Doris Marilyn (Johnson) Deml passed away on September 12, 2021, after being diagnosed with cancer in June. She was born on October 19, 1937 in Ellendale, MN at home to Stanley and Gladys (Olson) Johnson. Doris attended District 36 School for seven years, then Ellendale High School for four years, graduating in 1954. She went on to Augsburg College starting at age 16 until 1958.
Her working career began at Federated Mutual in Owatonna (June, 1954 - October 18, 1963). On October 19, 1963 she married Bernard John Deml in Owatonna, moving briefly to Moorhead, then to Alexandria. Nine months later, they purchased a farm in Osakis. A few days later, their first daughter, Michele, was born. Pamela was born three years later. In 1969, the couple bought a larger farm in Carlos, where Doris had a huge garden, raised livestock for meat and hosted many gatherings for family and friends. Melissa was born early in 1974.
Doris stayed home with the children and enjoyed gardening and homemaker duties until Melissa started school. Doris then began a real estate career, ultimately purchasing a real estate agency, Circle D Realty in Wadena, specializing in farms and ranches in central Minnesota.
After divorcing, Doris decided to change careers and attended St. Cloud State University, earning a Bachelor’s in Social Work. She worked at the Waite Park Nursing Home upon graduation. Doris soon began pursuing a Master’s in Healthcare Administration from St. Mary’s University while working full-time. She received her degree, developing a program to retain top staff for her thesis which involved a five-year study.
Doris shifted to managing to assisted living facilities, beginning with Woven Hearts in Sauk Rapids and helping the company expand throughout the state. She next opened Arlington Place in St. Joseph, then opening Clearwater Suites in Alexandria as the administrator, adding a second building to the complex in 2001. Doris commuted to Alexandria from St. Cloud until retiring in September 2010. She loved her residents and their families, and she loved her work.
Doris was active in numerous organizations serving seniors. She was on the board of Whitney Senior Center, Foster Grandparent Program, and Let’s Go Fishing (Alexandria).
After retirement, she continued consulting within the industry and volunteered extensively, including driving people to medical appointments which were often in the Twin Cities. She was also active in her church and frequently played cards/games with various groups of friends.
In 2015, Doris moved to Plymouth to be close to her daughters. She continued to volunteer until the pandemic made that impossible.
Doris is survived by three daughters: Michele (Ron Johnson), Pam, and Melissa (Ramsey Martinez); two grandchildren: Sarena Voight and Tanika Martinez; four brothers: Allan (Sally), Bruce (Georgianne), Claude and Elliott (Linda Rae); as well as many relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents Gladys and Stanley Johnson.
A memorial service at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church (12235 Old Rockford Rd, Plymouth, MN 55441) is planned for Saturday, October 30 including visitation reception at 1:00 PM, memorial service at 2:00 PM and fellowship afterward. The service will be live streamed at facebook.com/moplychurch/
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to PRISM, Outreach Food Shelf, or Steele County 4-H.
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