COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — “They just don’t make them like Keith anymore.”
Keith Stovall, a man who shared music and generosity with Colorado Springs for decades, passed away last month after battling multiple health issues, including COVID-19.
At his memorial service on Saturday, June 26, the local community remembered Stovall’s profound influence, selflessness, and friendship throughout the years.
Remembering Colorado Springs icon Keith Vincent Stovall
The Colorado Springs community celebrates the life of local icon, Keith Stovall.
Stovall participated in many bands, but locals knew and loved him as Phat Daddy in the Phat Horn Doctors—a funk, R&B, jazz, blues, Latin and pop band, with a focus on famous covers.
Keith Clayton, a friend of Stovall, said one of his fondest memories of Stovall is how they met: About 15 years ago, Clayton and his wife were looking for an event for New Year's Eve. After hearing about the Phat Horn Doctors, Clayton called Stovall to inquire about tickets to the show.
“We chatted for almost two hours before he said, ‘Oh that’s right! You wanted tickets!’” Clayton recalled.
Even though they hadn’t met yet, Clayton remembers how Stovall made him feel like a lifelong friend after just a short period of time.
“I’m going to miss Keith. He had such a great influence on my life. Keith was a community servant. He loved kids and working with them,” Clayton said. “Keith helped build a future based on the next generation coming up.”
Stovall was known for his love of helping kids and mentoring other musicians in the Colorado Springs community. In addition to fostering children with his wife, Rachel, Stovall also supported struggling adults like Datrion Delaney.
When Delaney first moved to Colorado Springs, he was unhoused and at the lowest point in his life. While Delaney was struggling, he met Stovall through someone he knew at the gym. “It was nothing but God that brought Keith in my life,” Delaney said, recalling how Stovall took him in, showed him what a real family looked like, and offered the fatherly love that Delaney felt he was missing.
For Delaney, Stovall is the reason he has a family, owns a home, and strives to be a better man and father everyday.
“I’m pretty sure Keith has touched others in the same way he’s impacted me,” Delaney said. “I honor Keith by being a better man, so that part of Keith lives on through me.”
Tom Huen, a friend and Phat Horn Doctors band member, said it was an honor to perform music beside Stovall.
“Playing music with Keith was great. I mean, he was super talented. He made it a lot of fun,” Huen said. “Every show was a good time. Honestly, my best memories of Keith are getting together having fun every single show. He stepped up to the plate and played his heart out every single time.”
Friends and family said Keith could connect with anybody, even with rival musicians like Levi Maze, who showed up to Stovall’s celebration of life service.
Maze shared that he met Stovall about 25 years ago at a Battle of the Bands competition. While Maze’s band won and Stovall’s group took second place, the Maze said the first place prize ended up being a scam.
“So in actuality, it was the Phat Horn Doctors who won Battle of the Bands because we got nothing!” Maze laughed.
Loved ones gave Stovall a final goodbye at a military service at Pikes Peak National Cemetery.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Stovall enlisted in the United States Navy after finishing high school in 1976. Throughout Stovall’s decade-long military career, he was honored with numerous accolades like the Navy Good Conduct Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and the Humanitarian Service Medal.
While living in Colorado Springs, Stovall enjoyed supporting the community with his wife, Rachel. The Stovalls volunteered for Christmas Unlimited, an annual toy drive, and participated in the Ronald McDonald Telethon.
“He was a father figure to more than we can count,” Rachel said.
Delaney added: “Keith to me is love. He’s the epitome of love...a man, a family man, I saw Keith love all people. He was accepting of all people. I saw how he treated his family, his wife, complete strangers. I myself was a complete stranger."