Doris Jean (Meyer) Amberson
Doris Jean (Meyer) Amberson
July 1, 1929 – November 25, 2018
Doris Jean (Meyer) Amberson, age 89, of Elk Mound, Lake Mills & Oakdale/Tomah, WI, passed away Sunday, November 25, 2018, surrounded by her family at Mulder Health Care Facility in West Salem, WI.
She was born July 1, 1929 in Eau Claire, WI, to Henry Oscar Meyer and Christina (Chrissie) (Hughes) Meyer. Doris Jean grew up as one of 3 hard-working daughters on her family’s dairy farm in Elk Mound, WI. They were devoted members of Trinity Evangelical United Brethren Church (which became Trinity United Methodist Church) in Elk Mound, WI.
Doris Jean attended North Central College in Naperville, IL and the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing (now called Rush Medical College) in Chicago, IL, where she became a Registered Nurse. Between her studies, Doris Jean worked as an RN in the Ear, Nose & Throat Tumor/Cancer Ward and also worked with peripheral vascular patients at the Hines VA in IL. She later worked as medical nurse and Inservice Leader at the University of Minnesota Mayo Memorial Hospital.
After Doris Jean completed her Bachelor of Science in Public Health Nursing from the University of Minnesota, she wanted to help others through mission work as an RN & Public Health Nurse for 4 years at the Evangelical United Brethren Mission Hospital in Española, NM and McCurdy School in Santa Cruz, NM. This experience left a lasting impression on her and years later Doris Jean would bring her children to New Mexico for a memorable Christmas.
Following her mission work, Doris Jean attended the Laubach Literacy Training at the Koinonia foundation in Pikesville, northwest of Baltimore, MD, where she learned to teach literacy to speakers of other languages. This is where she also met (Verlin) Paul Amberson, the love of her life, in September of 1960. They both enjoyed living and working together with people from around the world who influenced their lives. Doris Jean and Paul continued a long distance relationship as she was Director of Nurses at the Presbyterian Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital in Baltimore, MD and Paul was Training Coordinator at the Baylor Literacy Center in Waco, TX. Doris Jean and Paul were married on May 24, 1961 in Elk Mound, WI.
The newlyweds returned to live in Baltimore, MD, where Paul was offered a teaching position and Doris Jean continued as Director of Nurses until their daughter, Christina was born. Doris Jean put her nursing career on hold to dedicate her time to raising their family. Paul was from Alabama and his desire to live where he and his family could experience all four seasons (especially winter snow), led them to Doris Jean’s roots in Wisconsin.
Not long after moving to Wisconsin, their daughter Duva was born in Chilton, where Paul taught Math and Science. The growing family moved to Lake Mills, WI, where Paul taught High School Math and Science. Doris Jean and Paul later bought a small farm outside of Lake Mills where their sons Henry, Jonathan and Anson were born. When their children were quite young, Doris Jean utilized the Laubach Literacy Training from Koinonia to teach migrant workers who lived and worked in Lake Mills during the summer. She would take her children with her on these home visits, exposing them to the Spanish language, as well as providing a glimpse of some of the realities of migrant life.
In 1974 the family moved to the Tomah area to a farm outside of Oakdale, and in 1975 Doris Jean accepted a position at the Tomah Memorial Hospital as the hospital’s first Utilization Review Coordinator & Discharge Planner. After working at the Tomah Memorial Hospital for approximately 11 years, Doris Jean resigned in order to provide home care for the first patient to be officially released from the hospital to home care in Wisconsin. Over the next 16 years Doris Jean provided home care to several patients in surrounding communities, driving as far as 95 miles one-way to reach her patients, who were grateful for her care.
Doris Jean retired at the age of 73, when she needed heart surgery to correct a heart defect that she was born with, but had not been properly diagnosed until she was in her 70’s since it was so unusual. The defect was a congenital abnormal coronary vascular connection which had prevented her heart from getting enough oxygen from a very young age. Doris Jean and her family are very grateful to the doctor who detected the defect and to the surgeon who corrected it.
Throughout her life, Doris Jean loved to sing in church and enjoyed attending Welsh Sings through the Welsh Gymanfa Ganu Association of Wisconsin. Doris Jean was proud of the Welsh musical traditions since her Grandpa Hughes was from Wales. She told of how he spoke with a beautiful lilt in his voice and had a long bristly gray mustache which he jokingly called his “cookie duster”.
Doris Jean felt a connection to her German, Welsh and Scottish heritage and was equally interested in other cultural backgrounds from around the world. She was also aware of prejudice and unfair treatment of people, and sought to disregard the racist social norms that she encountered early in her career as a nurse. Doris Jean helped her children develop an awareness of social justice as well.
Through many road trips on a shoestring budget throughout the US and into Mexico and Guatemala, Doris Jean encouraged her children to explore the world around them, beyond the commercial, and to see and make connections with other people.
Doris Jean also felt a strong connection to the natural world and the land that sustains us. She shared with her family the love of the land, which she learned from her father and mother and their farming background. Doris Jean cherished her father’s version of Psalm 145: 15-16, which he used to humbly thank God for each meal:
The eyes of all wait upon thee [Oh, Lord]; and thou givest them their meat (bread/food) in due season.
Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. – Amen
Like her parents, Doris Jean loved to read and was a lifelong learner. After being diagnosed with dementia and later, Alzheimer’s, Doris Jean was an advocate to promote awareness of dementia related diseases and was active in the Dementia Support Group through Mayo Clinic in La Crosse, WI. Doris Jean was also a participant in a longitudinal dementia study through Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN until her death. Doris Jean was committed to advancing medical studies in order to benefit the lives of others. For this reason, she wished to donate her brain for research in the hopes of contributing to the greater good of all.
Doris Jean is survived by her children, Christina Amberson of Sparta, WI; Duva (Jeremy “Alex”) Appleman of Roseburg, Oregon; Henry (Beth) Amberson of Downsville, WI and their children, Oscar, Ingmar, and Liliana; Jonathan (Theresa) Amberson of Norwalk, WI, and their children, Quincy and Henry; Anson (Rachel) Amberson of Sauk Rapids, MN, and their children, Aaron and Sarah; sister, Emily (Meyer) Moy of St. Anthony, MN; along with many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins and other dear relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 57 years, (Verlin) Paul Amberson; her parents; half-sister, Dorothy Janet Cutler; sister, Mildred (Meyer) Russell; brother-in-law, Fred Russell; brother-in-law, Kenneth Moy; nephew, Lowell Moy; along with many other beloved relatives and friends.
Visitation will be held 9:00-11:00 a.m. followed by the Memorial Service at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 5, 2019, at First United Methodist Church, Tomah, WI. Pastor Krysta Deede will officiate. Burial will be held at a later date. Her obituary & online condolences may be offered at https://couleecremation.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages memorial gifts to Alzheimer’s Disease Research through Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.
Checks can be made out to: Mayo Clinic Dept. of Development
Memo Line: Doris Jean Amberson – Alzheimer’s Research
Memorial Gifts can also be made online using a credit card at: philanthropy.mayoclinic.org
Next to “Designation”, select: Alzheimer’s Disease Research
Under “Tribute Information”, next to “Type”, select: In memory of
Next to “Name”, enter: Doris Jean Amberson