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Obituaries » Doris R. Bernlohr

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September 2, 1935 - January 21, 2021

Per her wishes, cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held when it is safe to gather. The family wishes to thank the caring staff at the Friendship Village Woodside Special-Care Unit and the Health Center, both before and during the challenging pandemic times, as well as the fine caregivers at Twin Lakes Community in Burlington, NC. Memorials will gratefully be received by any of the following: Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (Samaritan Fund) 1747 W Milham Rd Portage, MI 49024; Friendship Village of Kalamazoo (Employee Appreciation Fund) 1400 N Drake Rd Kalamazoo, MI 49006; Capital University (Bernlohr Family Endowed Scholarship) 1 College and Main Columbus, Ohio 43209.

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Doris (Lamb) Bernlohr, of Friendship Village, Kalamazoo, passed away on January 21, 2021. She was born on September 2, 1935, to Laura (Mielke) and Leonard Lamb in Rogers City, Michigan. The sixth of eight children, she was raised on the family dairy farm. In 1956, she married Jack Bernlohr, having met in the library while they were students at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Together they had two children and two grandchildren, and she lived to meet two great-grandchildren. Doris had a lifetime of happy memories that provided much comfort these past few years as she bravely faced her Alzheimer’s disease.

Survivors include a daughter, Lisa (Mark) Stucky of Portage, MI; a son, Kurt (Ping Li Ran) Bernlohr of Houston, TX; grandsons Joel (Kassie) Krzan and their children Alanna and Calvan of Denver, CO, and Noah (Brenda Swanson) Krzan of Kalamazoo, MI; and step-granddaughter Anya Stucky of Indianapolis, IN. Also surviving is her youngest brother, Alger (Janet) Lamb, of Rogers City, MI, as well as numerous extended family members including Faye Lamb, Marjorie Gorlewski, and Robert (Carol) Bernlohr. She was predeceased by her husband, Jack, in 2002, and her siblings Marion, Harlan, Hertha, Leonard Jr., Byron, and Neil.

Doris earned a cadet teaching certificate from Capital University during the teacher shortage of the 1950s, and later earned both bachelor’s (elementary education) and master’s (reading education) degrees from Wayne State University. She spent 30 years teaching in Ohio and Michigan, retiring from the Lawton Public Schools. She worked extra hours finding just the right books to pique her students’ interests, thus instilling in them a lifelong love of reading. In retirement her goal was to work on equity issues for women and girls. She did that as a member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), serving in many leadership roles while living in North Carolina. She was a fierce champion for those with less power or opportunity and actively served many causes, including for victims of domestic violence and on her local YWCA board. Doris also took on leadership roles in the Alamance County (NC) Democratic Party. She was a doer and an inspiration, and her family told her that she had missed a calling in fundraising. A lifelong Lutheran, she was active in her churches especially in areas involving teaching and social concerns. She was a member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Portage twice during her adult life, the first time taking on many leadership roles, and upon moving back to town in later years when she was lovingly ministered to by many.

Doris generously supported her family, friends, students, and community. She was by her husband’s side as his career took them to various locales during years of seminary studies, pastoral ministry, and work in nursing home administration. She donated a kidney to her brother, Neil. She led by example about faith, perseverance, and fairness. She had boundless energy and enjoyed good books, long walks, passionate discussions, and interesting travel.