Estelle Duhl, Founder of Fox Hills Passes On

Fox Hills is an amazing golf complex located between Ann Arbor and Plymouth Michigan on North Territorial Road. The public club has 27 holes on the Fox Classic Course, 18 holes on the premium Golden Fox, 18 par three holes on the “Strategic Fox,” a fabulous year-round learning center, as well as banquet facilities. I enjoy the courses, and the learning center’s pros are top notch.

The golf complex was, unusually (I suspect), founded by a woman and now is run by her daughters. Estelle Duhl, the matriarch of the course, recently passed away. An announcement from Fox Hills is below. It’s a pretty amazing story.

Matriarch of Fox Hills passes on …
Estelle C. Duhl (1912 – 2010)
A Woman Ahead of Her Time

Born in Detroit in 1912 of Polish immigrant parents, Estelle Obloj defied the odds, rising to a career in manufacturing during a time when women’s professional opportunities were limited to teaching and nursing. Leaving school in the 11th grade, Estelle completed a program at the Business Institute of Detroit, holding jobs as switchboard operator and a secretary at Western Manufacturing Company. Estelle was soon the office manager and bookkeeper and later a buyer of materials. She became a partner in Transmission & Gear Company of Detroit in 1936 and later the sole owner of Collord Corp., a metal stamping and rubber coating operation, during WWII. At age 33, she married Alexander Dul and had two daughters who now actively manage the family businesses. Estelle continued in manufacturing and founded another metal-stamping company in 1954 (still run by the family today) known as Clips & Clamps Industries in Plymouth.

Always seeking new opportunities, Estelle and Al decided on a change of life career when in their 40s they purchased Shady Hollow Golf Club in 1962. Their entrepreneurial spirit and drive continued and in 1974, they purchased Fox Hills Country Club in 1974 which the family owns and has managed for more than 35 years. Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center is now a 63 hoel golf & banquet center—home to many weddings, golf outings and corporate events. Estelle was an incredible lady with an indomitable spirit who lived through the Depression and WWII, suffered personal losses and numerous business challenges yet she remained kind, humble, loving and compassionate to which all who knew her well will attest. Estelle was a supporter of St. Mary’s of Orchard Lake, the Order of the Alhambra and formed a family foundation to provide scholarships to the employees of Fox Hills and Clips & Clamps and their families as well as contributions to other charitable organizations.

Estelle worked with her daughter Sandy at Fox Hills from 1975 until her retirement in 2001. Sandy is Vice President & General Manager and oversees the operations side of the business. Her duaghter Kathy, a CPA pursued other business interests then joined Clips & Clamps Industries in 1982. In 1989, Kathy left active management of Clips & Clamps and joined Sandy after they both purchased additional property and developed the Golden Fox Golf Course adjacent to the original Fox Hills. Kathy is President and oversees the administrative and financial issues of the businesses. Sandy’s husband Doug has worked at Fox Hills since 1985 overseeing the golf cart fleet. Kathy’s husband Mike has worked at Clips & Clamps Industries since 1975 and is President of the Corporation. All the grandchildren have worked for and been involved in the family businesses. Jennifer worked various positions primarily in Food & Beverage. Nick is returning form college this year to work at the Strategic Fox. Jeff works at Clips & Clamps Industries as the Vice President of Operations.

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