STORM CENTER: Douty’s philanthropy lives on in Pipestone

STORM CENTER: Douty’s philanthropy lives on in Pipestone

Oxford’s english dictionary defines philanthropy as “the desire to promote the welfare of others.”

No one lived that more than the late Joe Douty, who died unexpectedly on Sept. 3, 2023, aged 47 years young.

Douty’s zest for life was celebrated during a Big South Conference softball game between rivals Pipestone and Luverne on Monday, April 29, at Paulsen Field.

Pipestone resident Greyden Douty threw out the first pitch during a scoreboard dedication ceremony honoring his late father, Joe, on April 29 at Paulsen Field. (Photo by Eric Viccaro)

The scoreboard was dedicated in Douty’s honor, with his son, Greyden, throwing out the first pitch and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” was played over the public address system. For video from the event, consult the Pipestone County Star’s Facebook page.

Song lyrics discuss the “lakes of Minnesota” and the ideals of freedom, the land and family.

Joe Douty’s family stands on the infield at Paulsen Field while Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The USA” is performed. (Photo by Eric Viccaro)

“It meant a lot to us as a family,” said Alison Douty, Joe’s wife, in an email to the Star. “Our softball family, PAS schools and the community as a whole have been so great in helping us to honor Joe in whatever way we can. It’s been a tough few months for all of us, and the dedication was a special way to bring a little light into our lives.”

Joe Douty’s presence was certainly felt as he provided a pair of sun breaks for the Arrows and Cardinals to play softball on a chilly and windy mid-spring afternoon.

Former PAS head softball coach Troy Bouman, current coach Robert Petersen and activities director Rick Zollner were instrumental in making sure the scoreboard was named for Joe, Alison reported.

“Joe gave huge support to the sport with two of his daughters (Mataya and Kaysa) playing,” Petersen explained. “He knew the sport. It’s kind of hard to put into words the impact he’s had in general.”

One of those visions was a new scoreboard at Paulsen Field. The new unit is a showpiece in these parts.

The late Joe Douty’s philanthropy is shown through this new softball scoreboard at Paulsen Field. Douty passed away in early September 2023. (Photo by Eric Viccaro)

The Daktronics-branded scoreboard features the traditional ball-and-strike count, outs, score by innings and runs scored — more detailed than many found across complexes in southwest Minnesota.

Everyone interviewed for this piece explained that it’s another example of Pipestone coming together as a community.

“It’s a nice amenity for a nice complex,” Petersen said. “We’ve received compliments. This community is full of givers.”

Greyden Douty’s pitch was on target, and a fitting way to start it.

“It was so special that coach Petersen asked if Greyden would like to throw out the first pitch,” Alison Douty said. “Joe was Greyden’s hero. Joe loved to teach Greyden all he knew about everything, but especially about sports.”

Greyden, the youngest of the Douty children, has been part of his sisters’ sporting legacy.

“He was super nervous leading up to it (the throw),” Alison continued. “But, he did a great job, and he loved it.”

The national anthem and Greenwood’s music painted the picture of a man who dedicated 26-1/2 years of his life to military service — in August 2002 he was deployed with Battery Alpha, 1st Battalion 125th Field Artillery Regiment out of Pipestone.

Douty was part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the last was a 22-month tour of duty, with 16 of those months spent in an intense combat zone during the mid-2000s — this deployment is the longest for any unit in the United States Army National Guard history.

In Pipestone, Douty was a noted businessman — buying Wilson Manufacturing, Inc., with Alison in 2017. The company makes fasteners used on shafts plus pins and keepers.

Joe Douty was a civic leader and businessman in Pipestone. (Contributed photo)

Douty was a key contributor to the Southwest Minnesota CEO program, which provides entrepreneurship education, coached countless local sports teams, past president of the Pipestone-Jasper Hall of Fame, a volunteer firefighter and delivered Meals on Wheels.

During the never-forgotten COVID-19 era in 2020, Joe and Alison Douty were figureheads in the Pipestone Area Schools’ Senior Banner Project. That lasting legacy can currently be felt simply by looking at all the students featured on lamp posts in downtown.

“In a quiet manner without publicity, he would aid gymnastics, softball, youth baseball and basketball with donations,” Pipestone Publishing Co, Inc., publisher John Draper said. “He would cover things when asked. He was generous with his time, and quick to offer assistance to others.”

PAS gymnastics coach Stacie Wallace echoed Draper’s sentiments.

“Joe was an integral part of PAS gymnastics,” Wallace said. “He was present at every meet, and was a source of encouragement for every kid on the team. He had a fiercely competitive spirit, but he also had a great sense of humor and always knew how to make a kid laugh if she had a hard day.”

Douty served as host for memorable team dinners.

“He cooked special dishes he knew the girls would enjoy,” Wallace explained.

Douty also was responsible for the advance booking of hotel rooms, including for the Minnesota State High School League state meet, and those tradition-laden championship rides on fire vehicles, Wallace noted.

It’s that kind of behind-the-scenes work that made Arrow athletes feel valued.

Last October, Alison Douty presented a check for $25,594.74, which was to be used for the scoreboard dedicated more than two weeks ago.

That legacy continued with a T-shirt fundraiser through SoJo’s Sportswear and Embroidery of Pipestone, the brainstorm of PAS softball player Mylee Weber. Homecoming festivities last autumn featured a patriotic theme one night, with bracelets saying “Live Like Joe” and “Give Like Joe.” 

In fact in Joe’s obituary found in an edition of the Star last September, the family asked for donations for Joe’s projects in lieu of flowers.

Douty’s philanthropic mission will continue with the first-ever #LiveLikeJoe Memorial Golf Tournament on Saturday, July 13, at Pipestone Country Club.

Joe Douty had a passion for all sports, including golf. There will be a memorial golf tournament in his honor on Sunday, July 13. (Contributed photo)

And that outpouring, giving, community-minded nature will continue beyond this summer. Joe Douty would want it that way.

Editor’s Note: This column does not necessarily reflect the views of Pipestone Publishing Co., Inc., or the Pipestone County Star, and are solely that of the author.

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