Douglas Ramsay – ‘Dick Buttons, Jr.’
Does the end of a dream give rise to another?
Young Douglas Ramsay was a hockey enthusiast and a phenomenal free skater. He began training with the Detroit Skating Club at the age of 8 years, under the eye of Coach Bill Swallender. Ramsay’s hard work and elegance on the ice aided him in winning a series of Midwestern figure skating competitions. He became an audience favorite and was often referred to as ‘Dick Buttons, Jr.’.
In 1961, Douglas was 16 and a student at Redford High School. He placed 4th at the US Championships and became a team alternate for the 1961 US Figure Skating team that would eventually be headed to the Olympic Games. A last minute health withdrawal by another team member gave Ramsay a secured team position. Within a week, Ramsay, Swallender and the entire US World Team were headed for Prague to the World Championships. A dream come true!
Unfortunately, their plane – Sabena Flight 548 – crashed near the Brussels airport. Everyone on board perished. In a 2010 Free Press article, his sister Christine fondly remembered Douglas.. “He was like my best friend.. We loved dancing to American Bandstand, making up routines in the basement. He was a great person.”
This tidy park is tucked away on Rutland Street in the Grandmont – Rosedale neighborhood. It’s behind the Edison Elementary School across the street from Ramsay’s childhood home.