral Home of Stephen L. Schaech.
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