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Doris Catherine Wais
January 18, 1928 ~ January 30, 2024 (age 96) 96 Years Old
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Doris Catherine Essner was born on January 18, 1928, in the small town of Browns Valley, Minnesota. She grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. In 1950 she graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in pharmacology. She was one of 6 women in a class of 120.
In 1951 Doris married George Wais. Together they had 7 children: Bill, Mary, Greg, Ed, Rita, Joe, and Jeanne. Doris’ beloved husband, George, died of a heart attack in 1979 at the age of 52. Doris was also preceded in death by her daughter, Mary, and her son, Bill.
Although her life was often overshadowed by hardship and sorrow, Doris always maintained a positive, forward-looking attitude, and rarely, if ever, complained. Like much of her generation Doris, “Kept calm and carried on”.
Doris was a lifelong, devoted Catholic. She was active in the Italian Catholic Federation, (even though she was not Italian) and she joyfully served as a Eucharistic minister for over 20 years. Doris regularly attended Sunday Mass and would always seek out a church service to attend even while on vacation. During the last several months of her life, Doris was not able to physically attend church so she watched the Catholic Mass on television seemingly 24/7. I think she was trying to make up for all of the Masses that her children missed over the years.
Doris was truly the matriarch of the Wais family. She will be remembered both for her personal frugality and her generous and giving spirit. In retirement, Doris began to quilt. She literally produced and gave away hundreds of baby quilts every year; thousands throughout her life. In this, she is like her biblical doppelgänger in Acts 6, Dorcas, who made tunics and garments for those in need. It is written of her that, “She was full of good works and acts of charity.” This is an apt description of Doris as well.
Doris is survived by 5 adult children, 16 grandchildren, and 25 great-grandchildren, with more to come. Doris was a great lady, but not because of any amount of celebrity, wealth, or political power. She was great because of her love for God, family, and others. Doris will be sorely missed.
Funeral Mass: 11 am, Friday, February 23, 2024, at St. Patrick’s Church in Arroyo Grande, followed by a luncheon reception.