Honoring Doris Carlquist

My mom, Doris, and my mother-in-law, Fern, were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a year apart and ended up living in the same assisted living/memory care facility. Their journeys, from the time they were diagnosed until they passed away, spanned 13 years. There were highs and lows for all of us throughout those years, but I learned incredible life lessons: how to accept help from others and how to care for myself. From my “moms” I learned the importance of living in the moment because with dementia, there is no past or future.

Doris Marie Welter McCall Carlquist was born on May 19, 1924 in Morgan, a small farming town in Minnesota. She was number five out of ten children and the first of her family to attend high school. They worked hard on the farm, but always found time to laugh, sing and play games.

After high school, Doris attended business school to learn secretarial skills, and joined her sister, Irene, in Utah where they both found work at a naval base during World War II. This is where she met her first husband, James McCall, Sr., who was in the Navy. They were married in 1944 and Jimmy, their first child was born on December 10th of that year.

When Jimmy was three months old, Jim Sr. was sent overseas for seven months. Jim and Doris wrote letters to each other every day and when they were finally reunited in San Francisco, Jimmy took his first steps to his father.

Jim and Doris had five children, four boys and one girl. Jim, Jack, Patti, Tom, and Frank. Jim and Doris’s love for each other and their faith in God supported them through 37 years of marriage. Jim Sr. died of cancer in 1981 at the young age of 61. They were incredible parents and grandparents, leaving a legacy that will last forever.

Doris was on her own for five years before she met Bob Carlquist. They fell in love and were married for 21 years. Bob still called her his bride up until the day he died in 2007.

Doris had a wonderful smile, an infectious laugh, an endearing sense of humor, and a love of life. People naturally gravitated to her warm hearted, fun-loving personality. She made the world a better place by touching the hearts of all she knew!

– Patti Wick

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