Hairdresser, wife, mother, grandmother. Born July 19, 1936, in a Wabash, Ont., farmhouse, died Sept. 25, 2012, in Chatham, Ont., of complications from a brain tumour, aged 76.
Doreen excelled in all her roles – wife, mother, grandmother, business woman, community leader and friend.
Her beauty salon in Dresden, Ont., was as much a gathering place as it was a business, and after retirement she loved to join friends over coffee to talk about problems facing society, or life in the town.
Doreen married young, and became a mother at 21. In many ways, she and her sons, Jim and John, grew up together. She was young, beautiful, classy and hip, and always a beacon of pride for them.
In the late 1970s, following a marital split and the subsequent death of the boys’ father, Bill Weese, Al Woods entered and enriched Doreen’s life. She loved Al, and valued his support and patience, as did members of her family.
Her many operations, doctors’ appointments and hospital and nursing-home stays in the past 10 years were difficult, but Al was there every step of the way.
Doreen was always fiercely loyal to her sons, and ensured that they lacked for nothing. She had an indefatigable work ethic when it came to supporting them, even going back to school in her middle years to become a hairdresser.
She believed she had two perfect sons – a standing they enjoyed but hardly deserved. However, they soon found that status transferred to her grandchildren when they entered the picture.
Disciplining the kids in Doreen’s presence was futile as she would always side with them, minimize the offence and usually share a story of their fathers’ indiscretions.
She loved to look after the grandkids as well. When she babysat, the parents would come home to find couch cushions stacked on the floor to facilitate a game of cannon ball, and Doreen waiting to show off a new dance routine. The kids would be sporting new haircuts, and wearing huge smiles.
Sometimes Doreen initiated the chaos. Once, she and Al were invited to Jim’s house to look at the new king-size bed. Al admired the wood and the craftsmanship.
Later that evening, a thunderous crack emerged from the bedroom. It sounded like an oak tree splitting in two. Apparently, Doreen’s trampoline lessons with Zach and Haylee on the new bed were going too well. The bedrails were splintered, and all three of the trampoliners had vacated the scene. Fortunately, Al took the bed home and repaired it.
Doreen also loved to shop. Due to her generous spirit, her spending was usually in support of family, friends or impoverished seasonal workers in Dresden.
The family will never forget Doreen lying on a hospital gurney heading for her first 13-hour brain operation and asking us if we were okay.
We have warm memories that will last for generations. Yes, she left us far too soon, but we take comfort in the fact we knew and loved her.
Jim Weese is Doreen’s son.