Died on May 9. She was born 97 years ago in Spring Harbor, Michigan to Harold and Esther Green. Doris, the oldest of 7 siblings, dearly loved her family. Two brothers, Louie and Don preceded her in death. Her brother Roger and wife LaVonne, and sisters, Joyce Knowles, Janice McCormick, and Marilyn Traylor are still living. They all brought so much love and comfort to Doris all her life. Harold was a Free Methodist Minister. The family moved often to small Michigan towns as churches needed him. According to Doris, President Roosevelt and the New Deal made it possible for her to attend college and receive a 2-year teaching degree.
At age 21, Doris married Ralph Delamater. They had a few months together before Ralph deployed to fight in WWII. He died overseas. Although she thought her life was over, Doris leaned on her faith in God and her loving family. She left teaching and became a secretary to the Dean of the Speech Department at General Motors Institute, now Kettering University. She made new friends and started tennis lessons. The Speech department needed a new speech teacher. Looking through the stack of applications, her boss told Doris that he picked a young man for her because he had played tennis in college. Victor Zink was hired. Vic met Doris. Six months later they were married.
A new chapter in Doris’ life began. Doris and Vic raised six children, Darrell, Vicki, Sue, David, Jim, and John, mainly in Rochester, Michigan. Doris adored her children. She was the protector, the supporter, the encourager, the cheerleader at all the kids’ sporting events, and the moral compass that kept a very busy household running smoothly and happily. A fun sense of humor always carried the day. She still managed to take time for friends, to serve her church and to learn to play golf. Golf would become a passion and a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors with her family and friends. A few weeks before she died, confused from her head injury, Doris imagined she was playing golf with her son David, a club pro. Pure joy! Vic worked for General Motors in Employee Benefits for over 25 years. Both Doris and Vic valued the many friendships made at General Motors that lasted the rest of their lives. Doris excelled at making life-long friends wherever she lived. When Vic retired, they moved to Michaywe, a golf community in northern Michigan. Vic turned his passion for art into a business selling original prints from their home. Doris helped by typing lists and wrapping packages, but she preferred to be golfing. Their six grandchildren, Shelley, Jenna, Jamie, Jeff, Leslie, and Tiffany brought untold joy. Trips to Michaywe and Florida were highlights for them all.
In 1995, their daughter Sue Little died leaving her husband Denny and children Leslie and Jeff. It was a devastating loss. Doris drew courage from her faith and loved ones. She believed that Vic never recovered from the loss of his daughter. His health deteriorated and he died three years later. With determination and courage, Doris did her best to care for Sue’s family, for son John in Rochester who had mental health issues and for anyone else who needed her care and support. She went to line-dancing lessons, book club, and euchre club. She played golf. She loved attending the weddings of her grandchildren. After seven years of living on her own, she teased that she needed someone to cook for her.
At age 82, Doris married Richard Wood. For 11 years, Dick cooked. They golfed, entertained, traveled, spent time with children and grandchildren. Doris treasured her Michaywe friends. Those were good years. Dick’s family became Doris’ family. Along the way, 16 great grandchildren were added to the family. Doris with her fun-loving, generous heart delighted in them all. She kept in close touch with everyone. She cherished family visits and reunions.
Two weeks before her 90th birthday, Doris suffered the loss of her son Jim. Dick lost his son Jim soon after. In March 2016, Dick died from a fall and head injury. In November 2016, son Darrell died. Doris was 93 years old and heartbroken. She moved to Minnesota to be close to daughter Vicki and her husband Peter. She became a fan in the stands again and really marveled at the talents and athletic skills of her great grandchildren. Her favorite time, though, was just being with them.
In 2018, son John died. Despite heart wrenching losses, Doris believed that God walked beside her and helped her be strong. Love and support from dear family and friends comforted her. She found much joy in loving and being loved. She was extremely grateful for her life and such a blessing to all who knew her. Doris will be remembered for her beautiful smile, for her huge capacity for love and joy, for her faithfulness to God and family, and for her very kind heart.
She is survived by Vicki and Peter Thompson; David Zink and Susan Brown and daughter, Tiffany; Shelley and Eric Perkins and their children, Jenna, George and Maeve; Jenna and Josh Elving and their children, James, Peter and Charlie; Jamie and Cara Thompson and their children Nicholas, Sydney and Hailey; Jeff Little and his children, Kailyn, Mariah, Nathan and Anna; and Leslie Little and Tim Turner and their children, Taylor, Aiden and Jase; and a large extended family.
Until she died, Doris always had a stack of letters from organizations asking for donations. She gave regularly to almost all of them. It was her way to keep helping people. If you would like to give a donation in her name, please consider Wayzata Community Church of Wayzata, Minnesota and First Presbyterian Church of Gaylord, Michigan.
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