by Sister Francis Bangert and Sister Mary Kabat
Associate Doris Peterson died on Thursday, Aug 13, 2015. Born on April 8, 1922, in Esko, Minn., to Elmer and Aili Peterson, Doris was proud of her Finnish heritage having enjoyed the stories told by her Grandma of the beloved homeland. Doris’ life was a journey of search and adventure. She was a Protestant convert to Catholicism and a former Benedictine Sister who became a Franciscan Associate. Doris taught in South Dakota and Florida and was a teacher and principal in the Green Bay School System, retiring in 1984. She cared for her students intellectually and physically, more than once having a child come to school to eat breakfast before the other students arrived.
Doris met Nancy Verber, a Green Bay Public School social worker. Their professional relationship became one of friendship. Together they shared a home, a love for the solitude of the trout streams, their northwoods shack, and touring the U.S. and Canada on their BMW motorcycles. They would rise early for personal prayer and attend Mass each morning at St. Willebrord Parish where Doris served as a Eucharistic minister and participated in parish outreach. After becoming Associates in 1993, they treasured their relationship with the Sisters and other Associates more and more. When the community recognized a need in Green Bay for raising women from being under-privileged to empowerment and self- sufficiency, Doris and Nancy jumped on board serving on the initial planning committee to what became the resource center, Wellspring: A Place of Peace for Women as well as being weekly volunteers and financial contributors.
Doris was a free spirit, a detailed organizer, a mom to some, a teacher to all, a fascinating story teller, a lover of nature, a wisdom figure, a loved friend, and a model for a life lived with zest, love, and determination wrapped in a package of humor. Her life is now a memory and example for us.