A Life Remembered | 'Huge loss for' Arthur

A Life Remembered | 'Huge loss for' Arthur

ARTHUR — From serving Thanksgiving meals in Arthur to promoting economic development in Douglas and Moultrie counties to quizzing coaches at Illini QB Club luncheons, Bob Doan touched many lives.

"No one seems more present than when they are missing," said Bruce Weiman, pastor of Arthur United Methodist Church, who was trying to put into words the impact in Arthur of losing Mr. Doan, 73, who passed away Sunday. "He was up to his ears in just about everything in the community, and if you didn't know him, you wanted to. It's a huge loss for our congregation and our community as well."

Funeral services for Mr. Doan will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Arthur United Methodist Church, 128 E. Illinois St., Arthur. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday at the church.

A University of Illinois graduate with a master's in education, a retired educator and coach and a long-time UI athletics booster, Mr. Doan was most recently working as the community development coordinator with Arthur Area Economic Development Corp.

"I will tell you that the passing of Bob Doan is leaving some giant holes," said Christy Miller, who has worked with Mr. Doan for the past eight years in her role as the Arthur Area Tourism director. She and her family have also lived across the street from Mr. Doan and his wife, Arlone, for nearly 16 years.

It was rare to attend any event in the Arthur community and not see Mr. Doan there, Miller said.

"Bob Doan was one in a million. He was an integral part of so much that made Arthur and the surrounding communities better. ... A believer that every window or door was an opportunity. And a champion for his community," she said.

Retiring after a 35-year career in education that led him into administration and into several communities in East Central Illinois, where he coached multiple sports, Mr. Doan chose to drive a milk truck for a while and worked as a local township assessor. But it was in community development where he again found a passion.

"That suited him well," Miller said. "It was his passion that showed through, his love for the community, the businesses, everything about this community, being at benefits."

Jayne DeLuce, president and CEO of Visit Champaign County, said he was a servant leader who thrived on connecting people to make the Arthur community a better place, both for business and living there.

"He influenced those around him without the need for major public fanfare," she said. "Truly an ambassador for the Arthur area and Illini country, too. I've met few people who could rival the amount of time, passion and dedication given back to his community."

She said he introduced her to Douglas and Moultrie county community leaders a few years ago to create a regional partnership to promote the region.

"It took a few years to develop, and Bob never pushed too hard, yet remained a connector as the bridges were built. Over group meetings, speaking at breakfasts, dinners, other events, and organizing tours, Bob has left a legacy of people who will forever be grateful for his love of making the community a better place," she said.

Brian Moody, executive director with the Tuscola Chamber and Economic Development, said Mr. Doan was a treasured member of the Douglas County community, integral to numerous organizations and efforts, serving on the boards of Douglas County CEO, Douglas County Enterprise Zone and the Amish Heritage Center.

"Just to name a few," he said. "Bob has (been) a strong supporter of regional collaboration and working together to pursue opportunities.

"It makes me very sad — Bob was a very positive influence on so many of our efforts here in Douglas County and East Central Illinois. As a coach, school administrator, businessman and community developer, his roots were deep and his impact vast. He was a kind, loving, jovial and all around wonderful man who will be missed very much by our communities."

Weiman said he took his skills as a coach and put them to use in so many other aspects of his life.

"He really did coach and encourage; that was just his personality," said Weiman, explaining that Mr. Doan also had a sense of humor. He said Mr. Doan would always introduce him to people with the same comment: "This is our pastor, and he is known for his long sermons."

"He had that extrovert personality but wasn't overbearing," Weiman said. "He was incredibly influential in the community, but he was never bossy about it. ... I really enjoyed him. To me, he was just an enjoyable guy."

Mr. Doan bled Illini orange and blue and, evidently, a bit of gold as well.

In the days before a 1997 quarterfinal high school playoff football game between Villa Grove, where he was high school principal for a while, and longtime rival Tuscola, Doan donned school colors, painting his beard blue and gold.

Todd Lindsey, past president and current board member of the Illini QB Club, said Mr. Doan was a long-time club member, a past president and past board member, and willing volunteer in many club activities, including the annual golf fundraiser that Lindsey chairs.

"He helped me out tremendously with that for a very long time," he said, adding that Mr. Doan would always bid during the live auction on an annual trip to travel with the UI football team to an away game. "That was the one thing he always wanted."

As a former coach, Lindsey said Mr. Doan was a knowledgeable fan who enjoyed interacting with the coaches and athletes in a professional way, and always liked asking questions.

"Not fluff questions," he said, adding that as a former coach, he understood sports and football.

No one was more passionate about UI sports, especially football, Lindsey added.

"Some as passionate, but no one more," he said recalling that for many years, Mr. Doan also coordinated bus trips to away games for club members, and sometimes, he would take his own RV along to accommodate more people, and he'd always take it up to the football team's spring camp in Rantoul, too.

"He was pretty legendary for that," Lindsey said.

And Doan was always extremely positive, Lindsey said, always maintaining hope that the football program would turn around.

"We need more people, more fans, like Bob Doan," he said.

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