It is with a heavy heart that I write to share the news that long-time Washtenaw County Democratic Party (WCDP) leader Doug Kelley has passed away. Doug passed in his own bed in Glacier Hills Senior Living Community, surrounded by his family, following being hospitalized for a non-Covid-related infection.
Many of us who have spent time volunteering with the WCDP were welcomed/brought into the organization by Doug, myself included. He held numerous Executive Board positions over the years including as Vice Chair and Secretary. He was a tireless organizer for candidates and issues over a long career.
Doug was, perhaps, most proud of being the person who inspired President John Kennedy to create the Peace Corps. Doug founded the group International Development Placement Association which was the genesis of the Peace Corps where Doug was an earlier administrator, later serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, Africa with his young family.
Doug was well-known for his vast collection of political memorabilia, some of which was donated to the WCDP in recent years.
It is difficult to summarize a life as full as the life of Doug Kelley. His contributions to his country and to the causes about which he was deeply passionate could fill an entire book. You can read more about his incredible life HERE. His memoir/essay about the creation of the Peace Corps can be found HERE.
Doug is survived by his first wife Cynthia, his third wife Ellen, his son Peter, and his grandson Miles.
It is without hyperbole that I say that the world is a profoundly better place because of Doug Kelley. Along with his countless contributions, his inspiration of others to organize, advocate, and volunteer their time and talents for the good of all people will be Doug’s continuous legacy for many, many years to come.
We will share details about funeral arrangements and other information when they become available.
Chris Savage, WCDP Chair