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Obituary of Doris Eileen Dawson
Doris Eileen Dawson was born on November 2, 1929 to Ada Kathleen and Francis Henry Stephens in Macklin, Saskatchewan. Doris was the fourth of 8 children. She completed her first year of school in the town of Macklin after which the family moved to their farm 10 miles north of Macklin. Grades 2 -7 were done in a little multi grade school room known as North End School. Going to school involved a walk that was over a mile each way in all seasons. Grades 8-12 were completed at Macklin School after the family moved back into the town of Macklin. She participated in various sports and was an asset on the women’s softball team. Doris was a very industrious and hardworking individual with a bright curious mind and a remarkable memory for dates and facts of all kinds. She was not averse to outdoor work either. Once the weekly indoor house cleaning and laundry was done, she helped with milking the cows, cleaning out the barn, running the tractor and truck as needed and greasing various valves on farm equipment hauling grain and bails. These skills were invaluable as she would later meet and marry a farmer named Robert Dawson who cut a handsome figure in his Air Force uniform. Doris expressed an interest in becoming a nurse as a young girl and was present to assist the local doctor when one of her younger siblings had need of some medical attention. Later as a teen, Dr. Eid encouraged her to attend Saint Elizabeth’s school of nursing in Humbolt, Saskatchewan, as they offered an excellent three year program taught by Catholic Sisters. She graduated with high Honours and at the top of her class in 1951.Doris was the valedictorian that year and gave an inspiring and challenging speech to her fellow graduates and parents. She returned to Macklin to work as an R.N. for a couple of years before marrying Robert Dawson and over the next several years she had 7 children Marilyn, Wendy, Kim, Tracy, Rodney, Lori and Christine. With a house full of children, a huge vegetable garden, many flower beds and yards to maintain and land to be worked, Mom’s innate ability to organize and prioritize was very much utilized. Mom was a natural leader, dedicated to her family and her community. She was an amazing baker. Her peach pies and fluffy cakes were legendary. Doris was a highly organized, disciplined person with both the physical and mental strength to handle the many challenges of both a large family and the constant demands of the farm. She was also very down to earth as she often solved problems with little fanfare .There simply was no time for nonsense. Both with her family and in her work as a nurse, she portrayed a strong sense of duty, honesty and integrity. Her sense of right and wrong at times put her in conflict with others who misused their position of authority or underestimated Mom’s tenacity to get her opinion across and have the necessary changes made for the betterment of all concerned. Mom believed in what some may refer to these days as old school morals and good manners. She would not hesitate to correct individuals who thought their rude behaviour was no one’s concern but their own. She was fair and honest to a fault but knew very well that unacceptable behaviour required consequences. She has always been very frugal and careful with whatever resources she was given. The idea of reuse, recycle and reclaim was a way of life for Mom long before the Green movement came into fashion. When the economy took a nose dive and many farmers were struggling to keep their farms productive, Doris decided to return to nursing after taking a refresher course in Moose Jaw along with her sister, Hazel. She then returned to work at St. Joseph’s hospital in Macklin from 1969-1985. Without her income the farm would not have survived. Doris was highly respected by the doctors she worked with who were not averse to asking her opinion and often complimented her on her outstanding clinical and observational skills. Many people in this town were privileged to have had her as their nurse either when a family member was sick or a new baby arrived or an elderly relative was dying. In spite of her very busy schedule Doris played on a women’s curling team for a few years. She was a trailblazer in her generation working outside the home when it was frowned on by society, breast feeding her children when bottle feeding was considered the more modern way to feed a baby and using common sense to make sound decisions instead of following the dictates of those around her. She was also very competitive, sometimes even being found arm wrestling with her daughters, and winning. After her retirement she joined a local discing club, continued to enjoy gardening and knit numerous outfits for all her 18 grandchildren. She enjoyed puzzling and read well over a 1000 books in the past 15 years. She also helped out with the Macklin museum start up and fund raising. Doris was very interested in local history and kept many notebooks and scrapbooks about the town of Macklin and surrounding farm community so being involved in the history book committee was a good fit for her. The 900 page ‘Prairie Views From EyeHill‘ in 1992 history book was the result of all that effort. Since her husband Bob was then back doing his passion of flying she found herself up in the air so to speak. She accompanied Bob on many fly ins, search and rescue training and leisurely flights around the province. Mom taught us the value of a strong work ethic, self-control, self-discipline, respect for others and doing & being the best we could be in spite of circumstances. No matter how busy, and at times how difficult her life was, she was always willing to take a phone call from any of her children and the lessons continued as she could talk and talk. After these conversations she would make notes about the special moments and accomplishments in her children and grandchildren’s lives. We had our own personal diary that we didn’t know was being written. Looking back at these many notes she made about our lives, we are incredibly grateful for the time she took to write so many things down that we would have otherwise long forgotten. Mom was gifted with a remarkable memory for dates places and events. She could recite at a moment’s notice any birthday or anniversary in our family and the families of her siblings, right down to their great-grandchildren. She even remembered many birthdates and anniversary dates of people in the community. Over the years Mom joyfully welcomed 15 Grandchildren and 18 Great grandchildren. She was proud of each and every one of them and if they would listen she had advice for each and every one of them. She was a remarkable and exceptional woman who took life on full force and embraced every good gift that came her way. Her influence and love will live on for generations to come. Though many may not realize, Mom was also a woman of prayer. She prayed on a daily basis and as she once said it was the only way to deal with the many tragedies and trials that came her way. Her faith was a very private, personal and precious thing to her. Doris passed away at the Provost Health Centre on May 1, 2020 at the age of 90 years. We will never be truly ready to say goodbye but time stands still for no one and each of us in turn will follow you to that new life after death. Doris is predeceased by her husband, Bob; son Rodney; sons in law, Robert Suderman and Reginald Reynaud; parents; brothers, Billy Stephens, Francis (Bud) Stephens and Ken Stephens.
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