Douglas Read "Doug" Seelye, 78, of Richland, MI, passed away peacefully on Sunday morning, March 5, 2023, at Comfort Living Home #2 in Portage, MI.
Doug was born on April 23, 1944, to the late Harold Seelye and Dorothy (Read) Seelye in Battle Creek, MI. He is survived by his wife, Diane Seelye, two children, David (Sara) Seelye, Dan (Jodi) Seelye, and four grandchildren, Lilly, Kaylee and Katelyn, Brooklyn respectively. Additionally, his sister Sharon (Frank) Wichnal, brother-in-law James (Sandie) Banach, and five nieces, Tina, Kathy, Jeannie, and Liza, Tanya respectively.
Doug grew up in Battle Creek, MI in the Lakeview area. Following in his parent’s footsteps, he started learning photography at an early age, helping his father as an assistant shooting wedding pictures. In high school, Doug began taking photos for the local newspaper, the Battle Creek Enquirer. After graduating from Lakeview High School in 1962, he enlisted in the United States Navy where he was stationed on the USS Canberra. He was a photographer with the Navy, traveling to many places around the world, and ultimately was stationed in San Diego, CA.
After the Navy, Doug took a job at the Eaton Corporation in Battle Creek, MI where he machined engine valves as a millwright. He also continued as a semi-professional photographer, shooting weddings on weekends. It was at one of these weddings where he met Diane who was a Maid of Honor for the bride and groom. In an interesting turn of events, Diane’s father turned out to be the Navy Commander who swore Doug into the Navy many years earlier. Doug and Diane married June 5, 1971, in Battle Creek, MI and would be celebrating their 52nd wedding anniversary this summer. Ultimately, they settled down and made a permanent home in Richland, MI in 1971.
After working for the Eaton Corporation for 18 years, they closed the plant in Battle Creek. Doug decided to start his own business based on one of many inventions and product improvements he developed over the years. “Seelye’s Shot Dolly’s” was named after an automotive body repair tool he created. This and future product designs were distributed and sold through catalogs such as U.S. Industrial Tool and direct to automotive body shops throughout the country.
Doug also did a great deal of automotive repair, body/paint, and metal fabrication work in his shop and therefore later rebranded the company, “Seelye’s Repair”. There wasn’t much that Doug couldn’t fix or repair, and if he didn’t know how he would quickly learn. He also was an excellent teacher, and regularly had his kids David and Dan involved in his work. He taught them to fix most anything with an engine, learn to weld, lay cement, roof houses, etc. Doug’s work ethic was second to none, and he instilled this trait in his kids by teaching them to be continuous learners and always help others.
Doug did find time to relax, however, in-between his work and many projects. He enjoyed playing piano and keyboard throughout his lifetime, much like his mother. Alternatively, though, he was able to play songs completely by “ear” without sheet music. Often you would find him taking a break throughout the day to sit down at the keyboard and play music, along with his cats he enjoyed playing with throughout the years. He also loved having his kids play songs along with him, which continued on with his grandkids later in life.
Doug and Diane also enjoyed camping and were avid RVers. They owned a prized 1986 31ft Avion La Grande travel trailer throughout the time their kids were growing up, and a motorhome later in life. While they took a handful of long trips with their Avion travel trailer to Florida, etc., they more regularly camped with close friends and family for weeks at a time in Yankee Springs State Park on Gun Lake in Michigan. Doug and Diane enjoyed fishing, boating and teaching the kids how to ski. They learned their love of camping from Doug’s parents who were avid “Airstreamers”, and ultimately Doug and Diane passed this love of RVing to both their children and grandchildren who carry on this tradition to this day.
Doug will be sorely missed by those that knew him, as he was caring, honest, hard-working, and always willing to help others. Please join us in celebrating his life and impact on all of us.
The family will receive friends 9:00 to 10:30 a.m., Saturday, March 11th at the Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Richland Chapel where services to celebrate his life will begin at 10:30 a.m., Saturday. The family will continue the celebration of Doug's life with a memorial reception (immediately following the memorial service) at the Haven Church, 5350 N Sprinkle Rd, Kalamazoo, MI 49004. Maps will be available at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Personal messages for the family and favorite memories of Doug may be placed here at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.