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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Doris Morrill Thomas

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Doris Morrill Thomas
Doris Morrill Thomas of Cherokee, 91, died at Countryside Estates Assisted Living on Feb. 24, 2008.

Memorial Services were held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 1, at the Memorial Presbyterian Church in Cherokee, with Pastor Ethan Saylor officiating. Burial of the remains will be in the Oak Hill Cemetery at a later date. The family requests that memorials be made to the Cherokee Public Library.

Doris was born May 17, 1916, and raised in Cherokee to Leonard H. and Erma Dean Phipps Morrill. She graduated from Wilson High School in 1934. Doris married Robert Joseph Thomas on Dec. 24, 1939, in the living room of the Morrill family farm on Old 21 north of Cherokee. Thirty-two years prior to that, Doris' parents were married at the same spot.

During her early years, Doris worked as a bookkeeper for Lyda Moore Abstract Office in Cherokee and Waterloo Corrugated Box Company in Waterloo. She also worked in the Cherokee County Assessor's Office. With her husband R. J. Thomas, Doris established and expanded R. J. Thomas Manufacturing Company in Cherokee where Doris kept the books, ran the office, and marketed Pilot Rock Park Equipment in-house and on the road throughout the Midwest. She also facilitated the first R. J. Thomas government contract for park equipment. After retirement, she took great pleasure working for the Cherokee Public Library and helping to found the Friends of the Library.

Doris and R.J. had four children: Cheryl Ooten (Bob) of Costa Mesa, Calif., Linda Browne of Manistee, Mich., Craig Thomas (Julie) of Cherokee and Steve Thomas (Lori) of Cherokee. Grandchildren include Kati Ooten Parker of Upland, Calif., and Aaron, Adam, Andy Thomas and Kelsey, Brittney, Caitlin Thomas of Cherokee. She has two great grandchildren, Joshua Dean Parker and Claire Elizabeth Parker.

While Doris' husband R.J. served his country in WWII in the Admiralty Islands in the Pacific from 1943-1945, Doris gave birth to and cared for their eldest child Cheryl until R.J.'s return when she was 22 months of age. Doris was a 70-year member of the Memorial Presbyterian Church and served as an elder, deaconess, teacher, and Women's Circle member.

Besides spending large amounts of time caring for her children and grandchildren, Doris was very interested in family genealogy and Cherokee history. She quilted weekly for two decades with the Cherokee Regional Medical Center Quilters and created many treasured quilts for her family and friends. Feeding the birds, especially the cardinals, was a long-time avocation she shared with R.J. In later years, she took yearly mother/daughter trips with Cheryl and Linda to England, Boston, Washington, and Michigan.

Doris was a lifetime member of Sanford Museum and Friends of Conservation. She was also a member of the Northwest Chapter of the Iowa Archaeological Society.

Doris was preceded in death by her husband R.J. Thomas, parents Leonard and Erma Morrill, sister Gertrude Quinn, and son-in-law Bill Browne.