Douglas Spencer

January 29, 1953 - January 30, 2024
Traverse City, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Douglas Stuart Spencer

January 29th, 1953 - January 30th, 2024

TRAVERSE CITY, MI - Douglas Stuart Spencer, beloved father, brother, son, and friend passed away at age 71 on January 30th, 2024 after a heroic multi-year battle with cancer. Doug was born on January 29th, 1953 in Lansing, MI to parents Darrell and Suzanne. As one of five siblings, Doug shared a beautifully close knit relationship with his family. He leaves behind his children Connor and Maggie, his mother Suzanne, sisters Debbie and Dottie, his brother Dennis, his many wonderful nieces and nephews, and his former wife of 35 years, Caroline.

Doug attended North Farmington High School in Farmington Hills, MI, and then Western

Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. In 1976, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism from Western and began a nearly 40 year distinguished career in sports media. Doug served as the Assistant Sports Information Director at the University of Wisconsin from 1982-1990. He then took his talents to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, where he served as the Associate Commissioner of Public Relations until he retired from the league in 2014. He worked for two wonderful commissioners of the league who became close personal friends, Otto Breitenbach and Bruce McLeod. While with the WCHA, Doug not only helped grow the league into college hockey’s biggest and brightest stage, but helped launch the WCHA’s women’s league during the 1999-2000 season, today’s preeminent women’s collegiate ice hockey conference. While with the WCHA Doug oversaw 10 Men’s college ice hockey national championships, and 13 Women’s college ice hockey national championships. For his work, he was awarded the prestigious Jim Fullerton Award by the American Hockey Coaches Association in 2015, and the Otto Breitenbach Distinguished Service Award in 2020 by the WCHA.

A resident of beautiful Madison, WI for 40 years, Doug was, above all other things, a deeply loving and loyal family man. He was never prouder than when he was conversing about his children Connor and Maggie and their accomplishments, big or small. An incredibly kind and loving man, these traits in Doug were fully on display in the last years of his life. When many in his place would have lamented a similar diagnosis, Doug never once used his illness as a crutch or an excuse to treat others poorly. In fact, despite his suffering Doug used his twilight years to bring joy and generosity to his friends and family in Traverse City, MI. Along with an avid love of sports, Doug had a deep passion for photography, music, and all things fast and loud. A Beatles super-fan, Doug’s joy for the group’s music, amongst many others, was passed to his children and friends. His fascination with cars and racing was shared by his late younger brother, David, with whom he had an especially close lifelong bond.

Douglas Spencer was preceded in death by his father, Darrell Frederick Spencer, and brother David James Spencer, both of whom he joins in the next life. Doug’s family would like to thank the amazing care team at the Cowell Cancer Center at Munson Hospital in Traverse City, MI for their exceptional care and support over these past years. A celebration of life for Doug Spencer will be held in Madison, WI during May, 2024, details to follow. In lieu of flowers, and in memory of Doug, please consider a donation to Munson HealthCare: