Killingbeck leaves lasting legacy for family and friends
MILFORD — Sometimes, it seems like life is not fair and we are left picking up the pieces. For the family and friends of Doug Killingbeck, they can find peace in the man that was taken from them.
Killingbeck, a 1980 graduate of AuGres-Sims High School, died on Saturday May 21, while trying to save a 16-year-old boy who’s canoe flipped in the Huron River Dam in Milford. The boy also perished in the incident.
According to local reports, water in the river was turbulent and Killingbeck attempted to save the boy when his canoe capsized as well.
Doug Killingbeck’s mother, Patricia Killingbeck of AuGres, said Doug came upon the scene in progress at the dam while out paddling and training for an upcoming race he planned to enter.
She said eye witness accounts reported that when Doug heard shouting of distress, he ran around the dam, put his life jacket on, and launched his canoe into the dam backwaters to try to reach the child, who was already under water.
Killingbeck said her son was an active person who loved to canoe.
“Doug was a strong swimmer, held a black belt in karate, ran, biked, lifted weights to keep fit,” she said. “Keeping fit was built into his day as part of his routine.”
Patricia said Doug enjoyed bringing his canoe to AuGres whenever he could.
“He enjoyed getting together with paddling partners and cousins, Eric Dittenber and Jerry Killingbeck to practice paddling whenever they could get together, or partner Jesse Gordon to talk canoes,” she said.
AuGres Mayor LaVern Dittenber said he was privileged to know Doug.
“He was a well rounded person and a good person at that,” he said. “Doug had a great outlook on life and was a good father and husband to his family.”
Patricia said Doug’s family has received hundreds of messages from friends and people who respected Doug.
“There is so much to say about Doug's character and his role as a son, brother, husband, father and friend,” she said. “His family was as proud of him as he was of all his family. Doug was very family oriented and everything he did, revolved around his family first.”
Patricia said that Doug's family has received recent information from Milford Police, Sergeant Mathew Brumm that he has applied for the Carnegie Hero Reward Fund for Doug. She said the Milford Police Department holds Doug's heroic efforts to save another persons life in the highest regards.
A memorial fund has been established for Doug's family at Doug Killingbeck Memorial Fund, Fifth Third Bank, 155 East Liberty, Milford MI 48381.
Doug leaves behind a wife of 17 years, Karen and two daughters Brianna, 15, and Natalie, 12.