I apologize for not updating this blog sooner, I just do not have my brother's talent for words. I have no words to express the saddness that is in my heart and the gratitude I feel towards Doug's many friends.
Since Doug's passing I have received many emails, relating stories about Doug and how he touched the lives of so many around him. I would like to express my deepest appreciation to every one who took the time to contact me and to let me know how much Doug meant to you. You can sign Doug's online guest book here
I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to Kelly Sandvidge and Mike from the John J. Sandvidge Funeral Home in Troy NY - they went above and beyond every duty to ensure that Doug was laid to rest with dignity and grace. Putting all finances aside. This enabled our family to give Doug a service he would have been proud to have. When a business in the community puts people before funds it is a rare event and one that should be recognized.
Kelly Sandvidge is a man my brother deeply admired. In this difficutl time, Kelly has proven that his friendships and his community is more important to him then any business transaction - what a man of honor. Thank you Kelly.
I would also like to thank my brother Doug's closest friends and adopted "children" Jen and David M. Girard. Both Dave and Jen meant the world to Doug, and they spent many hundred's of hours with Doug over the 15 years they were all together. Dave has now become a New York actor (pardon me here Dave, if I get this wrong). Doug and Dave spent many years working their craft and Doug was truly Dave's number one fan - Doug always felt that Dave deserved to be on the big screen - and I believe that one day he will be - if not that then Broadway - either one would be lucky to have him. Dave delivered a wonderful eulogy that Doug would have pretended not to care about in public, but would have touched his heart deeply. Proving once again, that David is all that Doug believed him to be.
Jen was Doug's little sweet heart and true to that she stood by him during some of the most difficult times of his life. She was always a joy to Doug and I know that he was so proud of her and her success in running her own business the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Latham NY. We talked often about the times they all spent together (ok I admit it - I was a bit jealous :) - but I was also happy to know that Doug had such loving "children"). Thank you so very much Dave and Jen.
Then there is Bob Goepfert, what an honor to have him speak such kind words about my brother. To have a man of such honor and moral character speak of Doug as his dear friend, meant a great deal to me. I have always been in awe of Doug's friends and once again I felt that awe while listening to Bob. To know that Doug was loved by a man of his intelligence, honesty and kindness is such a gift to our family. I know that Doug cherished his friendship with Bob and that it would have pleased him to hear his cherished friend's words. One of Doug's biggest joys in life was starting the Nickle and Dime Players with Bob. Thank you Bob.
There are so many people I want to thank in this little blog - Joe Galu, who has stood by Doug through thick and thin and gave Doug a run for his money when they worked together at Albany Civic Theater - keeping him on track and within budget. Joe has been a friend to my brother through our families' hardest times and he never waivered as a friend. Thank you so much, Joe, for your dedication and friendship over the many years we have been blessed to know you.
To Sally and John Burke of the Not So Common Players who faithfully visited Doug and who spent some of his last hours with him, even getting him to respond to Sally's voice. For their wonderful friendship to both Jean and myself and kindness to my mom - thank you. I know that you will be a great strength to Jean in the coming months.
To Robert Weidert who despite being sick himself called repeatedly and offered such comfort and support to me and my family. Kindly listening to me ramble on and on. I will never forget Robert's dedication. Doug was very touched by his phone calls and was pleased to know that Robert remembered his birthday :) - Thank you so much Robert.
To Benita Zahn, of Channel 13 news, for her wonderful tribute to Doug and for being his loyal friend for many years. She was a delight to Doug and he spoke of her often. Her support of our family and the joy she brought to my brother when they shared their birthday lunches every year was a cherished memory for Doug and a great comfort to his family. I know that he loved directing her in plays and he was always impressed by her talent and enjoyed their friendly "disagreements".
To Jeff, from the Troy Record who drove Doug all the way to NY and kept Doug's old car in good repair for many years. He was a valued friend and during Doug's most difficult time he gave unselfishly of his friendship and support.
To Will, who worked side by side with Doug in their office, drove Doug on many trips to the airport so he could go to his beloved Puerto Rico. Will took time from his busy day to pick Doug up from the hospital and take him home. Doug loved working with Will and missed him terribly when Doug had to retire.
To Doug's wonderful friend Lisa Robert Lewis, editor of The Record in Troy NY. Doug was proud to work (and argue) with Lisa. Her friendship and fairness in dealing with Doug's illness in the last days of his life, gave him comfort and peace of mind. Her years of dedication to Doug and his work was so appreciated by him. Her listening ear when I had to call her was a blessing to me.
To Linda - director of HR at the Troy Record, her ability to assist Doug in filing for insurance and keeping his paperwork in order was a blessing to me and to Doug. Allowing us to focus on Doug's needs and keeping him with us as long as possible. Thank you so very much.
To all those who took the time to remember Doug in their news columns and on-air editorials - Doug would have been so proud to know he was being remembered by those that he admired. You offered such comfort to us as his family - it was so wonderful to know we weren't alone in missing him.
To my sister Carol, in Anchorage Alaska, who provided me with the emotional and financial support during this difficult time. Her love and concern for all of us, gave me the strength to look at each day. Doug loved you Carol and you him. Thank you our dear sister.
And of course to Doug's beloved Jean - who is mentioned often in this blog. She was the strength and light in all of our lives during this difficult time. Setting her own grief aside. No words could ever express my deep gratitude for her love of my brother.
Please remember as you read these words, I am not a professional writer, nor do I have the talent my brother possessed. He is not here to edit my words, commas, or punctuation. However, each word written is heartfelt. Thank you dear friends.
****Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I have forgotten someone in this note, don't be shy!