FARGO A friendly, familiar face and voice on the FM underground as a longtime radio host, television news anchor and stage actor has passed away.
Doug Hamilton, 72, of Fargo, died Friday, August 5 in hospice care at Sanford Medical Center.
Hamilton had been battling acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer, since late May 2021.
A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, August 26 at 11 a.m., inside the Delmar J. Hansen Theater at Minnesota Moorhead State University, Hamiltons alma mater.
Hamilton’s son, Ben Hamilton of St. Paul, said he was grateful his father was able to stay with him during treatment breaks at Minnesota Fairview Hospital in Minneapolis over the past year.
I got to know him in a deeper way than I could have ever imagined. Having had that time with him, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, his son said.
Hamilton had a bone marrow transplant last fall from a donor described as a good match, but the transplant didn’t take.
He signed up for several medical trials in an effort to beat cancer and was ready to join another until days before his death, his son said.
Longtime friend John Tandberg said he and Hamilton spoke often.
He was never shot. He was always going to fix this thing, Tandberg said.
Many of Hamilton’s longstanding friendships, including with Tandberg, began in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the theater department at MSUM.
Steve Poitras met Hamilton during the Straw Hat Players season in the summer of 1967 and the two appeared together in numerous theater productions in the years to come, including most recently in I Hate Hamlet at the Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre.
Besides his genius, Doug was a lot of fun. We shared many, many laughs whenever we were together, Poitras said in a statement to the Forum. It’s hard to believe he’s gone.
Hamilton made many other lasting friendships during his radio and television career at Fargo-Moorhead which began in 1975, in which he worked as a news anchor, reporter, executive producer, weather presenter, show host. program and as a voice and spokesperson for business, business. , civic and public service organizations.
Hamilton’s longest stint on television was from 1986 to 1995, when he anchored the 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts at KTHI-TV, now KVLY.
Charley Johnson was a competitor and co-worker of the Hamiltons at various times in their broadcast careers, both at KXJB-TV and KTHI/KVLY.
Doug was sort of the perfect super-smart, well-read, deep thinker, talented actor and broadcaster, Johnson said, adding that Hamilton was naturally understandable, compassionate and witty.
Following his television career, Hamilton spent two years as a news anchor and reporter at KFGO radio, where he was a member of the news crew that received a Peabody for covering the Flood of the Century from 1997.
He then made the transition to academia, where he worked for nearly 15 years as the Executive Director of Academic Advancement at MSUM.
But after retiring from MSUM in 2011, he jumped right back into the media business, taking a job as Main Street host on the Prairie Public radio network, where he worked until last year.
Show producer Skip Wood, who also knew Hamilton from his television days, said Doug was always knowledgeable and well-prepared, insightful and personable.
Many veteran radio guests expressed their appreciation for the excellent interview, Wood said.
Host Ashley Thornberg, whose first day on Main Street coincided with Hamiltons, said she was looking forward to learning from him and working alongside him.
At first, she was embarrassed by her voice and asked Hamilton for advice.
He said, why don’t you try to look like yourself? she says. From the first moment, he taught me to trust myself, Thornberg said.
In addition to his many professional roles, Hamilton has dedicated his time and talent to numerous charitable causes, co-hosting the annual Childrens Miracle Network telethon from 1986 to 1998, being part of the 2000 All-America City delegation for Fargo-Moorhead , chairing the United Way of Cass-Clay campaign in 2007 and hosting Silent Movie Night at the Fargo Theater since 1978.
He was an expert in so many different places. He was just relentlessly creative, Tandberg said.
While Hamilton will be remembered for his professional accomplishments, his friendship and acts of kindness stand out even more.
Poitras said that in 1997, when his South Terrace neighborhood of Fargo was badly hit by flooding, Hamilton was there to help for three full days cleaning the silty Red River water from the basement.
I was the friend in need and he was my friend, indeed, Poitras said.
Another lifelong friend, Steven Spider Johnk, is part of a collection of loyal buddies who get together weekly for drinks and dinner at a certain restaurant in downtown Fargo.
He was a regular member of Mezzaluna-tic with a card for years. The chair at the table will be so hard to fill, Johnk said.
The Hamiltons family said they would like donations or memorial gifts to be made to local arts, public media organizations, artists and
a non-profit organization founded by his beloved partner, Deb Dawson.
Ben Hamilton also asked interested parties to consult the World Bone Marrow Registry
which helps match donors with people with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.
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