Doris E. Corbett


Doris Ellen (Knopps) Corbett, age 90, formerly of Staples, passed away on March 24, 2020, at the Good Shepherd Community in Sauk Rapids, MN. Doris was born on July 24, 1929, to Jane (Styer) and Louis Knopps in Menomonie, Wisconsin. She was raised on a large farm outside Menomonie and, as the oldest of three daughters, was her dad’s “right hand man”. She attended college to become a teacher but, after only one year, returned to help out at the farm when her dad got sick.

She subsequently joined Capital Airlines as a flight attendant, a calling she dearly loved and reminisced about often. While working as a flight attendant, she met Harold Corbett at a gathering of young adult Catholics. She and “Hap” got married on December 27, 1958. They moved to Staples after their first baby was born and Doris stayed home to raise their children. In 1973, when her youngest of eight children started kindergarten, she began working half days at Staples High School, which became full days when he started first grade. She worked in many different areas of the school, including a teacher’s aide, a lunchroom supervisor, and an assistant in the counseling office, and enjoyed every minute of every day. She was honored in 1987 with the Outstanding Layperson in Education Award. In later years, one of her favorite places to work was the Freshwater Area Learning Center and in 2004 was asked by staff and students to give the commencement address at their graduation ceremony. In 2006, at the young age of 77, she studied for and passed the paraprofessional certification exam, getting one of the highest scores in the area.

Doris was very adept at managing her household, which was especially challenging when Hap would be on the road for work. A typical winter school morning started with Doris waking at 5:00 am to put wood in the furnace, making breakfast and packing cold lunches tailored to each one of her kids’ liking, going to work, then preparing dinner when the school day was done. Somehow, she fit getting a load or two of laundry in, too. In addition, she seldom missed any of her children’s sporting events or concerts because she so thoroughly enjoyed them. On weekends and in the summer, it was not unheard of for people who lived south of town to drop a kid or two off with Doris as they went into town to shop. Doris was able to manage eight kids, what could it hurt to add a few more for an hour or two! Doris preferred working outside, doing most any farm-like work possible, including gardening, roofing, various construction or carpentry projects, and cutting/hauling/splitting/stacking firewood, to name a few.

She was an incredible grandmother (and great-grandmother), always making time to engage with her grandchildren. Whether playing games, camping, watching their activities, or even having a sleep-over in the camper, she showed her grandchildren how much she loved them by her actions. A special treat her grandchildren, and her children, loved were her pancakes, made from scratch with no written recipe.

Doris was a very faith-filled, patient, loving, and caring person who put others before herself and always tried to see the best in people. She was dearly loved and will be missed.

She is survived by her children, Kevin (Sally) of Detroit Lakes, Ken of Woodbury, Fran (Terry) of Medfield, MA, Colleen (John) Lawson of Lott, TX, Phil (Kelly) of Sartell, Tim (Bridget) of Pierz, Cella (Bob) Johnson of Sacred Heart, and Charlie (Jen) Corbett of Brooklyn Park; her sister Phyllis Miller of Fitchburg, WI; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Doris is preceded in death by her husband, Harold (Hap); parents, Jane and Louis; sister Lila Spindler; granddaughter Mary Doris Corbett; great-granddaughter Charlotte Marie Johnson; and brothers-in-law, Charlie Spindler and Clarence Miller.

Funeral services for Doris will be held at a later date. The family prefers memorials to the Good Shepherd Community, 1115 4th Avenue North, Sauk Rapids, MN, 56739.

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