Frederick Clark Douglas (1940-2020) of Kalamazoo, MI, left this world to join the heavenly choir on Thursday, November 12, just before 11 p.m. at the age of 80 years, 1 month, and 8 days.
For those of you who knew him well, you know there must have been quite a welcome offered to pull him away just as the late news broadcast was to begin! For his family, growing up with him as News Director at WKZO-TV and Radio meant knowing that at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. he would be in front of the TV to watch his team deliver whatever stories were on the docket. He also enjoyed the many responsibilities of his position including daily editorials and hosting “Face Michigan.” His role offered many opportunities to interview local, state and national leaders, and was honored to visit the White House three times during his journalism career.
Fred treasured his friendships and working relationships greatly, staying in touch with his co-workers and their families. Fred shared with his family and friends so much: a love of life, deep appreciation of music, active and giving faith, unconditional love and support and unending pride in who we were and our accomplishments. He taught us how to work hard, accept and love others for who they were, to value relationships and treasure family. He was exacting about speech and grammar – he expected that his children and reporters would both master and utilize language well, whether written or spoken, and he set a strong example in his work at the station as well as in other arenas.
In addition to being a father, husband, and friend, Fred spent his life giving to and leading in many organizations. He worked at WKZO for 25 years, 20 of those as News Director. He then worked as community services director for Consumers Power Company (now Consumers Energy) and ended his professional career designing and selling Lindal Cedar Homes as the senior vice president of Manitou Custom Homes.
Fred was an active member of First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo for over 56 years, singing in the church choir and never missing a Christmas Eve service during that entire time. Fred held many positions of leadership and responsibility with the United Methodist Church both locally and regionally serving as a lay member to annual conference, serving on the Conference Board of Global Ministries, Kalamazoo District Committee On Ministry (DCOM), and Conference Personnel Committee.
Fred also held positions with the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra, the Kalamazoo Oratorio Society, the Kalamazoo (Downtown) Lions Club, Rotary, Michigan Art Education Association, Michigan Associated Press, and Radio Television News Directors Association among others. His leadership and voice within and in support of these organizations will be greatly missed.
Fred was an alumnus of Interlochen, Olivet College and Western Michigan University, where he was active in the vocal music programs and marching band. In addition to an amazing baritone voice, he also played the piano (both by ear and from written scores) and was an incredible flautist. It’s small wonder that most of his children and grandchildren include music in their lives to some extent. His presence will be missed at many Kalamazoo area concerts and by local choral organizations with which his daughter often performs as well as at his grandchildren’s sporting events and school performances.
He was always involved, always reaching out, always loving, always there; to watch him fade into quiet inactivity was one of the hardest things his family has ever done. They are grateful for the faith he modeled and shared that assures all who believe in Christ that they will be reunited in Paradise. Fred is loved deeply and always by those who mourn his passing and celebrate his transition into eternity.
Fred was born on October 4, 1940, to Franklin and Edna (Allard) Douglas of Allegan, MI, and is survived by his wife, Nancy, daughters Sue (Bob) Daniels and Sarah Swafford, son Rick (Rebecca) Douglas, granddaughters Stacie Daniels and Maggie Swafford, grandsons Erick and Aedan Douglas, great-grandson Alex, the mother of his children, Connie, stepsons Rob (Kristine) Turner and John (Laura) Turner, stepdaughter Karey Turner, and their children, Cassadie, Brody, and Marin, brother Wayne (Ann) Douglas, and many cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Ellen Sue, and many aunts and uncles.
The service to celebrate Fred’s life and love will be held at a later date when it is safe to gather together once again. The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the music program of First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo, Interlochen Center for the Arts, or a music organization which holds significance for you, c/o the funeral home
Condolences may be sent to Nancy Douglas, 5138 Old Colony, Portage, MI 49024 or Sue Daniels, 118 Mariette St., Plainwell, MI 49080.