Doris Elizabeth Richardson, 96, of Mesa, Arizona entered her heavenly home on July 21, 2020. She was born on a farm fourteen miles from Cumro, Nebraska on May 31, 1924 to immigrant parents--John Bowen Nicholas and Elizabeth Marie (Guhde) Nicholas. They both entered the U.S. through Ellis Island. John came in 1901 and Elizabeth in 1886. They met in Custer County and were married in 1908. Doris was the youngest of seven children: (Two died in infancy) Eleanor, Evan, Lloyd, Lewis and Doris.
While being the youngest in the family had its advantages, Doris also lamented that it led to one regret. Because her siblings had mostly grown up and moved away while she was still a young girl, she never learned to ride a bicycle, because the bicycles had all been given away by the time she was old enough to ride.
Doris was an eager student and enjoyed attending classes through elementary school and at Summerfield High School. She graduated with honors and a scholarship to a business school in 1941; however, she chose to work to help support her family. None of her early jobs proved very satisfying as she had to work long hours for little pay. One of her jobs was at the local grocery store and another was at the telephone company. Despite working as many hours as she could, she still found time to pursue her love of the piano. As a child, she had taken a few lessons to learn how to play and as an adult she saved up enough money to buy her own piano and began offering lessons. Some of her students went on to become accomplished pianists, and she enjoyed putting their talents on display at recitals at her local church.
Doris married James Wayne Richardson on December 6, 1943 and they made their home in the Summerfield, Kansas area. The couple had two children: Shelley and Sharon. She and Wayne were partners in every sense of the word as she helped him with every job he undertook. Whether Wayne’s job was as a Shoe Repairman, City Clerk, or Custodian of the Summerfield School, Doris did much of the work behind the scenes. When Wayne was the Summerfield City Clerk, Doris helped with the accounting duties, spending many long hours at the kitchen table punching numbers into the old-fashioned adding machine. When Wayne was Custodian of the Summerfield School, Doris was there every summer vacation cleaning desks and windows and getting school ready to start again in August.
Despite working nearly full-time jobs with Wayne, Doris still found time to sew outfits for herself and her two girls, crochet and craft, and create and bake some of the best breads and desserts around. Friends, relatives, and neighbors were often pleasantly surprised by a plate of something in saran wrap especially created by Doris on a random afternoon. She and Wayne also maintained two huge gardens each year and Doris single- handedly shelled, husked, peeled, canned and froze everything that they grew.
In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Doris embarked on a new career and ventured into the childcare field. This was her favorite job by far in life and she treated the children as her own. She was more than just a babysitter, choosing instead to teach the children letters, numbers, and colors. She delighted in welcoming a child in the morning and designing an outfit for him/her to wear home by afternoon. Doris played, cooked meals and snacks, fixed their hair and did whatever needed to be done. Until the day she died, Doris loved those children just like they were her own and delighted in hearing from them when they would send cards or pictures of their own families and children.
Doris had endless energy and worked hard her entire life, yet she always had time for a phone call or a chat on the porch with a friend or family member. Doris was never too busy to drop whatever she was doing to lend an ear and a piece of advice. Somehow, talking with her was comforting and she could make anyone feel as though they were an old friend.
Doris was preceded in death by her parents, John and Elizabeth Nicholas, husband, J. Wayne, brothers, Lloyd (Dorothy), Evan, and Lewis (Thelma) and sister Eleanor (Virgil).
She is survived by her daughters Shelley and Sharon of Mesa, AZ.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Friday, July 21, 2020 at the Wherry Mortuary, 919 G. Street, Pawnee City, Nebraska. Officiating Pastor Herb Schrader. The service will also be live streamed on the Wherry Mortuary/Wherry Monument Facebook page if you choose or are unable to the attend the service in person. There will also be link to the video on her web page. Visitation on Thursday, July 30, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Wherry Mortuary, Pawnee City, Nebraska. Family will greet friends on Friday an hour before the service. Interment will follow at the Summerfield Cemetery, Summerfield, Kansas. Memorials to family choice. Online condolences may be left at www.wherrymortuary.com.
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