Doris Lucille Lathrop Swisher, 94, of Aberdeen, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010, at Prairie View Care Center in Woonsocket. Her funeral service was held Saturday, Feb. 13, at 2 p.m. at Schriver's Memorial Mortuary & Crematory, 414 5th Ave NW in Aberdeen.
Doris was born May 20, 1915, in Vermillion, the first child of Austin and Rose (Anderson) Lathrop. Austin owned and edited the weekly Vermillion Republican newspaper. Rose was known throughout the state as a championship golfer.
After graduating from Vermillion High School in 1934, Doris enrolled in the University of South Dakota. She majored in journalism and earned minors in English, German, art, and government. During her four years at USD, Doris was editor-in-chief of The Wet Hen, a humor magazine, and a reporter for the Volante, a weekly student newspaper. She was a member of the journalistic society Alpha Chi Alpha for which she served as vice president. She was a member of the social sorority Alpha Phi for which she served as president. Doris was also president of the Pan Hellenic Council and a member of the Women's Governing Council. Doris was actively involved with athletics at USD, with spots on the rifle, swim, basketball, and volleyball teams and the Women's Athletic Association. During this same time she also served as the society editor for the Vermillion Republican.
After graduating from USD in 1938, Doris worked for the advertising department of Davidson Brothers Company in Sioux City, IA. In 1939, Doris married high school and college sweetheart Clark L. Swisher and the couple moved to Elk Point, where he was head coach for the high school football, basketball, and track teams.
In 1942, Doris returned to Vermillion for a short time after Clark enlisted in the Army, before moving to Clarksville, KY, while her husband was training. She returned to Vermillion for the remainder of his service in the European theater of WWII. In 1945, the couple moved to Aberdeen where they spent the rest of their lives together. Doris's role was that of traditional supportive wife and mother, devoted to her husband, his interests, and their children while Clark served as head coach for football, basketball, and track and athletic director at Northern State Teachers College. After having five children of their own, Doris and Clark adopted three Native American children through Lutheran Welfare Services. Much of Doris's life was spent at her children's athletic events: football, basketball, and baseball games, plus track and swim meets.
Doris was active in Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Cub Scouts, bridge clubs, social dance clubs, and Alpha Phi activities. She and Clark earned gold medals in ballroom dancing and performed demonstrations throughout the Midwest of the various types of ballroom dances. While raising her family, Doris continued to develop her love of painting with oil and watercolor. She took additional art courses at Northern State College, taught art classes at the YMCA, tutored private students in her home, and enjoyed showing her art work at several local venues.
After Clark's retirement, Doris and he traveled to Germany to tour sites where he had been assigned in WWII. A life-long journalist, Doris documented her travels and daily activities in diaries, letters, and extensive scrapbooks. In addition to following in her father's journalistic footsteps, she also inherited his interest in the family's genealogy. Together, they documented family records back to the 1500s in England.
Doris was preceded in death by her parents; her only sibling, a sister Frances; her husband, Clark, who died in 2005; three sons, Kim, Scott, and Joel; and daughter-in-law Diane Swisher. She is survived by sons Clark Jr. (and wife Martha), of Columbia, MO; Steve, of Huron; and Dan (Joan), of Mandan, ND; and daughters Wendy Fuentes, of Brown's Valley, MN; and Elizabeth Brunson (Scott), of Tempe, AZ. Four of her sons became educators with successful coaching careers.
Doris has three former daughters-in-law: Karen Gayton Comeau of Fort Yates, ND; Barbara Amundson of Rochester, MN; and Susan Swisher of Phoenix, AZ. Doris has 13 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.
Memorials are suggested to the Swisher Scholarship Fund at Northern University in Aberdeen. Condolences for the family may be left at Schriver's Memorial Mortuary, 414 5th Ave NW, Aberdeen, SD, 57401, or at www.schriversmemorial.com