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Douglas Gary Speck

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Douglas Gary Speck Obituary
Speck, Douglas Gary
October 16, 1947 - March 4, 2010
Douglas Gary Speck was called by our Lord on Thursday, March 4, 2010, at age 62, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Doug's battle with melanoma epitomized the character and qualities he showed throughout his life: unwavering loyalty and commitment to family, friends, and colleagues; deep inner strength in confronting the many challenges of life; profound courage in the face of adversity; and an abiding respect for anyone and everyone who touched his life, regardless of position or status.

Throughout the difficult times he never lost sight of what was most important to him: the love and care of those who were close to him. Doug's life was no brief candle, but rather a splendid torch which he made burn as brightly as possible, before handing it on to future generations.

Doug was born in North Dakota in 1947 and moved to California with his family in 1948. He graduated from Eagle Rock High School, Pasadena City College, and California State Polytechnic University (Pomona), before earning a master's degree in education from Azusa Pacific University.

Doug retired in 2007 after a distinguished thirty-five year career, which included teaching at Hueneme, Channel Islands and Arcadia High Schools. Recognizing that a healthy mind needs a healthy body, Doug maintained a daily physical fitness regimen throughout his career and into his retirement, and could be seen riding his bicycle on the bike path in the South Bay.

Doug's achievements in advancing the cause of high school track and field are legendary. He coached cross country and track throughout his entire career, rising to become one of the leaders in the administration of interscholastic athletics in California. His contributions were instrumental in the early development of the Arcadia Invitational. He ultimately became the Invitational's Meet Director, and after his tenure in that position he remained connected to the event for the rest of his life. The Invitational became what it is today -- a meet which has produced 24 national high school records and has sent 125 meet alumni to represent the United States in the Olympic Games - in no small part due to Doug's tireless efforts.

In 1987, Doug was named "Consultant to Juniors" by USA Track & Field, the nation's governing body for the sport and held that position for the next twelve years. Locally, Doug served on several high school advisory committees for cross country and track, and was active in advancing legislation supported by the California Interscholastic Federation and other student-athlete organizations.

Doug was influential in the world of track writing and announcing. He contributed extensively to California Track and Running News and he was also widely recognized as California's foremost announcer at high school track and field meets. According to many veteran observers, Doug's careful, detailed, and caring biographical introductions, coupled with his knowledgeable and enthusiastic race calls, provided competing athletes with an extra mental and emotional edge that contributed to the breaking of dozens of national records over the years.

Doug was also deeply involved with the National Scholastic Sports Foundation and he also contributed generously to the Nike Outdoor Nationals, Nike Cross Nationals, and Kinney/Footlocker Nationals.

Realizing the enormous potential of the Internet Doug set out to master the new technology. In an effort to broaden the scope of coverage of the sport he loved, Doug then teamed up with Rich Gonzalez to create DyeStatCal. Doug's knack for technology encompassed all areas of his life; his photographic and videographic talents were constantly on display, whether he was reporting on the best and brightest in high school track, or chronicling every significant family event - from weddings to birthdays to holidays to births.

To recognize Doug's unique and long-lasting influence on high school cross country and track, the National Scholastic Sports Foundation established the Doug Speck Award for Excellence and Innovation, of which Doug himself was the inaugural recipient shortly before his passing. Accepting the award that was named after him while facing his own mortality, Doug epitomized the true sportsman by commenting that he had "enjoyed the battle" with his illness. When word of his passing spread, several hundreds from all walks of Doug's life friended the Facebook page that had been established to commemorate him, and many who knew and loved Doug adorned their running shoes with the initials "D.S.," in loving tribute to their mentor, colleague, friend, and coach.

Doug's lifetime commitment to the improvement of mind and body inspired those around him to achieve their best. Thanks to the example set by their father Doug, both Kerri and Jennifer, his daughters, have pursued successful professional careers. Doug also formed a special bond with his granddaughters Maggie, age seven, and Esme, age one; He and Maggie created many special memories - most involving the sharing of an ice cream cone!

Doug shared the last decade of his life with his beloved Leslie, in a relationship marked by simple living, heartfelt devotion, and mutual love. Throughout their many adventures, they never lost sight of what was most important -- each other.

Doug will be deeply missed by his loving family: his mother, Gertrude Speck of San Dimas; his father Dale Speck of Rancho Mirage, and Dale's wife Margie; his former wife and the mother of Kerri and Jennifer, Kathy Speck; Leslie Paoletti; his brother and sister-in-law, Larry and Sheila Speck; his daughters Kerri Speck and Jennifer Speck Perkins; his sons-in law Paul Marks and Jeffery Perkins; his granddaughters Maggie and Esme. He is preceded in death by Andy, Doug and Leslie's beloved rabbit.

A memorial service to celebrate Doug's life is being planned.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Angeles Clinic Foundation, 2001 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 560W, Santa Monica, California.

Published in the Los Angeles Times on Mar. 15, 2010
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