DENVER — The on-air personalities you invite into your home every week, simply by turning on your TV, can feel like family.
Never was that truer than it was in the late 1990s and early 2000s with Denver7’s Pam Daale.
“I ask them if they remember the wheelchair meteorologist and they always have fond memories of her, even if they didn’t know her,” said Logan Peitzman, Daale’s son.
Daale was beloved by co-workers, friends, and the thousands of fans who gladly welcomed her to their living rooms every night.
In 2004, after a long and courageous battle with breast cancer, practically the entire state of Colorado mourned the loss of Daale.
“I’d never met anyone like Pam before and I’m certain I never will again,” said Daale’s husband Don Peitzman while delivering a eulogy at her funeral.
She was a dedicated meteorologist, an inspiration to others and most of all, a doting mom who loved her family.
“Now, she’s in heaven dancing with God with no pain, no cancer, and no wheelchair,” said Daale’s daughter Scottie Peitzman at the funeral.
Daale’s legacy now lives on in her two grown children, Scottie and Logan Peitzman, who recently paid a visit to some old friends at Denver7.
“When I was a little kid, I just kind of remember being mystified by this whole building and the reporting room and thinking, ‘Wow, this is my life. I’m going to visit this super high tech building all the time and it’s going to be super cool,’” Logan said.
Colleagues remember Daale as a bit of a speed demon in that wheelchair, often with Scottie and Logan in her lap as she prepared to do the weather at what was then called 7 News.
“She had a lead foot,” said Denver7 Sports Director Jeff Howe. “I can’t remember how many times I almost got run over by you guys speeding down the hallway in Pam’s wheelchair as she was preparing to go on the air.”
The wheelchair was part of who Daale was.
“She was in a horseback riding accident when she was very, very young,” Scottie said. “She was paralyzed from the waist down.”
That injury at just 16 years old didn’t deter Daale from chasing her dreams or change the caring and kind person she always was.
“I have found many more diaries when we were cleaning out dad’s house and she’s got a diary entry from the day of the accident,” Scottie said. “And rather than writing about how she’s so sad that she’s never going to walk again, and she’s in so much pain — she literally was talking about how cute her nurses were. And how they would pick her up and she would just swoon.”
Of course, as they say, after that, the rest is history.
Daale would go on to become one of the most beloved and inspirational on-air personalities to ever work in television news.
“Not only a paraplegic, and a woman, in TV, in the early 90s — like how many amazing things can you do at one time?” Scottie said.
“We haven’t met a single person who could find a single bad word to say about our mother,” Logan said.
“So, it’s kind of frustrating,” Scottie laughed. “I need somebody to tell me one time that she cut them off in traffic, you know?”
Even in Daale’s final days, Scottie and Logan said their mom lived with grace, dignity and compassion.
“When it was getting pretty close to the end, I would go to her treatments with her,” Scottie recalled. “And we had one conversation when we got home where I was like, ‘So are you going to come back and visit me when you die?’ And she was like, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do that.’ I was 8, and I think as an 8-year-old I got it a little bit more, and I understood a little bit more that, yeah, this is the end.”
Her last days were filled with precious moments the siblings will never forget.
“She said, ‘I’m going to be with Jesus now and I can’t come back, but it’s OK and don’t be sad because I’m not going to have a wheelchair and I’m not going to be in pain anymore. And you don’t need to be sad about it because I’m going to be OK. I’m just not going to be here,’” Scottie recalled her mom saying.
“She was a beautiful person inside and out,” said Denver7’s Anne Trujillo.
“It’s always really nice to hear, but it’s hard to hear, too, because you always think, ‘Man, if we could have had a little bit more time, that would be cool,’” Scottie said.
“This happened after mom died, but I woke up in the middle of the night when mom would come home after the news and I thought I saw someone and I asked them for pink lemonade,” Logan recalled. “And no one was there, but I swear I got a cup of pink lemonade. The weird thing was it was someone who was standing, not someone in a wheelchair, but I thought it was my mom.”
Scottie and Logan have now lost their dad, too. Don Peitzman passed away in 2020.
“I envision my parents are just together now,” Logan said. “They’re happy, they’re without pain, they’re just free.”
And what a legacy the couple left.
“Kind of a really incredible story of resilience and dedication and love,” Scottie said. “I mean, I think being a really good person can get you really, really far.”
“My memories are kind of slim and limited, but they are precious,” said Logan who was just 5 years old when his mom passed away. “Around here, everyone loves her, around the neighborhood everyone loved her. She just radiated love and happiness. You couldn’t be around Pam Daale without feeling loved and happy, you know? A one-in-a-million woman.”