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Doug De Boer, former YES Institute board chairman, dies at 53 after being struck by truck in Fort Lauderdale

BY ELINOR J. BRECHER, ebrecher@MiamiHerald.com

72025 Douglas Allen De Boer, a Fort Lauderdale Realtor with a passion for cooking, had just gotten a haircut Wednesday when he tried to cross Las Olas Boulevard at Southeast Second Avenue and was hit by a pickup truck.

He died five hours after the 12:45 p.m. accident at Broward General Medical Center, having suffered a ``severe head injury,'' a punctured lung and multiple broken bones, said his partner of 23 years, lawyer Howard Kurzweil.

The Michigan-born De Boer was 53.

Michael Kornahrens, 26, was turning onto westbound Las Olas in his 2007 GMC truck when he struck De Boer.

Broward County traffic court records show Kornahrens was cited for careless driving on March 1. A pretrial conference in that case is scheduled for April 16.

Kornahrens remained at the scene Wednesday and no charges have been filed.

Friends and colleagues said De Boer was always professional, impeccably dressed, gracious and even-tempered.

``Giving personal interest to each and every customer I serve is the satisfaction I receive from a job well done,'' De Boer said in an online Coldwell Banker company profile.

He served from 2001-2005 on the board of the YES Institute, a Miami-based nonprofit that works to prevent the suicides of gay youngsters through family and school educational programs.

``Doug was completely committed to keeping youth safe,'' said YES Executive Director Rachel Sottile, who praised De Boer and Kurzweil for their unwavering support.

``It would be an incredible world if people were just allowed to be who they are,'' De Boer said when appointed board chairman in 2003.

A successful fundraiser, De Boer was a strong leader, Sottile said.

As chairman, ``he created a certainty of where we were headed. That's very powerful in an organization,'' Sottile said. ``He did it with such charm and charisma. We're devastated.''

Kurzweil called his partner ``very giving, generous, upbeat, positive and funny in a quiet way. He absolutely loved cooking. He'd just bought the new Giada De Laurentiis cookbook and we were planning to go to her [April 8] signing'' in Fort Lauderdale.

``My family loved him more than me,'' Kurzweil added. ``He was so sweet and selfless.''

The couple lived at Las Olas River House, a luxury condo complex two blocks from the accident site. They loved to travel, especially to New Zealand, Kurzweil said.

De Boer, who sold luxury office furniture before becoming a Realtor, specialized in high-end residential properties, said Coldwell Banker colleague Richard Schultz, ``but he did all manner of business and was not a snob.''

A graduate of Hope College in Holland, Mich., De Boer spent 17 years at Coldwell Banker's Coral Gables office before relocating to Fort Lauderdale four years ago.

Nancy Hogan, managing broker at the Gables office, said De Boer would ``extend a hand to help anyone. He was polite, a true gentleman. . .If he felt he couldn't help someone for any reason, he'd give [the listing] to someone else without any hestitation.''

In addition to Kurzweil, De Boer is survived by his parents, James N. and Joy De Boer of Grand Rapids, Mich., and sister Gail Barton of Tucson.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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This is terribly sad. I had the privilege of meeting Doug. He was incredibly sweet and kind. My deepest condolences to his partner and family.

doug was one of my very best friends thru high school and college...this is a heartbreaking loss...my condolences to howard and to jim and joy deboer

It's a bad news. Condolence. I hope the case will flow without problems.

-craig

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