Doris L. Winne
July 17, 1928 ~ February 5, 2019
Doris L. Winne peacefully left us during the quiet and pristine beauty of a heavy swirling snowstorm on Tuesday morning February 5, 2019. It was a magnificent and peaceful image; a shimmering flurry of feathery snowflakes appearing as a host of angels lifting her up for her next journey…
Born inside the family farm house in DeWitt County, Illinois on July 17, 1928, Doris Lenore Curl was the second of four children born to Claude Twain and Mary Edith (Harrold) Curl. Doris, with older brother Harrold and younger sisters Mary Lu and Martha, grew up (without indoor plumbing!) to the natural rhythms of farm life, while attending the same one-room schoolhouse in the township. Doris would delight her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews with stories about milking cows, slopping pigs, feeding chickens, and minding horses and sheep while being ever vigilant to keep the goats from eating the laundry! Many of the stories ended tragically, but Doris never shielded the unhappy endings of lost fingers, pecked eyes, headless chickens, or squashed pets from her young audience, saying with a smile: “Well, that was life on the farm…”
Indeed, growing up on a farm left a lasting impact on her. Nothing was wasted, everything could be repurposed, fixed, or saved for later need. Homemaking skills, gardening, teamwork, manners, optimism, perseverance and social graces were taught to her by her mother and grandmothers Araminta Melvina Nixon Harrold and Lucy Elnora Tyler Curl—all born on frontier farms in the 1800’s. Their first rule—always be your best, do your best, and look your best! She followed this rule her entire life, and even when hampered by the adversities of age, she would respond cheerfully to a “How are you?” with “I’m doing the best I can…”
Doris was only 14 years of age when her father died—an event that tested the entire family. To make ends meet, beyond their daily chores and school work, brother Harrold took over management of the farm while Doris found work as a “wife’s helper” doing untold hours of washing, ironing, and child-minding for a local family. While telling this story, after raising four children of her own, she would giggle and add: “At least I was being paid for it!” These were difficult years and when the farm was sold in 1948, the family moved to Bourbonnais, Illinois to provide an opportunity for the children to attend Olivet Nazarene College. This event changed Doris’ life forever, as she met the man of her dreams…
Doris had previously met Don through her brother, but after their first date on Valentine’s Day, 1951, there was no doubt that each had found the love of their lives! They married in an evening candlelight ceremony on December 20, 1951. After graduation in 1952, they moved to Champaign, Illinois, and while Don attended law school on deferment from a Korean War deployment, Doris became the main breadwinner, teaching 5th grade students for the next 3 years in nearby Philo. During this time, Doris experienced more tragic loss when her beloved sister Martha died from brain cancer.
Don’s career positions with the Marines, F.B.I., and State of Nevada required Doris to move 17 times in 18 years while delivering 4 children–Dianne in Rhode Island, Debbie in North Carolina, Don Jr. in Carson City, Nevada, and David in Las Vegas. Moving constantly with 4 kids was not easy, yet Doris dutifully maintained correspondence with family and friends, continued to stay active in AAUW chapters, joined church and PTA groups, taught Sunday school classes, and led Girl Scout and Campfire Girls Troops at each new place they settled.
When they returned permanently to Carson City in 1970 Doris was finally able to put down some roots—literally! Gardening was a passion and Doris took great pleasure in the delight that passers-by found in the bountiful splashes of color that her flowers produced from spring through fall. She made preserves from their plum trees as well as cider and applesauce from the 50-year-old tree they planted in the backyard. She also enjoyed needlepoint, making crafts, and painting landscapes on canvas. Doris loved taking pictures, treasuring the sentiment they added to family and church events, especially the Sweetheart Dinner on Valentine’s Day.
Doris ran the household, paying the bills and budgeting the finances. She labeled herself, ‘Domestic Engineer,’ performing all that mothers do regarding care of the children and grandchildren, cleaning the house, and organizing family events. She did all this without a salary, career recognition, a pension, and above all, without complaint. She remained humble in her deeds, writing this for a 35th school reunion letter: “My life has far surpassed my dreams of 1946. I can’t claim any earth-shaking accomplishments, but I married a fantastic man and we have 4 wonderful children.” This grew to 5 grandchildren (Jenae, Grant, Jason, Lauren, Donald) and 2 great- grandchildren (Jase and Dean).
Doris held an unshakeable faith and cherished her church family and the support they offered throughout her life. She believed in the enduring power of prayer to weather the storms of tragedy, suffering, and despair. She often said: “Worrying isn’t productive, prayer is!” She never overlooked being grateful and appreciative of the life she had been blessed with, and best of all, she never forgot a hug and a kiss! Doris will be forever treasured by all who knew her as a person who shaped our lives through her ability to listen, her unwavering faith and optimism, and her cute and joyous giggling.
A celebration of Doris’ life will be held on the 23rd of March at 11 AM at the First United Methodist Church in Carson City, Nevada.