Life Story / Obituary
Honest, reliable, and loving, Doris Marie Bauer welcomed each day as a gift. With a ready smile and a great sense of humor, she met life’s trials and tribulations with grace and its joys with gratitude. Doris loved the simple things in life, like gathering for a home-cooked meal with those she loved. She quickly gave of her time in talents in service of others. In as much as she gave, Doris was loved abundantly and cherished in the hearts of many. Though she will be sadly missed, her beautiful legacy will continue to live in the cherished memories of those she loved.
The early 1920s were marked by tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts. The economy boomed, wages rose for most Americans, and prices fell, resulting in a higher standard of living for most. With the inventions of the washing machine, vacuum cleaner, self-winding watch, bulldozer, instant camera, drive-in restaurants, Band-Aids, and the convertible, the post-war era marked significant advancement and morale flourished throughout the land. While the U.S. census proved for the first time in history that more Americans lived in urban areas than rural ones, the wave of sweeping social and economic growth grew exponentially with the ratification of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote. More than a million women worked in white-collar jobs while the automobile industry nearly doubled. Tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts marked this roaring decade. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, this vibrant decade grew even brighter for William and Hattie (Ritcheski) Bauer as they welcomed their identical twin daughters, Doris and Dorothy, into their family on November 22, 1922.
Growing up in West Michigan during the 20s and 30s, Doris learned the values of family, perseverance, and hard work from a very early age. While she and Dorothy shared the special bond that only twins fully know, she also enjoyed the good company of her older brother, Donald and younger brother, Roger. Their father provided for the family through his work as a pattern maker, and their mother took on the proud work of a homemaker. During her childhood, Doris enjoyed family vacations to Big Star Lake, Big Bay on Lake Superior, and travels to Detroit with her uncles and cousins. She and Dorothy also attended many twin conventions held throughout the U.S.
She attended Stocking School for her early education and graduated from Union High with the class of 1940. Following high school, she attended Heaney’s Business College for two years. She loved cooking and biology classes, playing baseball, hiking, and swimming. She also enjoyed singing and participated in various choirs over her lifetime. She also enjoyed listening to barbershop and semi-classical music.
Doris enjoyed being an identical twin, especially the confusion that it often resulted in when double-dating. She and Dorothy even went so far as to fool a doctor when Doris went to Dorothy’s post-surgical appointment. Imagine the doctor’s surprise when his patient didn’t have a surgical scar!
Driven by a deep sense of responsibility, all who knew Doris quickly learned that they could rely on her word and efforts. She worked as the assistant to the Traffic Manager for the city of Grand Rapids and also as an office clerk in the packaging industry for many years.
Though she never married or had children of her own, she embraced her role as an aunt with great joy. Doris loved to cook and garden. She especially enjoyed traditional German foods. Her casseroles, chicken dishes, and meatloaf often took center stage, when her family gathered, and her rolls and coffee cakes were unrivaled.
Doris also freely volunteered her time to many local organizations, including God’s Kitchen and Pilgrim Manor. She served as a greeter at Kent Community Hospital and St. John’s United Church of Christ Church, where she was a lifelong member.
In retirement, Doris enjoyed traveling. Over the years, she was able to go to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Nova Scotia, and many states in U.S. In her leisure time, she enjoyed reading. Her favorite books were Just Peace: A Message of Hope by Mattie Stepanek with Jimmy Carter and Open My Eyes, Open My Soul: Celebrating Our Common Humanity by Yolanda Kind and Elodia Tate. They are both obvious reflections of the way she consciously chose to navigate life with faith and wholeheartedness. Other clear reflections of Doris were the things she cherished most, a picture of her and Dorothy as babies, her grandmother’s dishes, and her mother’s bible.
The world feels less certain in the absence of Doris’ steadfast love and sense of humor. While it is hard to imagine life in her absence, may it afford deep comfort to know that we carry the best of her legacy in our hearts and lives. With each moment we live with integrity, make a family recipe, enjoy the freedom of travel, or volunteer our time, we live the gifts Doris so effortlessly gave us. In doing so, we assure that her spirit will continue to be a source of inspiration for others.
Miss Doris Marie Bauer age 97, of Grand Rapids, passed away on April 15, 2020. She is survived by her brother, Roger (Willa) Bauer; nieces and nephews, Randall (Leslie) Bauer, Brian (Deborah) Bauer, and Kenneth (Kristin) Bauer; great-nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place. Contributions in her memory may be made to St. John’s United Church of Christ. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Doris’s life story, submit a favorite memory, picture, or to sign the guestbook online.