Bio: Braatz, Doris (100th Birthday - 2019)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Braatz, Erickson, Eisentraut,
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 5/29/2019
Doris Braatz Celebrates 100 Years (100th Birthday - 2019)
Doris Braatz Celebrates 100 Years
Doris “Eisentraut” Braatz
By Valorie Brecht
She has a glint in her eye and a sassy spirit to go along with it. She keeps busy with sewing, reading, spending time with family and friends and taking care of her pet dog. Despite breaking her hip in March, she gets around well and lives independently.
By all appearances, and given all that she does, one might be surprised to learn that Doris (Eisentraut) Braatz is nigh 100 years old. Her birthday is Tuesday.
“It’s all my son’s fault. He’s 81 so he makes me old,” said Doris, laughing. “I don’t feel that old,” she added.
Doris was born Doris Erickson Aug. 6, 1919, in Knapp, a village in Dunn County west of Menomonie. She grew up on a farm, the third of four children. She also had three half-brothers and one half-sister from her father’s second marriage.
Doris’ mother passed away when she was two-and-a-half years old, during the birth of Doris’ brother. Doris’ father then had to raise the family by himself.
Doris learned responsibility from a young age from helping out with chores like washing dishes. There was no running water, so they had to pump the water and heat it up on the stove.
“There was always something to do on the farm,” Doris recalled.
When Doris was around 10 years old, her father remarried. At that time, the family moved to Neillsville.
“When we moved to Neillsville we traveled on a gravel road. And I can remember they were just planning to build the Silver Dome … it don’t seem possible. It took us two days to get here, 100 miles. We stopped in Eau Claire and stayed overnight,” said Doris.
Doris attended Kurth School in the Town of Grant through eighth grade. After that, she mainly stayed at home and worked on the farm. She got her first driver’s license when she was 16 for 25 cents.
Doris married Carl Eisentraut at the age of 18. They had three sons, Arne, Jimmy and David. They lived on a farm about a mile south of the Neillsville airport off of USH 10. When Arne was in third grade, they moved into a brick farmhouse on USH 10 across from the Industrial Park and continued farming there.
“I loved the farm,” said Doris.
Doris separated from her first husband. She married her second husband, Victor Braatz of Granton, in 1982. She has three step-children: Yvonne, Linda and Victor Jr. Doris and Victor moved to Island Lake in Rusk County and lived there for 26 years.
Doris spent 31 years working. Twenty of those years were at the nursing home in Neillsville and the rest of the time she provided home health care while living in Rusk County.
When doing home health care, “I started out three days a week and then it ended up being more,” she said. “:But I loved it because I ended up meeting a lot of the people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
On her 88th birthday, she received a 10-year pin in a ceremony in Weyerhauser.
Doris and Victor returned to Neillsville and moved into a house in town. Victor passed away in 2011.
Doris has had many interests throughout her life, but one of her chief joys has been watching her family grow, all the way to the fifth generation and seeing her great-great-grandchildren.
Doris has 10 grandchildren. Her son Arne married Bonnie and they had two daughters, Debbie and Dixie. Her son Jimmy married Mary and they had three daughters, Cathy, Margaret and Paula. Her son David married Pat and hey had three daughters – Jeannie, Tammy, and Jodi – and one son, David, Jr.
Doris loves her three sons but had always wanted a girl, too, so she was particularly excited when her first granddaughter was born.
“When Debbie was born, she broke out in hives, she was so excited. They had to keep her at the hospital for a while,” said Bonnie.
Doris has kept busy with a variety of activities throughout her life. She has always loved to sew.
“I have sewed since I was about three years old,” said Doris. “I dreamed when I was little if I could just have two spools of thread … when I finished the chores in the barn, my dad would always have something to sew on. He’d say, today when you finish you can have a stick of candy or a spool of thread. I always took the spool of thread. And he’d give me his overalls and tell me to patch up the holes. I could sew up a spool of thread in a day.”
Doris would watch a sewing program on television and could sit down afterward and perfectly replicate the dress they made on the show, said Doris’ daughter-in-law Bonnie. Doris has sewn many baptismal dresses for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She still completes alterations and always has a few projects going.
Doris used to collect antiques and re-finish and re-upholster furniture.
Doris has also enjoyed bowling, dancing and golfing throughout her life. She won club championship in golf one year. She was part of a group of eight women that planned a walk from Neillsville to Eau Claire, a distance of 53 miles. She did it to prove to her son David, who was in the Marines at the time, that she could walk that far. Of the eight that that started the walk, Doris was one of only three that finished.
“It was because I was golfing so much at the time. If I wasn’t a golfer, I never could have made it that far,” said Doris.
Doris has also traveled somewhat, having been to Alaska, California and Canada.
Doris enjoys reading. She subscribes to several publications, including agriculture publications, and watches RFD-TV to stay abreast of what’s happening in the world of farming. She enjoys word searches. She recently got a new dog, who keeps her company at home.
Doris hasn’t driven since she broke her hip, but her grandkids and friends take her out to lunch or dinner regularly.
“Whenever someone comes, she’s ready to go,” said Bonnie.
Many people ae impressed at how well Doris does for her age. She just keeps going. Doris offered the following advice for living a long life.
“Be active,” she said. “They say that’s what keeps you going. The 20 years I worked up in the nursing home, people came to the nursing home and sat in the corner and didn’t do anything. Pretty soon they can’t walk and so on. Being active is very important in people’s lives.”
There will be a birthday celebration for Doris this Saturday, Aug. 3, in the Schuster Park north pavilion from 1 to 3 p.m. People are asked not to bring gifts.
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