Doris Braatz, age 103 years, 6 months and 10 days, passed away peacefully on Thursday, February 16th, 2023, at the Neillsville Retirement Community, where she resided for the past three years.
Doris Bernice Erickson was born on August 6th, 1919, to Elmer and Olga (Jackson) Erickson in Knaap, WI, the third of four children. Her mother passed away in February of 1922, when she was only 3 years old. Her father married Frances Wilm in July of 1927 and their family grew with one step-brother, two half-brothers and one half-sister. The family moved to Neillsville in 1929.
Doris attended Kurth School in the town of Grant, receiving her education through eighth grade. She eventually left school to work on her close friend, Lila Hubing's family farm. This is where she met and married Carl Eisentraut in August of 1937. The new couple made their home on the Eisentraut family farm south of the Neillsville airport, and welcomed three sons: Arne, James and David. A capable homemaker at a young age, Doris enjoyed hand-making clothes for her family.
Later in life, Doris would marry Victor Braatz, of Granton, in October of 1982. The couple made their home in Island Lake, WI, enjoying the community for 26 years. In their later years, Victor and Doris would move back to Neillsville to be closer to family.
Throughout her life, Doris enjoyed helping others and had a successful 31-year career working at the local nursing home in Neillsville and serving as a home-health care provider in Rusk County until the age of 88. An accomplished seamstress, she made many quilts, dolls and baptismal gowns for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Doris was also a great story-teller and had a published story featured in the local newspaper sharing memories of daily life from her youth. She stayed physically active by bowling and golfing, and won a local golf championship at the Neillsville County Club. She also organized a group of eight women to 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 that time, that she could walk that far. Of the eight that started she was one of three that finished. She enjoyed the love and companionship of her dogs, Cutie and Ms. Cutie.
Doris is survived by her son, Arne (Bonnie) Eisentraut of Arizona, two daughters-in-law, Mary Eisentraut of Highland Park, IL and Pat (Jack O'Brien) Eisentraut of Neillsville, WI, two step children, Linda Holtz of Cecil, WI and Victor Braatz Jr. of Germany. 10 grandchildren, Debbie (Mark) Tlusty of Neillsville, WI, Dixie (Bob Skroch) Oldham of Neillsville, WI, Jeanne (Jeff) Strangfeld of Neillsville, WI, Cathy Shelley of Highland Park, IL, Tami (Dave) Jones of Southlake, TX, Margaret (Bill) Taylor of Dixon, IL, Jody (Mitch) Hediger of Marion, IA, Kristi (Bryan) Krehmeyer of Rice Lake, WI Paula (Jude) Sturman of Portland, OR, David (Carolyn) Eisentraut of DeForest, WI, 15 Great Grandchildren and 20 Great Great Grandchildren. Many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her sons, James Eisentraut and David Eisentraut, a great grandson, John Oldham, a great great grandson, Samuel Strangfeld, her parents, Elmer and Olga Erickson, brothers, George Erickson, Earl Erickson, sister, Clara (Erickson) Dahlke, two half-brothers, Wallace Erickson, James Erickson and half sister, Mildred (Erickson) True, step brother, Philip Erickson, husbands, Carl Eisentraut and Victor Braatz and a step-daughter, Yvonne Hoagland.
Doris will be genuinely missed by all those who knew her and loved her. A celebration of Doris's life will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, July 22, 2023 at the Gesche Funeral Home in Neillsville.
Online Condolences may be made at www.geschefh.com.
Gesche Funeral Home and Cremation Service is assisting Doris's family with funeral arrangements.