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Life Story / Obituary
With a journey that spanned times of great change in the world around her, Doris Tomer was a blessing in the lives of so many others. She was hardworking and kind with a love for life that was easy to see. Doris treasured her roles as a wife and mother, but she just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother later in life. She worked hard, but she took the time to enjoy life along the way, often with her loved ones by her side. Deeply loved, Doris will be forever missed.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII was gaining momentum. We were struggling to pull ourselves up out of the dark days of the Great Depression that had held our nation firmly in its grip throughout the 1930s. We were making progress as a nation, but we still had much to overcome. It was as the 1940s were dawning that Harold and Adria (Van Wickle) Burkholder were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby. Their wait was finally over when the baby girl they named Doris Elaine drew her first breath on June 12, 1940, in Pentwater, Michigan. Raised on a dairy farm in Manton, Michigan, with her three siblings, Pat, Faye, and Harold, she was a typical young girl of her generation. Doris’ father worked hard as a dairy farmer, local Sheriff, and Union 76 gas station owner in Lake City while her mother tended to her home and family. As a student Doris attended local schools and graduated from Manton High School.
New and exciting changes were in store for Doris when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Jon E. Tomer, but most just knew him as Jack. They met while working at ANR Freight in Kalamazoo, and it didn’t take them long to fall deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Doris and Jack were married, marking the beginning of a new chapter in a love story that would span 55 years. Together they welcomed three children, Jon, David, and Lia, into their hearts and home. From the moment she became a mother Doris was deeply devoted to her children, and she took great care to make sure they had everything they needed.
As her children grew and had families of their own, Doris couldn’t have been happier. She was filled with unspeakable joy to become a grandmother to Ryan and Lucy, Jack and Hanna, and Lydia and Gracie. Doris was thoughtful and genuinely concerned about her family so she regularly called to check on them to make sure they were doing alright. Christmas was a time for Doris to shine. She not only loved the holiday, but she went over and above to make sure it was such a special time for her family. Everyone always looked forward to Christmas at her house, and she put in countless touches to make it memorable year after year. In addition to her grandchildren, Doris had several grand pets.
Throughout her life, Doris was someone who kept busy. Around home she enjoyed cooking, but she wasn’t really a fan of cleaning. Doris loved shopping, and it has been said that she always knew where the best sales were. She liked going out to lunch, playing Bridge, and over the years she and Jack made several trips to the casinos where she enjoyed playing the slots. Around home Doris liked tinkering in her garden, and to relax she watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. As an animal lover, Doris found such peace in watching the birds outside her window.
A woman of many interests who lived a vibrant life, nothing was sweeter in the eyes of Doris Tomer than spending as many moments as she could with her children and grandchildren. She lived to love others, and she made a significant impact in the lives of those who knew her best. Doris is described as ridiculously funny with the amazing ability to always find the lighter side of life. She gave everything her all and didn’t let fear stop her from trying new things. A dear woman to many, Doris will never be forgotten.
Doris Elaine Age 78, died April 15, 2019, in Portage. Doris’ family includes her husband of 55 years, Jon “Jack” Tomer; 3 children: Jon (Alice) Tomer, David (Julie) Tomer and Lia (Don) Swetay; 6 grandchildren: Ryan, Lucy, Jack, Hanna, Lydia and Gracie; many nieces and nephews and several grand-pets. To celebrate Doris’ life, friends and family can visit while sharing food and drinks on Thursday (Apr. 18) from 6-8 PM at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. Visit Doris’ personal webpage at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo of her and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home.