Pastor Doug left lasting impression

Doug Carroll works the chef’s station in 2007 at Spencer’s Fresh Markets in Morro Bay.
Doug Carroll works the chef’s station in 2007 at Spencer’s Fresh Markets in Morro Bay.

If you’ve experienced Doug Carroll, your life has been enriched by the most positive man in my world.

Known more commonly as Pastor Doug, he lived large every day of his life until Sept. 21, when his 13-year battle with progressive multiple sclerosis finally ended his quest to “cheat death.” He was diagnosed after a successful climb of Half Dome.

They loved him back in 2004 through 2006 when he served as youth pastor for Morro Bay’s Calvary Baptist Church, now Rock Harbor Christian.

“Doug was a wonderful youth pastor. He always made everything fun and challenging for the kids,” Ileen Doering remembered. “I enjoyed the times I assisted him on outings.

“He encouraged teamwork, which they displayed once when he had a seizure in his kayak and several teens swam out to assist him to shore,” she added.

They loved Doug on the radio; his infectious laugh instantly recognizable. He was a regular caller, fan favorite and guest host on KVEC’s Dave Congalton show.

Congalton wrote of Doug in 2009: “He started frequent trips to Sacramento and Washington to lobby on behalf of MS patients and research. Closer to home, Doug has played a major role in organizing local MS fundraising events.”

How he stopped “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” with his merriment was a favorite Pastor Doug story.

A silenced Leno joined the audience to meet the fan who was laughing so hard at his monologue.

Propelled to Kiwanis leadership, Doug was a major player creating Cayucos’ Memorial Day Lost at Sea event.

We loved “Chef Doug” at Spencer’s Fresh Markets, where he started by sampling cheeses.

He was a crowd magnet at the Morro Bay Harbor Festival, so I boosted him to host the first of many chefs’ showcases.

Spencer’s realized customers loved his personality and cooking talents, so the store built him a chef’s station to sample original recipes he prepared with products off the shelf. When Chef Doug’s voice wasn’t heard Thursdays, we’d hope for his quick return.

He counted and celebrated the times he “cheated death.”

Inspired, Bob Salamacha retells when our friend was side-swiped in a crosswalk: “He just laughed and asked the panicked driver if his wheelchair was mobile.”

He and wife Victoria loved to cruise and travel. Being in a wheelchair never stopped Doug, but in 2011 he spent more time at Bayside Care Center, where Victoria is a coordinator.

“They love me here,” Doug said. “And I love having lunch with Victoria.”

Doug Carroll’s memorial service at Benedict-Rettey Mortuary is at 1 p.m. Oct. 30. Be prepared to enjoy belly-laughs of memories. Pastor Doug — Chef Doug — Friend Doug — will love it!

Reach Judy Salamacha at judysalamacha@gmail.com or 801-1422.