Friday, March 4, 2016
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
Paw Paw Location
60900 Michigan 40
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Food and refreshments will be served.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Doris Sly, words such as kind, patient, and positive come to mind. However, perhaps the word that paints the most accurate picture of her is the word selfless. Doris was completely devoted to her family and made certain that her children each knew how deeply they were loved. Life was not without times of trial for her, but Doris was a woman of unwavering courage and strength that was deeply rooted in her vibrant faith. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
The 1930s were largely defined by the Great Depression that covered our nation and much of the world like a dark storm cloud throughout the entire decade. Jobs were scarce, which sent the unemployment rate soaring, and nearly all American families felt the strain. It was during some of the most challenging days that Lewis and Ethel (Campbell) Lamphere were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their own lives as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Doris on June 24, 1932, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She was the eighth of nine children in her family and was raised in the Pine Grove area. To support their family, Doris’ father was a farmer while her mother focused her time and attention at home.
In many ways, Doris was a young girl of her generation. She was often found playing among her siblings, and when she was five she and her sister collided and Doris was knocked out. As a result, she was never able to remember anything prior to that day. She and all her siblings loved playing baseball with their dad, and Doris always had fond memories of sitting around the table snapping beans with her mother. Tragedy stuck in the Lamphere family with the death of Doris’ father when she was 13. Her mother was unable to care for all of her children so Doris went to live with others and fulfilled a nanny type role until she was 17. She and her siblings attended a church school thanks to the generous efforts of their neighbor, Dr. Spaulding, who paid their way. Doris was always so proud to have learned the 10 commandments, which earned her a ride on his private plane. As a family it was a big deal when they all got together for a family picnic by the lake. Doris attended school through the eighth grade.
Life was forever changed for Doris when she met and later married a man named Lawrence James as a young girl of 17. It was always the joke that she got married to get out of taking care of kids, but the ironic thing was that Doris and her husband went on to have nine kids in ten years. Sadly, it was shortly after the birth of their ninth child that Lawrence left Doris on her own. Life was anything but easy for Doris to be a single mother trying to support and raise her children on her own in Kalamazoo. She did some ironing on the side to make some money.
In her thirties, Doris married Elbert Caulder. With this marriage she also took on three stepchildren, and together they also had one daughter, Leona. At times Doris ran an in-home daycare, and she also worked as a nursing aid at White Oaks Assisted Living. In 1982, she was deeply saddened with Elbert’s death.
It was while working at White Oaks that Doris met a man named Luther Sly. There was a connection that was nearly immediate, and they were married a short time later in 1990. They spent their sunset years living in Lawton to be closer to family, and together Doris and Luther were an active part of their community. They regularly attended services at their church, First Baptist in Lawton, and then later at St. Paul's Methodist Church in Lawton. Doris and Luther enjoyed taking trips with the Lawton Senior Group, and they also loved camping at the Nazarene campground in Vicksburg. Their little black poodle, Naomi, always went everywhere with them. Doris looked so forward to spending time with her family, and she was forever bragging about the grandchildren who made her so very proud. Of course her faith was her constant companion, and Doris was more than willing to do whatever she could to be a witness to others about the reason for the joy in her heart. For years she impacted the hearts of young ones as a Sunday school teacher. The holidays were always a special time with family, and Easter was Doris’ favorite.
Over the years, Doris was one to keep busy. She and Luther loved going to garage sales, and she was always looking for knick knacks to add to her extensive collection. Doris was often busy with a puzzle, and she enjoyed cross-stitch and embroidery as well as working on word searches. Every Saturday night she watched one of her favorites, Lawrence Welk, and she also enjoyed the gospel music of the Gaithers. Of course Doris treasured her Bible, and she was frequently deep in Bible study. As her family and friends can attest, she believed that gravy went on everything, and both bread and gravy and Fudgesicles were among her favorite treats. Doris didn’t do a ton of traveling, but she did go to visit Leona while she was living in Hawaii. During the past four years, Doris lived with Leona and Larry so they could care for her.
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Doris Sly lived a life of purpose while holding her loved ones near. She was accompanied by an unwavering faith, and it was her faith that was the compass she used to direct her steps. A more devoted family woman would be hard to find, and Doris was filled with unspeakable joy to witness her family tree blossom to include the grandchildren and great-grandchildren she adored. She could be a bit stubborn, but she always loved without condition and freely extended forgiveness as well. Dearly loved, Doris will never be forgotten.
Doris Sly died on March 2, 2016, at her daughter's home in Lawton. Doris is survived by her 5 children: Robert James, Patricia (Bob) Davidson, KaSandra James, Thomas (Kelly) James, and Leona (Larry) Pease; 2 step-children: Hank (Mary) Caulder and Dana Caulder-WIlson (James); many grand and great-grandchildren and her sister, Ruth Austin. Doris was preceded in death by her husbands, Elbert Caulder and Luther Sly; 4 children: Michael, Johnny, Bruce, and Carol James; a still-born; step-daughter, Faye DeJong; and by 8 siblings. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Friday from 5-8 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler & Thompson , 60900 M-40; 269-657-3870 where services will be held Saturday 2 p.m. with visitation beginning at 1 p.m. Burial will take place at Oak Grove Cemetery, Lawton followed by a luncheon at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. Please visit Doris' personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.