STAMFORD, Conn. -- Stamford residents mourned the passing Wednesday of Dougie White, who was a familiar sight in the area as he rode his bike nearly every day to area stores.
White, 69, died of an apparent stroke, according to posts on Facebook. While he was most closely associated with the Turn of River section in Stamford, he was well known and loved throughout other neighborhoods as well.
“He is a frequent flyer at my home in the nicer weather ... stopping by for bottles, a cold drink and at times a snack,'' Tara Ormond O'Brien said in a Daily Voice story in 2014. "Dougie is truly an icon in the High Ridge area. I grew up knowing Dougie and now my children have."
“He would show up at my house to play basketball and would rarely miss a shot,’’ remembers Robyn Blosio Bova, a contributor to Daily Voice and Realtor for Higgins Group. “He would talk about the weather, update us on the latest Brady Brunch episode or sing a short song like the theme from "Green Acres."
White lived in the house he shared with his parents. A nephew, Matt Manka, stepped up as White’s final caregiver.
“Dougie”, as he was known throughout Turn of River, worked at Always Reaching for Independence until he retired a few years ago. He continued his daily regiment, which included riding his bike and collecting cans and other items. A doctor asked his nephew to take away Dougie’s bike because it was hurting his feet and ankles. Matt got Dougie a cart, but strangers donated a bike shortly afterwards and Dougie resumed riding.
“Amidst all the media, political, and religious anger, hate, and hostility, a lot of good people were quietly nice to him,’’ Wayne Russell wrote on Facebook. “And, in his own way he brought out something better in all of us who knew him.”
“My heart is broken today,’’ Bova said about White’s death. “Stamford won't be the same without him. I enjoyed writing this story about him a couple of years ago. Thank you Dougie, for the years you protected me as a child and for always making me smile when I saw you around town. A gentle giant gone … but never forgotten.”
"We are appreciative of the community that loved Dougie so much,'' Manka wrote in an email. "He loved everybody in this area. The family is thankful to have everyone showing their support."
A Go Fund Me page has been established to pay for White’s funeral arrangements. Click here to visit the page and consider a donation. Contributions that exceed medical and funeral costs will be donated to ARI.
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