Doris Marie Girard Gilbert, 88, passed away on the morning of December 24th, at her daughter's home in Walhalla, South Carolina.
Born in Sparta, NY in 1929, she was the daughter of Luella Cora Wagner and Lester Merriman. She lived in a farming community during the Great Depression. As a child she attended a one-room schoolhouse for grades 1-8 along with her sister, Frances, and long-time friend, Letha Gilbert. At the age of 14 she obtained her social security card, her permit to work and spent two weeks out of the classroom picking potatoes for Charles Hamsher. She also worked for a short time at the Blum Shoe Factory in Dansville. And like so many Dansville locals, at age 16, she worked alongside her Aunt Flora Hamsher in the laundry department at McFadden's often referred to as the "Castle On The Hill."
After graduating from Dansville Central School, Doris attended Tulane University's Women's Baptist Seminary on a scholarship in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Doris married Lloyd Girard in 1950, a native of Metairie, Louisiana. She resided and worked in Jefferson Parish for nearly 20 years while raising three children. In 1966, Doris returned to Dansville NY with her children and began working in Dansville's elementary school cafeteria and later, as a school custodian.
Ms. Doris worked for the Dansville Central School District for 25 years. As a New York State retiree, she volunteered with St. Mary's Catholic School as a Foster Grandparent. She also served as a hospital Chaplin at Nicholas H. Noyes memorial Hospital in Dansville. She loved gospel bluegrass music including The Gaithers, Elvis, and Jimmy Swaggert. After retirement, she and her closest musical friends formed a band that sang and entertained elderly residents in nursing homes.
In 2010 Doris remarried and moved to Pelzer, SC. In more recent years she moved to a retirement community in Due West, SC where she continued her love of music and singing to assisted living residents as a volunteer. Her friends at The Renaissance will miss her dearly.
Ms. Doris will be remembered and loved for many things. The greatest was her faith and love for God's message. She loved spending time with her granddaughter, Nichole. Doris' sweet disposition and good humor, along with her wonderful story-telling that kept people laughing, is a great loss to those who love her most. She was Mom to many in her lifetime, a friend in Jesus to all.
Doris is survived by her daughter, Deborah Girard, her son, Daniel Girard, her granddaughter and husband, Nichole Girard and Mariano Andre, a great-granddaughter, Camilla Andre and a daughter-in-law, Jill Owens. Many nieces and nephews from Louisiana and New York surround her with loving memories. She was predeceased by her oldest son, Joseph Girard, her sister, Frances Merriman Hynes, and two husbands, Lloyd Girard and Marion Gilbert.
In May, of 2018, a spring funeral service will be held at Hindle Funeral Home. Interment at Kiehle Cemetery will be followed by a celebration of Doris' life to be held at Sparta Fire Hall.
Prepared by Deborah Girard