Joanne "Jodie" Doster
Aug 9th 1938 - Jul 20th 2012
Joanne “Jodie” Marshall Doster was born August 9, 1938, in Plainwell, Michigan, the oldest child of William H. and Paige (Woodward) Marshall. She grew up in her father’s funeral home in Plainwell and through the years. She and her sister, Mary, helped their mom and dad set up chairs and vacuum the carpets, before and after funerals. In those years the funeral home was alive with the sounds of piano, drums, march music and the laughter of young children, as Jodie and Mary practiced their dancing, musical instruments, singing, and baton twirling. Of course there were many times when the girls had to be very quiet and they were sent to their rooms upstairs where they had to rest and read until funeral serviced or visitations were over! Then things got noisy again, with friends visiting and Jodie, with Mary’s help, giving dance lessons to the neighborhood girls in the funeral home garage, or Mary practicing her drumming, and Jodie teaching baton in the back yard.
By the time she reached 7th grade, Jodie was the youngest majorette in the high school band, becoming the featured twirler and drum majorette in the 9th-12th grade. She continued to be active in the tap and ballet dancing, and joined the high school French Club, Speech Club, Student Council, and newspaper staff. She was one of the four juniors elected to the National Honor Society, and served as secretary of the society in her senior year. Jodie, was also given the honor of giving the speech at graduation.
After high school Jodie attended Western Michigan University on a four year complete scholarship as the featured twirler with the WMU Marching Band. In her college years she also performed at half-time shows for the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, and Marching Band Festivals throughout the state. In her first two and a half years at WMU, Jodie continued to compete in baton competitions throughout the USA, and won two of the most coveted national open championships: Grand champion of the Tangerine Bowl, in Orland, FL, when she was the featured performer at the halftime show on January 1, 1957, and in May 1957 she won the coveted national grand champion title in the Tulip Festival in Holland, MI where she performed in the Tulip Time Variety Show in the Holland Civic Center. Jodie was also honored in the senior year at WMU to be elected by the faculty to Pi Gamma Mu, the national social science honor society.
Jodie began teaching baton twirling when she was in the 10th grade in 1954, and spent the next 40 years training thousands of young people to become experts at twirling and putting on a show in front of their marching bands. Many of her students competed in baton competitions and there were huge collections of trophies in homes all over SW Michigan. Jodie was very proud of her daughter, Kerrie and her granddaughter, Alyssa, who were pictured with Jodie, in 2006, in the Kalamazoo Gazette, as the only family in Michigan with three generations of state champion baton twirlers.
In March, 1958, Jodie organized the Liberty Belles Baton and Musical Corps of the Greater Kalamazoo Valley of Michigan, with twirlers and musicians from all over SW Michigan. They performed in hundreds of parades, shows, and competitions throughout the USA, including nationally televised parades, and half-time shows.
Jodie’s other favorite hobby was Genealogy. She produced two well known books: “Pioneer Families of Barry County, Michigan”, in 1995; and “Pioneer Families in the Kalamazoo Valley of Michigan”, in 1998. She was active in genealogy to the end of her life, and was still twirling her batons (yes two of tem) as late as 2010, in parades and shows.
On December 27, 1958, Jodie married her high school sweetheart, William Paul Doster, and together they had three children: Todd William, in 1960; Scott Dale, in 1962; and Kerrie Dianne, in 1964. The Doster household was a busy one with baseball, football, basketball, volleyball, baton twirling, musical instruments, dance lessons, Sunday school, and lots and lots of neighborhood and school friends always welcome.
As much as Jodie loved her twirling profession, she loved even more bringing up her three kids and watching them grow into fine adults. She never knew what they would come up with next: including the Beako, Earo, and Cheeko stage, referring to Todd’s nose, Scott’s ears, and Kerrie’s cheeks; or the time they knocked a leather organ bench into an electric heater and melted the bench; Scott doing a belly-flopper on the coffee table and breaking the table legs; Todd falling into a hole that Scott had dug just for his brother to fall into and Todd, while bleeding from a bad cut, running home, and Scott yelling “don’t tell Dad!!”; and Kerrie chasing her brothers with her batons. Well, it was a three ring circus in the Doster home, but they did grow into fine adults and then the six grandchildren kept the Doster home lively and fun. Jodie has great hopes for all of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren nieces, and nephews, and grandnieces and nephews. Jodie and Bill were so proud of Todd, with his athletic and leadership abilities; Scott, with his outgoing personality, and cooking skills; Kerrie, such a pretty girl, with lots of talents and intelligence; Robert and Jamie, such a nice couple and such good parents; Travis, well, wow, go Mendon!! How proud we were of our quarterback who led Mendon to their State Championship, in 2005; Josh, the excellent scholar and athlete for Plainwell, Jessica another scholar athlete from Mendon who earned more varsity letters than anybody in the history of the family; Alyssa "Bugg", I loved watching you grow into such a beautiful spirit; Jacob score a touchdown for me and the Plainwell Trojans. Adam and Elizabeth Your Grandma Jodie expects wonderful things out of each of you too. And each and everyone of you try to remember how much you have been loved, and remember the golden rule: “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you!”
Joanne “Jodie” Marshall Doster, of Kalamazoo passed away on Friday, July 20, 2012 at the age of 73. Jodie is survived by her three children: Todd (Sharon) Doster, of Three Rivers; Scott Doster, of Cooper Twp; Kerrie (Al) Jackson, of Plainwell; her mother: Paige Marshall, of Plainwell; six grandchildren: Travis and Jessica Doster, both of Three Rivers; Alyssa Coe, of Kalamazoo; Robert (Jamie) Saddler, of Three Rivers; Joshua and Jacob Jackson, both of Plainwell. She is also survived by two great grandchildren; a brother-in-law: Wally Fritz; an uncle: Dave Colegrove; three nieces: Leesa (Rick) Paul; Jennifer (Dave) Brown; Alicia Fritz; a nephew: Christopher Carey; two grandnieces and two grandnephews; several cousins; special friend Ed McMahon and many friends and former baton students. She is preceded in death by her husband: William Doster, in 2009; her father, William Marshall; sister, Mary Lee Fritz, both in 2002.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday from 4 to 7 PM at the Life Story Funeral Home, 120 S. Woodhams, Plainwell (685-5881). A funeral service will be held on Wednesday at 11 AM at the same location. Burial will be at the Hillside Cemetery.
Please visit Jodie’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can sign her memory book online before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to the Parchment United Methodist Church, or William Crispe Community Home, Assisted Living in Plainwell.