Longtime landfill employee liked to laugh, ski
Being the youngest of four children has its advantages – like knowing your parents love you the most and that you’re the best looking one of your siblings.
That was Doug Bell.
Although he might disagree, the rest of his family knew otherwise.
“My kids always said that we loved Doug the best,” said Barbara Amon, Doug’s mother. “It was just a family joke, but they tolerated it because they loved Doug the best, too.”
Doug Bell, 51, died Tuesday in an accident at the Twin Landfill in Milner. Doug, who had worked at the landfill for 17 years and was its general manager, was working on a bulldozer attachment when it fell on top of him. Routt County Deputy Coroner Mitch Locke said Doug died from a head injury.
On Wednesday, Doug’s mother and older sister, Glenda Bell, shared their stories from Farmington, N.M., about just how beloved Doug was and why he loved living in Steamboat Springs.
“He loved life,” Glenda said. “He loved being alive. He was a real laid-back, loving guy.”
Glenda said her baby brother’s laugh was what got most people to fall in love with him.
“He had this giggle that would tear you up; it was such a funky laugh,” she said. “If he started laughing, it was over. He’d have everyone else in the room laughing.”
The Bell family, a self-described group of “hard-working builders,” grew up on a bean farm in the Dove Creek area. Doug graduated from Dove Creek High School and was the popular captain of the football team, Glenda said.
After high school, Doug worked for his family’s concrete company and then at the Henderson Mine. He eventually followed his passion for skiing and the outdoors to Steamboat Springs. Doug was an avid outdoorsman, spending his free time hunting, fishing and water skiing.
John Centner, who worked with Doug in the 1970s, considered him a lifetime friend.
“He’s been an amazing influence on my life, on my family’s life,” Centner said Wednesday. “The amazing thing about Doug is that you could go months without seeing him, then run into him and it was like time hadn’t passed. It always just picked up where we left off.”
After moving to the area, Doug and his wife of 19 years, Leslie, built their dream home on Buck Mountain Lane, a considerable accomplishment for the couple.
“It was their labor of love,” Centner said. “They scrimped and saved, and they built their dream home.”
“We took pride in the fact that our family helped him build his log home,” she said. “He excelled at those kind of things. He was very inventive.”
Amon, who is 75, recently built herself a new home and was saddened that her “baby” wouldn’t get to see her digging up her yard.
“I know he’s probably looking down, smiling and saying, ‘It’s OK, mom,'” she said.
Doug is survived by his mother, Barbara Amon of Farmington, N.M.; brother, David of Golden; sisters, Glenda and Linda of Farmington, N.M.; his wife, Leslie, of Steamboat Springs; Leslie’s two adult children; and numerous friends and other family members.
In an effort to make coal more competitive against natural gas and renewable energy sources, two of the nation’s largest coal companies, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, have announced that they plan to combine assets in Colorado and Wyoming. Routt County’s Twentymile Mine would be managed under the new joint venture.