Douglas Ramsay Memorial Playground – Park # 1

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.

The Douglas Ramsay Memorial Playground Detroit MI
Yes. The sign is spelled incorrectly.