Doris Ellen Herron

All that I know about Doris E. Herron has come from her niece, Frances Buckmaster, who is the daughter of Eunice Herron and Chales V. Shinn.  Doris was not included in the Herron Family of Alpena County compiled by Ruth Ann Cochrane and Clyde Morrison.  I believe she was the eldest child of Charles Herron and Ida Warren.

I include here the contents of an e-mail from Mrs. Buckmaster describing a few details of her aunt's life as she knew it.

Doris Ellen Herron was a wonderful, intelligent, funny woman, who helped raise me, along with my mother. She never married.  The "love of her life" was killed in WWII. He was a Seabee. I never knew his name.  My memory---of a story I heard about Aunt Dot--- is that in WWII, she took all the tests to go into the service--receiving the highest math score ever, to that point, for a woman in Michigan .. but, failing to be accepted because of her heart (she had had rheumatic fever as a child).  Doctors told her all her life to "be careful" in what she did (no stairs, etc.) and hinted that she would die young, but "Aunt Dot" didn't want to live that way.  She chose to live in an upstairs flat, or purchased a push mower, did a lot of gardening, etc.

When Aunt Dot died--in her late 70's-- we found out at her memorial service that she had been supporting a center-city family for years--getting the kids school shoes and clothes, providing Xmas and Easter gifts, etc.  She never mentioned to us that she was doing this.  However, she did the same thing for my sister and I, so we were not surprised at all. 

Dot was active in the Metropolitan Methodist Church in Detroit---where one of her Uncles (mother's brother) had been a minister decades before.  (I think he also purchased property for Methodist churches in several states around Michigan ... and, was one of the founders of Seattle Pacific University--I'd have to look for his name. Last name was Warren.)  After her death, I found notes for a lay-sermon that she had been preparing for a couple of Sundays after she died. 

Aunt Dot was a teacher, and had a master's degree in, I think, Educational Psychology.  Having a master's was rare for a woman of her era. (Although education was not a rarity among my mother's sisters and brothers: My mom had a nursing degree from Michigan State's Sparrow School of Nursing; Marjorie had a bachelor's degree in teaching; Ralph had a bachelors from MSU in something leading to him working for the Michigan Milk Producers (or some such entity like that); Helen--the youngest in the family -- achieved a doctorate late in the 1960's or early 70's and was a state level reading specialist.)

Dot began her career teaching boys in a prison setting.  Later, she taught at a special school for youngsters at the Methodist Childrens' Village (suburbs of Detroit) --- where she taught all ages of kids in a setting much like a one-room school.  The children, for example, had had lives like being found abandoned under a bridge or sleeping in the streets of Detroit.  Besides all their other problems, most had never had schooling; many were very psychologically troubled; some retarded.  My aunt's task was to work with them to where they were able to successfully transition to a public school.  Aunt Dot had new, touching, or funny stories to tell daily.  The person my Aunt Dot reminded me of most--in intelligence, curiosity, caring, sense of humor and pure grit-- was my grandpa, Charles E. Herron.

A few  "grit stories?"

One: Aunt Dot supplemented her teaching income by working till late at night in drug stores ... otherwise she could not have been able to afford all her "giving."

Another: Aunt Dot believed in racial integration and constantly acted to support diversity.  The family she had supported, that I mentioned earlier, was a black family living in the most despairing part of  Detroit's inner city ..... a difficult place to make a caring connection, for a white woman.

Another: she stayed living in a Detroit neighborhood that became all black families, due to "white flight to the suburbs" when you could do that and work in Detroit without paying city income taxes) because she thought it the right thing to do ... and, she told us one night, after 10 pm, on the way home from her drugstore job, it was sleeting and she saw some teen-age boys trying to hitchhike and no one was picking them up, so she did. The boys, very big boys --- late teens --- all sat behind her, in the back seat of the car, and she chatted with them all jolly, respectful, telling jokes and stories, etc.  When she dropped them off they "chewed her out," telling her to never pick up any one like them again ... because they had meant to beat her up and rob her .. but, she was too nice, so decided not to!"  She was a bit shaken by that, but said, knowing what she knew afterwards, she'd do it again .... and, just maybe those boys gave up their life of crime!

I hope that Frances will be able to get me a bit more information about her aunt Doris.


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