passed away at 93 on January 3, 2024 at his home in Chelsea, Michigan. He was husband to Thressa Race for over 70 years, a mentor to many, and at the center of accomplished family of sons, daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. His family, friends and colleagues will miss Doug’s dry sense of humor and sage advice.


Doug mentored thousands of students and athletes in his career at Jackson Community College (JCC) (1966-92), Farmington High School (1954-65), and Saline High School (1953-54). He loved football both as a player and a coach. Doug was an offensive guard on Grand Rapids Central’s 1947 state championship football team and later played for Grand Rapids Community College. He coached football in Saline and later was the head coach in Farmington before moving to Jackson to coach community college track, teach, and be the academic advisor for athletes. While in Jackson, he assisted Dave Driscoll at Jackson Parkside High School the offensive line coach and team scout.

Doug was head track coach in Farmington where he gained a state-wide notoriety as a pole vaulting and field-event coach. His Farmington team included Rex Cawley, 1964 Tokyo Olympic gold medalist in the 400M hurdles. The JCC Jets track team routinely finished in the top 10 community college teams in the U.S.

As a high school and community college athlete, he was known for his leg speed. Doug took up distance running in his 50s and became a national masters class runner and an aspiration for his daughter Carrie Schupbach (University of Illinois) and granddaughter Kristina Olsen (University of Alabama, Birmingham), both national-class distance runners.

Doug strived to improve his ability to help others. He graduated from University of Michigan in 1953 and went on to earn master’s degrees from University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University. He developed a well-known reading lab at JCC where students gained critical reading and communications skills, geared to their academic and professional goals. Here, Professor Race was a life coach and academic advisor to many student athletes and others, assisting them in selecting and applying for universities matching their professional aspirations.

Later Years

Doug retired from Jackson Community College in 1992. Thressa and Doug enjoyed living at Browns Lake, spending winters in Florida, and visiting grandchildren in California, Illinois, and Michigan. His 10 grandchildren could count on him to help with homework, for advice, and stories. In 2018, Doug and Thressa moved to Silver Maples retirement community in Chelsea where they continued an active and engaging life into their 90s enjoying exchanging stories with other UM grads. At 79, Doug took up watercolors and sold and presented his work at juried shows in Jackson and Chelsea.


Robert Douglas Race was born February 20, 1930 in East Grand Rapids. He was preceded in death by his parents Buryl and Hazel (Neely) Race, and stepfather Peter Buursma; brother Dick Race and sister Susan Race. Doug is survived by his wife of 70 years, Thressa Rea Race (Switous); children Bruce Race (Vera) of Houston, TX, Tim Race (Maria) of Ann Arbor, Carrie Schupbach (Dave) of Jackson, and Meg Martin of Jackson; grandchildren Ryan Race (Danny Fleischer) of Oakland, CA, Grant Race of Richmond, CA, Kristina Olsen (Jurgen Runschke) of Traverse City, Hanna Boyd (Mike) of Leetsdale, PA, Sydney Martin of Kalamazoo, Erin Martin of Grand Rapids, Ian Race of Evanston, IL, and Julian Race (Jamie Gordon) of St. Louis, MO, and step grandchildren Austin Van Der Karr of Elmhurst, IL and Mitzi Van Der Karr of, Elmhurst, IL; great-grandchildren Aiden Fleischer of Oakland, CA, and August Boyd of Leetsdale, PA.

A private celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

You may use the form below to share a memory or leave a public message for Doug's family. Please allow 24 hours for us to review and post your comment. 


#2 mike and Kay Dugan 2024-01-06 10:24
Deepest sympathy to Tressa and family
#1 mike and Kay Dugan 2024-01-06 10:18
We are neighbors and will miss seeing Doug
We send Tressa and family our deepest sympathy.

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