The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Douglas LeRoy Filppula


April 18, 2018

ONTONAGON, Mich. - Douglas LeRoy Filppula, 75, a resident of Ontonagon, passed away unexpectedly on April 3, 2018.

He was born on Oct. 28, 1942, in Ontonagon to Onni and Edith (Kangas) Filppula and was a graduate of Mass City High School, where he lettered in track and basketball and played in Art's baseball league. He received an associate degree from Suomi College in 1962 and his Baccalaureate (1964) and Master's degrees (1968) from Northern Michigan University.

Doug spent his career with the Ontonagon Area Schools. He coached the boys' track team (1968-1977) winning a state championship in 1969 and also supported the football and basketball teams. Even after his playing days were over, he loved watching all sports: Professional, college, high school and also the kids. After retirement in 1996, Doug returned to teaching at the newly created Alternative School in Mass City for several years, and continued mentoring. No matter what kind of student Doug worked with, he always stressed the importance of finding something in life that brings passion and joy.

He was an avid collector of many things and appreciated all wildlife, especially waterfowl. He enjoyed a good game of cribbage and was enthusiastic about teaching it to others. Generous, almost to a fault, he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.

"Filps" was amazingly insightful, always non-judgemental, and universally supportive in helping countless students and adults not only find their path in life, but be inspired along the way. He touched many lives and his legacy will live on through the people and lessons he taught every day as a teacher, coach, mentor, father-figure and friend. Doug was a man who treated the community like family and his family in turn is forever grateful for how the community took care of him.

Doug was preceded in death by his father, Onni Filppula Jr .; his mother, Edith Filppula; and his brother, Harvey Filppula.

Surviving are his sister, Cathy (Rich) Luxton, of Green Bay; his uncle, Ken Filppula, of Avon Park, Fla .; his nieces, Brenda (Brian) Voss, of Sheboygan, Wis., Karen (Lori McArthur) Filppula, of Green Bay, Laura (Lynnette) Filppula, of Dearborn Heights, Diane (Matt) Filppula-McNab, of Dearborn Heights; his great-nephews, Joshua and Noah Filppula-McArthur, of Green Bay, Nate Walcher and Dustin (Marie) Cleveland, of Hillsdale, Mich .; his great nieces, Aela, Alexandra, and Lindsay McNab, of Dearborn Heights; his great-nephew, Dorian Cleveland; and an abundance of very dear friends and family.

A visitation from 10 a.m.-noon with memorial service and lunch to follow will be held on Saturday, April 21, 2018, in the Ontonagon Area Schools gymnasium. Pastor Dave Blake will officiate. Interment will be in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Greenland.

Arrangements are being handled by Cane Funeral Home in Ontonagon. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at

In lieu of flowers, the family is setting up a memorial fund to benefit the Ontonagon Area Schools. Donations can be sent to the "Doug Filppula Foundation" at the Ontonagon Area School, 701 Parker Avenue, Ontonagon, MI 49953.


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