Almost .. A Dick Button, Jr.
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 Button, 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 Team were headed for Prague to the World Championships. A dream come true!
It was not be. Unfortunately Sabena Flight 548 carrying the entire US figure skating team 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 between Rutland and Longacre Streets south of Grand River in the Grandmont – Rosedale neighborhood. It’s behind the Edison Elementary School across the street from Douglas Ramsay’s childhood home.
As always, thanks for reading.