Doris M. Keener, 87, of Bolivar passed away Sunday, December 9, 2018 at her home following a brief illness.
Born September 5, 1931 in Dover she was a daughter of the late Alvin and Marie Graves Moser. Doris was also preceded in death by her husband, Merlyn “Mike” Keener on November 14, 2014; daughter, Debra Porterfield; sister, Jane Liotti and brother, Alvin Moser.
Doris was fresh out of high school in 1949 when she began working as a proofreader at the former Daily Reporter in Dover. Young and new to the business, she had a keen eye for detail and was valued for her editing capabilities. Considered a rising talent, she was named Associate Society Editor the following year.
On May 19, 1950 she married Merlyn “Mike” Keener. When the couple started a family, the paper’s publisher advised her to quit her job because her morning sickness would “not be tolerated”. She left the office, but because she was such a gifted proofreader, the newspaper sent stories to her to edit from her home.
After giving birth to her daughters, Doris returned to work part-time in the evenings and then in 1964 returned to work full-time as a proofreader. This began an 18 year career at what is now The Times Reporter. She became the newspaper’s first woman State Editor, handling copy from correspondents from their hometowns in outlying areas of Tuscarawas, Carroll, Harrison and Holmes counties. She went on to hold many titles at work – City Editor, Wire Editor, Copy Editor and Editorial Page Editor, eventually learning every facet of the business. She loved what she did and it showed in her work.
Cub reporters admired her for her even temperament and kindness and sought her advice and wisdom, she always obliged.
Doris was especially proud of the historical sections she planned, helped to write and designed. The Founders Edition, reprinted 2 years ago, spotlighted Tuscarawas counties founding businessmen. Another was devoted to soldiers throughout the paper’s circulation area who fought in the Civil War.
An award-winning journalist, she was a social activist long before the movement trickled-down from big cities into Rural America. She had an easy, natural flair for writing. She was adventurous and was one of the first women to take flying lessons locally.
Doris retired from newspapering in 1982, but not from working outside the home. She had graduated from KSU at 51 years of age, earning a Bachelor’s of Education degree and became a substitute grade school teacher at Tusky Valley for many years, even teaching some of her grandchildren. She read constantly and felt getting an education was the most important thing that one could do for themselves.
Doris and Mike were avid gardeners and raised huge gardens, and of course she shared with all the family and friends. She also prized her beautiful flowers which she and all the neighbors enjoyed. She was an active member of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Strasburg where she had been a member of the choir, served on many different committees and taught Sunday School.
Doris is survived by her children, Sandra (Tedd) Finlayson of Bolivar, Brenda (John) Bitikofer of Strasburg, Melissa (Lisa Vaughn) Lawrence of Massillon; sisters, Carol Allison of New Philadelphia, Peggy (Joe) Osburn of Parma, Janet (Scott) Robinson of Cleveland Heights; brother, David (Cherry) Moser of Springfield, Virginia; son in law, Robert Porterfield of Navarre; grandchildren, Megan and Andrew Porterfield and Susan Kohlhaas of Indianapolis, Kristina Finlayson of North Canton, Julia Finlayson of Bolivar, Gregory Finlayson of Kettering, Eric and Adam Bitikofer of Strasburg, Aaron Bitikofer of Dover, Sarah Covell and Jessica Marsh of Massillon and Rachel Macris of Canton; 21 great-grandchildren, Lance, Elizabeth, Charles and Jack Kohlhaas of Indianapolis, Hannah and Zachary Finlayson of Kettering, Shay and Elliott Finlayson of North Canton, Aleese, Lillian and Andersen Bitikofer of Strasburg, Layla, Aiyana and Zariyah Bitikofer of Dover, Bryn and Jacob Marsh and Scott Covell of Massillon and Michael and Eleni Macris of Canton, Eleanor Porterfield of Indianapolis and Oliver Finlayson of Bolivar.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, December 13 at 11:00 am in the First Lutheran Church at Strasburg with Pastor Karen Biggerstaff officiating. Interment will be at the Dover Burial Park. Following the burial, a luncheon will be held in the church social hall. Friends may call at the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home and Crematory at Dover on Wednesday from 4-7 pm. Those wishing to express their fondest memories of Doris may do so by visiting the online obituaries link on the funeral home’s website.
Memorial contributions may be made to First Lutheran Church at 211 Eighth St. S.W., Strasburg, Ohio 44680.