The memory of Lee Douglas, a well-loved Colorado broadcaster, was honored Friday afternoon with a funeral ceremony in Pueblo.
The long-time sports director at KOAA passed away on Super Bowl Sunday.
Tears were shed and laughter shared as hundreds gathered at Praise Assembly in Pueblo to mourn the loss, but more importantly celebrate the life of sportscaster Lee Douglas.
Sports jerseys and football helmets donned the stage in memory of Douglas’ 30-plus year broadcasting career. As well as a Hawaiian shirt, which friends say he wore all the time. Friends of Douglas wore his neck ties to the funeral.
“What you saw on the air is what he was behind the camera. He was a friendly, happy-go-lucky guy. But make no mistake about it; do not differentiate that with someone who just coasted through life. He was passionate about what he did and was the hardest working guy I know,” said co-worker and friend, KOAA News Anchor Rob Quirk.
The emotional ceremony tugged at the hearts of many in attendance, feeling his life on earth was too short, wishing for more time. Despite being hospitalized for kidney failure, his death came suddenly and shocked the Southern Colorado community.
But loves ones and loyal viewers say his legacy will live on.
“He touched so many lives, that’s what it comes down to. He left this world a better place then when he came in, and I think that says it all,” said Rob Quirk.
Many described Douglas Lee Cooley “Lee Douglas” as a “giant of a man” who had a big personality and a huge heart.
“I think that the outpouring of support, love and compassion that you’ve seen from the community at large, our viewers, just people across Southern Colorado shows that he touched so many lives in so many different ways. Not just as a broadcaster, but he was a very compassionate man, a very kind-hearted and giving man,” said Rob Quirk.
Pictures and videos were shared of Douglas’ life and his career at KOAA. News 5 created a special video in his memory.
Others spoke of the values and virtues that Lee Douglas possessed, always “doing the right thing even when it wasn’t easy” and “never raising his voice”, being a man of “integrity.”
While co-workers say he had a strong work ethic and passion for his career, they say he always made time for others who needed him. Whether it was throwing the football around with a young boy or reading a book to a child. “If
Scripture relating to “sports” was even read in his memory, talking about the race of life. His daughter read a poem she wrote about him saying he was a “hand to hold, example to follow, and the man I wish all men to be.”
The 57-year-old was described as always having a smile and is remembered not only by close friends but viewers as having an “infectious laugh” and “deep gravelly voice” that commanded attention.
KOAA co-workers said “he was the best among us.”
“He was much more than just someone who came into their living rooms everyday and read them scores and told them stories about football games. He was truly an honest man with integrity, with character, a good laugh, and liked to have a good time,” said Rob Quirk.
Lee Douglas was not only a fixture at KOAA for a long time but a well-known member of the Pueblo community graduated from Centennial High School, serving as Assistant Pueblo City Manager, and Assistant State Fair Manager. He also attended CSU-Pueblo as began his radio career at KDZA where he was called the “master of memories”.
The award winning broadcaster was also specially recognized for his work with the Air Force Academy.
Douglas Lee Cooley was born on September 18, 1954 and died on February 4, 2012.
Loved ones say he is not gone, instead “broadcasting in the big booth in the sky”.
He will be missed by many.