'Doug died': Fargo man has the last laugh
FARGO — Even if you count spaces and punctuation, Douglas Legler's obituary in today's Forum is shorter than his name.
It reads simply: "Doug Died." Many people use an obituary to weave a detailed narrative of a loved one's life. But that wouldn't stand for Legler.
"He said over and over, when I die I want my obituary to just say 'Doug Died,' " says Janet Stoll, Legler's daughter. "(Other people's obituaries) would say 'he was the president of this, a director of this' and Dad would say, 'What, couldn't they hold down a job?' "
Despite the brevity of his obituary, Legler lived a rich and full life complete with his own career changes, Stoll says. He was a longtime driver for Nash Finch, later working in vending machine repair and painting farm equipment.
He was a singer, too, and once placed second in a talent show. He was a fan of country music, especially the music of Ernest Tubb. He loved cars and took the occasional trip to the casino.
But what really defined her father, Stoll says, was his ability to laugh and make others laugh.
"He was very lighthearted and had a great sense of humor," she says. "He was very quick-witted, and funny. He was one of a kind, he really was. Everyone loved him that met him."
The 85-year-old Legler's last few months were difficult, Stoll says. He lost his girlfriend, Renee, unexpectedly last fall. Legler's wife, Beverly, Stoll's mother, died 17 years ago.
Despite these hardships and a "gruff exterior," she says that Legler had a "heart of gold."
"He loved my mom deeply ... she was the love of his life," she says. "He loved them both. He was kindhearted and generous. He didn't realize how much people loved and cared about him."
Those people will gather to remember Legler on Thursday with a celebration of life at 6 p.m. at Copper Ridge Event Center in Fargo.
Because that information wasn't included in his brief obituary, Stoll says she was a little concerned that people wouldn't know where to go.
Consider that the final prank of a good-natured jokester.
"I'm sure he's laughing up there now," Stoll says.