Douglas M. Manning


Douglas Mitchell Manning, an avid outdoorsman, hunter, sailor and connoisseur of fine colas, departed this life unexpectedly on June 9, 2019. Doug was born April 13, 1951 to Robert and Dorothy (Birdsey) Manning.
He graduated from Glen Lake Community Schools and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University with a degree in resource management. At MSU he honed his skills in event organization as resident advisor with the "Big Empire Campout" as a prime example. MSU provided Doug many friends and co-conspirators for life.
Mr. Manning entered the Coast Guard and ascended to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Being a Coastie gave Doug the opportunity to travel and live in several different areas of the country as well as the material for many great stories about sailing in freezing rain and snow and swimming rescue missions through 20-foot waves.
Douglas married Beth Kaelson in October 1987. The two formed a perfect couple, traveling extensively throughout the country.
After the Guard, Doug sold real estate in the Glen Lake area and sailed Lake Michigan. Doug spent the last several years as an estate manager on Glen Lake, wandering the sands with his dogs.
Mr. Manning was one of the most outgoing people in the world, making friends at every port. He knew and could tell stories about each and every one of them. He spent an enormous amount of time and effort keeping in touch with friends; many will remember getting random postcards and phone calls from him from wherever his travels led. He always had time to talk, always listened and was quick with a smile and wink.
Doug treasured his time hunting, walking in the wild in search of the ever elusive big game. He led group hunts, enlisted new recruits to his beloved sport, taught his nephews and friends the basics of gun safety and constantly shared his joy of the hunt.
His stories of growing up in Empire and service in the Coast Guard, hunting and sailing adventures will be repeated and bring smiles and laughter for years to come. He was a proud American and a strong supporter of individual freedoms.
Douglas is survived by his wife, Beth Kaelson; his mother, Dorothy Manning, of Empire; two sisters, Cheryl Manning, of Empire, and Victoria Manning Brunjes (Peter), of Charlottesville, Virginia; and sister-in-law, Carol Peters Manning, of Empire; and several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his father, Robert H. Manning; and his brother, Robert F. Manning, both of Empire.
A celebration of Doug's life will be held at the Empire Township Hall Friday, June 14, at 1 p.m. Bring your stories to share.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Wounded Warrior Project or a veteran's organization of your choice.
The family is being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
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Published on June 11, 2019
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21 posts

Vince Doa
Aug 12, 2019
Just got into town. I looked for Doug but I hadn’t heard... pretty sad to hear this. I looked forward to having coffee with him in the mornings every year. My family is sad to hear the news. He was larger than life and a one of a kind human being.
Greg Hardman
Jul 26, 2019
What an amazing adventure/life you must have had with Doug. I never met him, but after reading about his life and gaining a sense of the absolute respect all who knew him had for his kindness, loyalty, humor and zest for life, I know you will miss him so very much. I'm very sorry for your loss and will be thinking about you.
John Palmer
Jun 19, 2019
I had the pleasure of serving with Doug on the USCGC Acacia (circa 77-78) and also visited with him several times when he was stationed at the old CG District 2 Headquarters in St. Louis, which was my hometown and where I returned after I got out of the CG in 1979. Doug was an amazing person who had a very cordial, laid-back personality and who truly cared about others. I don't think that he ever met a stranger and always had some great stories to tell. Over the years, we kept in touch and I am so happy that we got to catch up at an Acacia reunion a few years back in Manistee. My condolences go out to the family. May God bless.
Fred Garbo, YNC, USCG (Ret)
Jun 15, 2019
I sailed with Doug on the Coast Guard Cutter Acacia in 1977. I remember him as being a free spirit who sincerely cared about people. I remember one occasion where he did indeed swim through 20 foot seas (no sea story!), diving off the side of the Acacia to swim over to a cabin cruiser which was in serious trouble when the only one onboard who knew how to drive the boat had broken his leg and his wife and daughter were terrified.
When he finally returned to the Acacia several hours later, the Captain of our ship really reamed him out and congratulated him at the same time for his lack of concern for his own personal safety!
Doug attended one of our reunions (about 3 years ago) down in Manis
...tee and regaled us with his lifes stories - a great time was had by all. He will be sorely missed by all of us. My sincere condolences! Fair winds and following seas Doug!!!
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John Storrer
Jun 15, 2019
I met Doug at the Leelanau Roaster. I would look him up whenever I was in town for vacation or hunting. He was a good friend to me. I'll miss him.
Pat Stinson & Mark Videan
Jun 14, 2019
Many years ago, Doug kept us well hydrated with cans of soda pop from LA Grocery while driving us around two counties to find the perfect first home for us in our price range -- no easy feat. He not only succeeded but also attended our "30-years-left-on-the-mortgage" party as a genuine friend, staying around our bonfire swapping stories 'til late in the eve. Every so often he would stop by Miner's North to catch up with Mark, sometimes sharing his joy at his latest graphic novel purchases from Horizon Books. He went out of his way to stay connected with us and always made us feel like friends first. When we attended the dedication of the Robert H. Manning lighthouse, Doug had tears in his e...yes and a soda can in his hands as he greeted us on the beach. Returning to Mich. after several years away, we expected to cross paths again some day but, sadly, never did.. We will miss the twinkle in his eyes and bright, ready smile, (all due credit to Beth). Our heartfelt condolences to his family and many friends and acquaintances. Lightspeeed, Doug.Read more
Jeff Steuer
Jun 14, 2019
The special shipmate photo.......
Jeff Steuer
Jun 14, 2019
Beth - As a shipmate and friend Doug added so much to all our lives. He will be missed greatly. You are in our thoughts and prayer. Amy & Jeff
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Rear Admiral (ret) Tim & Teresa Sullivan
Jun 13, 2019
Beth, Teresa & I send our Most deepest empathy to you & your/Doug's family. He is one of a kind & simply The Best!. Best friend, Best Shipmate always there for all of us & God we'll all miss him so much. But I know he is making our Lord laugh & likely hunting something by now!
Please let us know if we can be of any help.
Love & miss you..Tim & Teresa
Susan Bourne
Jun 13, 2019
Doug was one of the kindest and also the funniest guy we have ever met. He lived an honorable and full life. Beth, we are SO sorry! He will be missed by all that have ever had the privilege to meet him.
Boyd Lewis
Jun 13, 2019
Doug was a special character and a beloved friend of all of our family. We lived together during his Coast Guard days in Washington, DC. I would inevitably see him when I would come back to Empire. He was always full of good cheer and funny stories. Empire will just not be the same without him. He was a true classic. Beth, my thoughts are with you. I wish I was there to give you a hug.
Captain Jeffery Curtis
Jun 13, 2019
Fair winds and following seas my friend. The news of your passing makes my heart sad. I will blow a salute to you as I sail the SS Badger out of Ludington Friday morning.
Paul Kokowicz
Jun 12, 2019
Doug was a frequent customer at Market 22. Very Particular in what he liked. But did love his soup and Market 22 Pizza! I can say he was a good friend of mine, his stories never ending, and always a chuckle at the end. Lord u have a good man coming to visit u. Taken from this earth too early😢 Doug u made me laugh, and to that I thank you🙏🏻 May the Lord Bless ur lovely Wife and family and grant them peace and solice in a time of reflection 🙏🏻💕Amen.
JoAnna Davignon
Jun 12, 2019
Sincere condolences
Kit, Carlton, and Kirk Ketchum
Jun 12, 2019
Doug was our third cousin, through the Birdsey side, and he and my brother Carlton kept us connected through their strong friendship over the years. Doug was one of the most gregarious people I every met, always with a BIG hug and stories that brought hearty laughs. I will miss him. Kit Ketchum, Minneapolis
Deb Parker
Jun 12, 2019
My sincere sympathies to Beth and the family. There are no words to express my deep sense of loss hearing about Doug's passing. He was a man you can't forget as he was a true friend who did things the way he wanted to do. His phone calls were always a treat and his visits always an adventure, never knew quite what to expect. Will miss you, Doug.💝
Margaret Hodge
Jun 12, 2019
Doug was one who made everyone else feel "special". I'll miss his hug he always had for me.
Mary and Dave Hughes
Jun 11, 2019
Sorry we will be unable to attend the life celebration, but do hope it is a celebration of Doug's vibrant personality, with lots of stories, a twinkle or two, to reflect his very engaging personality. He was truly unique!
May you all be comforted through this time of unexpected loss. Love, Mary (Bolton) Hughes and Dave Hughes
Robin Wymer
Jun 11, 2019
I will always remember Doug as a kind and gentle soul. One particular memory was when Doug was helping me get in shape and while running; he made me talk the entire time. He tried to convince me that talking while running was better for me, however, I was breathless and incapable of talking, breathing, and running simultaneously. Doug was like a running machine and rarely broke a sweat. Every Christmas was a special time for me as I enjoyed looking over the cards Doug and Beth sent filled with a collage of special memory photos. You will never be forgotten, my dear friend. Beth, my prayers and love are with you and yours.
Hjalmar westie
Jun 11, 2019
I will deeply miss this mentor and special friend of mine. My prayers to Beth and rest of family.
Mark & Ann Knipp, Damar, KS
Jun 11, 2019
Mark and I were fortunate to get to know Doug when he stayed with us a couple of years ago to hunt whitetail deer in our area. He was adventurous, talkative and outgoing for sure! Rest in peace, bearded explorer. We’ll remember you well when we see that elusive prize buck.