Doris Jane Swatman was born on June 12, 1923 in St. Johns, MI. She was the 4th daughter born to Harry and Dorothy (Hall) Heathman. Later two brothers completed their family. Doris lived her entire life in St. Johns staying actively involved with her family and friends. Doris grew up in a home where her mother was a homemaker and her father owned Heathman’s Paint and Wallpaper on Main Street. Family time for the Heathman’s included picnics, homemade ice cream, baseball games, croquet, and card games. Saturday night her father would pop popcorn and he’d make cones from newspapers to hold it. The house was full of activity and there was always someone to do things with. They didn’t have much but they never realized it because they were happy with each other.
Doris attended Rodney B. Wilson High School and graduated with the Class of 1942. During high school she met her future husband, Forrest Swatman at Christian Endeavor through the Congregational Church.
Her first job was for Ferd Gressley working in his bakery on Main Street. She also worked at the D & C Dime Store and later worked in the wallpaper section at Heathman’s Paint and Wallpaper while waiting for Forrest to return home from the service. Forrest and Doris were married on December 2nd, 1945. She continued to work at Heathman’s until their children, Brian and Lexa were born. During these years she helped at Swatman’s Standard Service as the bookkeeper. Together with Forrest, they built their first home and raised their family on Prospect Street. Doris was the heart of the family making everything special. She was a wonderful cook who could always feed whoever or how many, showed up at her door. Everyone felt welcome. In later years when the kids were in college, she worked for Ben Franklin until she quit to spend time with her grandchildren.
Doris was a member of the First Congregational Church in St. Johns. She belonged to the Vesper and Congregators groups. She taught Sunday School to preschoolers for many years as well as headed up the dinners the church provided after funerals. She volunteered for 17 years for the Gray Ladies and Red Cross at Clinton Memorial Hospital. She delivered mail, lunches and was instrumental in starting a library cart for the patient’s enjoyment. She was one of the original volunteers at Hazel Findlay Country Manor when it opened, and has volunteered there ever since. She was chosen volunteer of the year in 2003, 2009 and again in 2017. As a volunteer she helped make a quilt to be auctioned every year. The funds earned from these quilts helped provide Hazel Findlay with many wonderful items. They were able to purchase the covered entrance, build a pavilion in the court yard, purchase Geri chairs and wheel chairs, a stove for cooking class, a prayer room, TV’s and alarms and currently she was in the process of working toward getting music and movies for the residents. She held every office in the volunteer organization at least twice. She spent every Friday running Bingo with the residents for many years and provided support where ever was needed. Doris often said that God made her a volunteer. She loved doing things for others. She spent her life taking care of others. She cared for Forrest’s parents as well as her own in their later years. She often made daily trips to Hazel Findlay to visit her sisters and friends and loved ones. Her hobbies included golf, playing bridge, painting, reading and was still dancing at 95, as well as being with her family and friends. You could find Doris and Forrest enjoying daily walks around St. Johns often walking two miles each day for exercise.
Doris was married to Forrest for 73 years. He survives her. Also surviving is her son, Brian (Linda) Swatman of Owosso, her daughter Lexa (John) O’Brien of Chelsea. Three grandchildren, Chad (Shannon) Swatman of Corunna, Bekah (Jason) Lantis of Saline and Matthew (Jenny) Knight of Canonsburg, PA. Three step grandchildren, Erin, Shannon and Kelly O’Brien, and 8 great grandchildren, Devin Swatman-Stewart, Rachel and Tyler Swatman, Kalle and Jack Kargel and Joshua, Drew and Benjamin Knight. Also surviving is one brother, Roger (Jean) Heathman of Dansville. In addition to her family, her neighbors and TOPS friends were a great blessing to her.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Spud Heathman, sisters, Evelyn Buck, Vianna Bond and Fritz Thurston, grandson Devin Swatman and grandson-in-law, Andrew Kargel.
Funeral services will be held at First Congregational Church on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. with Reverend Matt Olson officiating. Burial will follow at Mt. Rest Cemetery. The family will receive friends and relatives at Keck-Coleman Funeral Home on Sunday, June 9, 2019, 3:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. Memorial contributions may be made to First Congregational Church or Hazel Findlay County Manor.
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