Doris Zechlin Kennedy, 92, passed away of natural causes, on Saturday, August 4, 2018 at Shields Comfort Care and Assisted Living in Saginaw, Michigan. She was born on May 12, 1926 to Eli and Marie (Smith) Zechlin, in Niles, Michigan and resided there her entire life until January of 2016, when she moved to Saginaw, Michigan.
Doris was married to Thomas E. Kennedy from October 9, 1971 until the time of his death on November 8, 2014. Prior to that she was married and divorced from Kenneth A. Tibbs, with whom she had her only child, Kathleen Ann Miller.
Surviving Doris are her daughter, Kathleen (Pete) Miller, three grandchildren and spouses: Amy Miller Jepson (John) Of South Lyon, Michigan, Amanda Miller Darling (Troy) of Wixom, Michigan and Andrew Thomas Miller (Dedra) of Saginaw, Michigan. Also surviving Doris are her four great grandchildren: Jackson Thomas Jepson, Ashlyn Grace Jepson, Paxton Eli Darling, and Calen Rolland Darling. She is also survived by two nieces Kimberly Sue Zechlin and Susan (Vernier.)
Doris was predeceased by her husband of forty three years, Thomas E. Kennedy, one sister, Martha Mae Vernier and one brother, Louis (Sparky) Zechlin. Her nephew Michael Zechlin and all of her brother and sister in laws predeceased her, as well.
Doris graduated from Niles High School in 1944 and worked at several places in the capacity of a secretary until her retirement in 1985. Upon graduation she began working at the Niles Junior-Senior High School as Secretary to the Principal for seven years and then The Funk Insurance Agency as an Insurance Administrator for nine years. During WWII she worked in Berrien Springs, Michigan as a Secretary to the manager of a factory that produced war products. After the war and the closing of the factory she began working as an Executive Secretary for the Vice President of Clark Equipment Company in Buchanan, Michigan and continued there for seventeen years until her retirement. Doris also held jobs on weekends at Thayer’s Jewelry Store and Rowley’s Shoe Store.
Doris was past President of the American Lady Elks, past Treasurer of the Delta Upsilon Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi and past member of the Clark Professional Women’s Association, Secretary-Treasurer of the local chapter of the National Association of Retired and Veteran Railway Employees, past Membership Chairman, Vice President and President of the Pawating Auxiliary of Lakeland Hospital, Niles, Secretary for Westside Notre Dame Fan Club and Class of 1944 Reunion Chairman for 50 years. Along with her husband, Tom, she volunteered at Lakeland Hospital at the information desk, on special committees and the snack bar for several years after her retirement.
Doris’s greatest pleasure was her three grandchildren Amy, Amanda and Andy. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for them. She was so proud of them, their spouses, their children and their homes. Her love for them always made her smile and find happiness.
Doris was highly organized and excellent at keeping records of everything. She and Tom loved to visit relatives on the west coast and in the Midwest and enjoyed his Navy USS Chase reunions around the United States. They also held Notre Dame football season tickets for over forty years and were huge fans of the University. Doris loved organizing and planning class reunions. In her retirement years she and Tom looked forward to lunches, dinners and card games with friends. She was a magazine and newspaper reader and clipped and stored many recipes, helpful hints and do it yourself ideas. She was an excellent baker and cook and really enjoyed it in her younger years. She enjoyed keeping her home and yard pristine. She was always dressed stylish from head to toe and took pride in the hard work she did all her life.
Her last 2 and one half years of life were spent near her daughter’s family in Saginaw, Michigan at Shields Comfort Care and Assisted Living. There she enjoyed many activities and friendships and was able to see her family frequently. Sadly, there, she leaves behind a very special friend, Mike.
There will be visitation at Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home on Monday, August 13 from 11AM -1 PM with cemetery to follow.
Donations in memory of Doris may be made to Great Lakes Caring Hospice or the American Cancer Society.
Great Lakes Caring Hospice
American Cancer Society
129 Jefferson Ave SE, Grand Rapids MI 49503
Northwest Michigan Office