Doris Jane Moore was born to Roy Emery Moore and Laura Lucille Kahley in Kenton, Hardin, OH, USA on Saturday, January 3, 1931. Doris always said she was born in Kenton, but while her birth certificate says her parents both lived in Kenton, it also says Doris was born in Goshen township, just east of Pleasant township where most of Kenton is located.
Doris attended grade school in Marseilles, Ohio, according to a 1988 resume.
I got a dog named Penny when I started first grade. We were really close and went through a lot together.Journal Entry, Doris, April, 1988.
On April 9, 1940 it was reported that Doris (Census-Name: Doris Moore), 9 years of age, was born in Ohio and currently lived in a $5/month rental (farm) in Marseilles, Wyandot, Ohio. This is the same place she lived five years prior. She lived in a household of 3. Doris had completed grade 2, and had recently been in school. Based on the age given to the census official, her birth year is 1930/1931.Source: 1940 Census [1940-US-Census-Ohio-Wyandot-Marseilles, District 88-12, Sheet 2B]
At some point in the 1940’s, at least by 1944, Doris moved to Bendon, Michigan. She was involved in choir activities at Traverse City High School as early as 1946. In December of 1947, she sang Soprano with the choir in a production of The Messiah at TCHS. In 1948 Doris sang on Mothers’s Day at the Interlochen community church and was one of two TCHS soloists (along with Lynn Brandon) to sing at the District Vocal Festival.
In March of 1948, Doris was baptized and became a member of the Methodist church in Bendon.
Doris graduated from Traverse City High School in June of 1949. We’re not sure exactly where Doris lived during this time, but it appears it was with her parents and that her grandparents were nearby. A congratulatory note from a friend in Ohio was addressed to her in June of 1949 as “Miss Doris Moore, RFD Bendon, Michigan, c/o Roy Moore”. The note reads, in part, “How are your Mother and Daddy and how is Grandpa and Grandma? I suppose you are all looking forward to a big summer season.”
Doris received congratulatory Western Union telegrams from B. H. Comstock and Morey Insurance – not sure the connection.
In July of 1949, Doris competed in the “Semi-Final Dabblers Contest”, a teen-age talent show, at the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City.
After high school, she attended one year at Owosso Bible College.
In January of 1950, Joyce Yovonne Randall, a best friend of Doris from TCHS, was married to Jack Mason. This is important to us because the bride’s name was borrowed and given to the first born daughter of Doris a few years later.
In 1951, Doris lived at 803 Lake Avenue in Traverse City, Michigan. She had a couple of odd jobs but got most of her income (approx. $1,100) working for the State of Michigan. Source: 1951 Federal Income Tax Return.
According to their marriage license, Doris was a waitress and lived at 402 Houston Avenue. Laban lived at 1691 Division Street in Muskegon and was employed as a “Core Maker” (at Lakey Foundry). Parents were listed as Roy E. Moore and Laura Kahley, and as “Danield” Arnold and “Trecie” Balitz.
Laban D. Arnold, 1691 Division street, and Miss Doris Jane Moore, 402 Houston avenue.Marriage License Applications: Local newspaper
The house Doris lived in at the time, 402 Houston, is a vacant lot in 2021. The house Laban lived at, on Division, is still standing as of 2021.
Doris married Laban Daniel Arnold at Pilgrim Parsonage in Muskegon, Muskegon, Michigan, USA on Saturday, October 18, 1952. The marriage was officiated by Reverend Don F. Price (1st Pilgrim Church, 228 Washington Avenue in Muskegon) and witnessed by Allen F. Arnold and Dorothy A. Arnold. Wedding gifts included: $60, a blanket from Lakey’s, a pressure cooker from Alvin and Charlotte, a waffle iron from mom and Dad Moore, and a cake plate.
The newspaper clipping announcing their marriage listed their future residence as 1589 Park Street in Muskegon. That address is a vacant lot in 2021.
Children of Doris and Laban include:
Doris and Laban welcomed their first child in 1953 while living at 620 Marquette Avenue in Muskegon:
In 1956, their second child arrived while they lived at 620 Marquette Avenue in Muskegon:
The exact date is unclear, but pictures indicate that Doris and her family moved from 620 Marquette Avenue to 540 Leonard Avenue by Christmas of 1957.
Doris and Laban welcomed their third child in 1958 while living at 540 Leonard Avenue in Muskegon:
In September of 1958, according to a blood donor thank you note addressed to Laban, we learn that they lived at 540 Leonard Avenue. [Note: The blood donor card and other mail actually say Leonard Street, but Google Maps shows it as Avenue (in 2021) so I’ll refer to it as 540 Leonard Avenue. DEA]
Doris and Laban welcomed their fourth child in 1959 while still living at 540 Leonard Avenue in Muskegon:
A return letter from Owosso College in 1960, implies some sadness in the life of Doris, but no indication as to why. They did offer advice that is good for any tome or occasion:
We trust that as you continue to follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit, you will be led back to the way of joy you once knew. Do read your Bible and keep seeking the Lord.Letter from Owosso College, August 17, 1960.
Doris and Laban welcomed their fifth child in 1961 while still living at 540 Leonard Avenue in Muskegon:
Doris and family still lived at 540 Leonard Avenue on May 2, 1962, according to another letter addressed to Doris from Owosso College.
In May of 1963, Doris and her family moved into the house Laban and her built at 4086 Bexley Drive, between Muskegon and Fruitport.
I remember moving to Bexley in May of the year I was in fourth grade, and did not have to finish the school year. I don’t remember how they “evaluated” me, but they passed me through to fifth grade.Joyce Y. Arnold (aka Randles) Memoirs
The house was 30’x32′, including the 6’x13′ open wood porch notched into the northwest corner. The lot was 176′ deep with 100′ frontage on Bexley, and backed up to Shettler School property. They got the design/plans from the Small House Planning Bureau out of St. Cloud, MN. It was “Design C-54” and was listed as 1,056 square feet, not including garage. It looks like they stuck pretty close to the design, but omitted the entry closet, fireplace, and garage/breezeway.
An attached breezeway and garage give this house the wide appearance now so popular. The house itself is a compact three-bedroom plan with plenty of closet and storage space. A storage closet 4’x5′-6 is large enough for linen cabinet and storage of large equipment. There are coat closets in the living room and rear entry and wardrobe closets elsewhere.
A counter separates the kitchen and dinette, both of which have corner windows. A storage cabinet on the inside wall is in addition to the regular cabinets. Exterior finish is siding and asphalt shingles. The garage alcove is ideal for storage and work bench.Design C-54, Small House Planning Bureau
The exact details of construction financing are hazy — a $10,000, seven percent, one year contract with Bolema Lumber and Building Supplies on April 19, 1961 — a 30-year six percent mortgage for $9,000 was taken on June 19, 1963. A life insurance policy was offered as additional collateral to secure the loan. The value of the life insurance policy is unknown. Also, it looks like the property/land itself was financed from Bolema Lumber and Building Supplies, for $2,929 with a five year, seven percent loan.
On the occasion of her 15 year TCHS class reunion, Doris submitted that she was a married homemaker with five children aged three to ten, and a husband who was a mechanic. For “highlights” she said “Built own home taking two years but worth it.”
Doris and Laban welcomed their sixth and final child in 1964 around a year after moving to 4086 Bexley in Muskegon:
On July 3, 1965, her husband Laban was on a ladder trimming a tree with a chainsaw when a limb came at him and caused him to fall. As a result he suffered a severely shattered ankle and was on crutches for two years.
Doris began learning to drive that year. On her Temporary Instruction Permit, issued September 20, 1965, she is listed as having brown hair, blue eyes, 175 pounds and 5′ 3.5″ tall. She had no restriction with regards to corrective glasses.
Doris took a church membership class in June of 1969 at the Muskegon First Free Methodist church, while Reverend Bruce Meads was pastor .
In August of 1972, Doris was baptized at the Muskegon First Free Methodist church, while Reverend Fred Hildenbrand was pastor.
The Drivers License issued to Doris in March of 1973 listed blue eyes, 180 pounds, 5′ 4″ tall, and showed restrictions for corrective lenses, and one year probation. Probably her first license.
Over the years, beginning in 1973, Doris shared in the joy of the marriage of each of her children:
In July of 1975, Doris became a Life Member of the Woman’s Missionary Society of the Free Methodist Church.
In May of 1979, Laban and Doris purchased a used 1975 eight-cylinder two-door Buick LeSabre with 46,000 miles, for $2,800 from Rick Spoelman of Spoelman Auto. (Spoelman’s were neighbors on Bexley.) They financed $2,600 at 12.91%, committing to 30 months of $103.73 payments. This may have been the newest/nicest car they ever owned.
Doris served as a Circuit Court Juror in November 1975.
In October of 1977, Doris and Laban celebrated their silver (25th) wedding anniversary with a dinner at “The Plaka” in Muskegon, where they enjoyed Filet Mignon and the Fisherman Platter.
In March of 1982, Bolema Lumber executed a Quit Claim transferring their interest in Bexley to Laban and Doris, for the sum of $11,835; subject to Mortgage at Equitable Life in the amount of $5,271. This may mean that a second mortgage was paid off, and the $5,271 was the amount still owed on the first mortgage. this would help explain how the family got by during the time Laban was laid up. But that is just a guess at this time.
In 1983, Laban and Doris built a detached 20×24 garage on the Bexley Drive property.
On February 16, 1987, when Doris was 56, her husband Laban passed away – he was only 57. Doris lived with Laban at the hospital the last three weeks of his life.
I am like a lost puppy. My husband always took care of everything and now I’m trying to figure out what to do. Half is gone, only half remains. I know God will make a way somehow.Letter from Doris, March 1987
The Social Security Administration came through with a “lump-sum death payment” for Laban, and sent Doris a check for $255 in April 1987. It would be a long four years, however, before Doris started receiving monthly Social Security benefits. A month later, she received a $5,000 payout from Laban’s life insurance policy. It is believed that Doris spent a portion of this to payoff the approximately $2,900 remaining on the mortgage of her home.
By May of 1987, Doris was working as a telephone solicitor at a marketing company. We see from a resume, that her company closed their office six months later.
By June of 1988, Doris was working two jobs. Town & Country Homecrafters, and the Detroit News. She was getting a small amount of food stamps at the time – $13 that month – but wanted to be able get off the stamps. In August she was laid off at the Detroit News because of their merger with the Free Press, then hired again, and then laid off again in November of 1989 when the merger was official.
I miss my sweetie but the edge is beginning to wear off!!:) How about that??:) It gets better emotionally.Journal Entry, Doris, August, 1988.
Starting in December 1989, Doris worked in telephone sales at the Muskegon Chronicle for 12 years between Laban’s passing and her own.
In April of 1990, Doris lost her job with Town & Country when they closed their doors. She quickly got another job with Timberline Construction making $5/hour plus commission.
I start in May. They are in process of moving to a new location. I get a phone with a headset and $5/hour and commission besides. Lord help me do good because Joyce’s resume made me sound awfully good – I tooted my own horn a little too.Journal Entry, Doris, April, 1990.
Doris’s beloved cat, Morris, died in August of 1990.
In February of 1991, Doris received her first monthly Social Security check.
Doris had a total replacement of her left knee in June of 1998.
In July of 1999, Doris and her son Dan enjoyed “50 Years of Memories” at the reunion of TCHS Class of 1949 at Mountain Jack’s in Acme, Michigan, just north of Traverse City.
Doris retierd from her sales job at the Muskegon Chronicle in December of 2001.
Doris passed away of pneumonia at Mercy Hospital in Muskegon, Muskegon, MI, USA at 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 25, 2002 at the age of 71. According to her death certificate, she had diabetes, liver cirrhosis, renal failure, and metabolic acidosis, which contributed to her death but did not directly cause the pneumonia.
Regarding the Memorial service for Doris at Oak-Crest Church of God at 1540 Leonard Avenue in Muskegon:
Doris J. Arnold was led by her angel into the presence of her Lord on Tuesday, June 25, 2002, where her husband, Laban, had been waiting. Was surely a glad reunion! Memorial services were held on Thursday, June 27, 2002 at 2:00 p.m. at Oak-Crest Church of God with Pastor James Probelski officiating.Oak-Crest Church of God bulletin, the following Sunday
Doris’s cremation was handled by West Michigan Crematory Services and Clock Funeral Home in Muskegon.
Her six children gathered at the Platte Cemetery on September 1, 2002 for a graveside ceremony to honor her and Laban as they laid their cremains to rest.