I just wanted to share a couple of quick stories about Doogie. I met him when I was a brand new CFI. As I'm sure you are aware ,flight instructors are the best pilots in the world...just ask one and he'll tell you so. Doogie was in town for a meeting at the flight club in Bountiful, during the meeting on that cold winter evening the weather came down and covered the whole area in a very thick freezing fog. It was the kind of weather you just can't fly in when you're in a Cessna and everybody knows it. It was also a great opportunity for Doogie to screw with the new guy. So with the help of Dave Luker (my instructor) he said good by rather loudly and said the "well..weather looks pretty good out there so I'm gonna launch". He then proceeded out on the ramp. I stood there watching him through the window shocked as he took the chains off the plane and did his preflight inspection. I could just barely see the airplane for the thick fog. I went over to Dave and said he's not really going to do this is he? That plane is covered with ice!! Dave casually shrugged his shoulders and remarked that he "was good". I was in horror, this crazy man was going to kill himself right in front of my eyes and nobody seems to get it! Thats when I realized that it was all up to me. Like a junior super hero armed with my two day old certified flight instructor certificate I boldly marched out onto the ramp. By the time I got to the airplane he was strapped in with the engine running, I banged on the window yelling over the sound of the motor "Hey wait a minute!" Doogie turned his head and looked at me with the the stupidest grin I think I have ever seen. He waved at me as he added power an disappeared into the fog. The next few minutes were so eerie, I could not see a thing but I could hear the sound of the engine out there in the distance as it revved up and down, it moved slowly from right to left and then turned around going left to right. What in the world was this guy doing?! I just shook my head. eventually he pulled back into the ramp and put the plane away. As he was walking to the parking lot I stepped up beside him and said " so you came to your senses huh?" He put his hand on my head and ruffed up my hair like I was his little brother and said "no buddy, while I was performing a delicate take off in the fog, and eating a sandwich with my left hand, I took a couple of phone calls with my right hand and it turns out that I need to stay in Salt lake for another day or so." It took me a month or two before I realized just how funny that actually was. I think Doogie was a man who would truly go out of his way for a laugh even if it was only funny to him.
Years later we were both Captains at the same airline. The union drive was in full swing, Doogie and I were of exactly of exactly opposite opinions on the issues. We had a dozen or so conversations over a couple months each of us trying to convince the other of our point of view. Although we were passionately opposed on that subject Doogie never once was disrespectful to me in any way! He did not allow that situation to have any effect on our friendship, I admired that in him. I don't think he ever knew how much respect I gained for him through those conversations.
Throughout my life when I think of Doogie I think I will always remember him taxiing around aimlessly in the fog revving the motor of that little airplane and laughing to himself!May our mighty God bless you and your family in the years to come!
A friend you have never met: