Doris Pauline was welcomed at home, in Holland Township, by parents Robert and Edith (Schuknecht) Wellwood on Wednesday, October 23, 1929. Robert operated a sawmill in Williamsford, and here the family called home. In time the Wellwood family moved to a farm property on the outskirts of Williamsford where the family remained for the duration of her youth. Doris welcomed younger sister Marion in 1933 and brother Grant in 1941. Sadly, Grant lived only a few months and died an infant. Doris attended elementary school locally before traveling to Chatsworth for high school.
Doris enjoyed dancing, and at one such local dance in Williamsford, she caught the eye of a young man by the name of Allan Lloyd Lettau. As they say, the rest was history, and the couple was wed in a small, quiet affair on Thursday, July 31, 1947 at the minister’s home in Markdale. The newlyweds had a short honeymoon as Allan needed to have the car back for his brother Bill’s wedding on August 4th! Allan always joked that they had to get married because mom didn’t want to spend another cold winter by herself. The winter of ’47 is always remembered for having such a tremendous amount of snow.
Once married, the young couple called Allan’s home farm, on the outskirts of Chesley home. Doris soon took a job at the Silknet factory in Chesley. In 1955, Doris and Allan welcomed their son Graham Allan and two years later, in 1957, their family was made complete with the arrival of their daughter, Marlene Anne. In the years following, Doris remained busy caring for her young family. During this time, Doris began selling cosmetics for Beauty Counselor. She, herself, always liked looking good, so it only made sense that she helped other women with a variety of beauty products including face creams, powders, hand, skin and face lotions, lipstick, eye shadow, and talcum powder to name a few. If you were to ask Doris, her favourite product was her red lipstick! 🙂 She attended bi-weekly meetings in Walkerton where she would pick up her order and then deliver it to her customers. When the kids got older, she took a job at Newby’s Shoe Store in Chesley before later going on to work for Barb Roseborough at her dress shop.
In 1962, the Lettau’s lost their barn in a fire. During the rebuild, Doris was tasked with feeding the twenty-plus men a hot meal twice a day, and she never disappointed. It was no secret she was a fabulous cook. In 1977, Allan and Doris sold the farm and moved to a 50-acre parcel of land that they owned on the 2nd of Elderslie. It was during this time that she took a job at the convenience store, Becker’s, in Chesley. In her free time, Doris enjoyed helping out within her community. She was a Big Sister in Chesley for a number of years in addition to being a member of the Hospital Auxiliary and St. John’s United Church. Doris also volunteered her time with Meals-on-Wheels. In her downtime, Doris enjoyed crocheting, weaving (her macrame lawn chairs), and a good game of cards. Doris and Allan often played Euchre with other couples and in later years played more Bridge. She also had a large collection of jigsaw puzzles which all had been completed at least once, if not more. She was talented when it came to puzzles and also had a knack for Word Finds. She also liked collecting carnival glass, amassing a bit of a collection through the years. Traveling was another favourite pastime. They often traveled with her sister and husband, Marion and Peter, or with friends and enjoyed trips abroad to Hawaii, Venezuela, and Barbados. They explored our beautiful country visiting friends in B.C. and taking in Edmonton’s Klondike Days. They also travelled out East to Nova Scotia to visit their niece, Shirley and Ross Hyatt. Even though Doris like her time away, like most of us, she was also always glad to get back home. If not keeping herself busy, Doris was always up for spending time with her grandchildren. She loved and treasured her time with all four of them. Like most grandmothers, Doris was just a phone call away and would drop everything to help with the children.
In 1995, the Lettau’s relocated to town as Allan’s health began to fail him. It was during this time that Doris worked for Paramed for a short period of time, helping in the area of home care, assisting clients with some of their house cleaning tasks. In addition to this work, Doris was a full-time caregiver for Allan at home. He preferred to call her “The Boss,” but without her, the last 20 years of his life would have been very different. In 2014, caring for Allan became too much, and he soon called Parkview Manor home. Sadly, her beloved Allan died in 2017.
Doris was a loving, dedicated woman who was always punctual. She was also known to be a little strong-willed, but then again who isn’t? In recent years, sadly her memory started to fail her, yet she remained fiercely independent. In recent years, Doris’ family recalled these two examples. The first involved her car after her license was taken away. It still remained in the garage, yet she was not to drive it. Graham went to the house to see Doris and noticed that snow had fallen off the car. When asked if she drove her quick response was “No” however in time she admitted to going downtown to get some groceries. Her rebuttal, “What are they going to do? They can’t take my license away because I don’t have it anymore.” The kids were quick to inform her that although correct, she could definitely get fined and that quickly put an end to driving. The other story involved shoveling snow, whereby her very good neighbour – Paula came over regularly to clean up what the snowblower could not get in front of the garage door. Apparently most mornings it was almost comical, as Doris would rush out to remove the snow. Her mindset was of course, “No reason I can’t do it myself,” even though she already had a heart attack! Again, she was not to shovel snow, yet her response was always, “I am not shoveling, I’m just pushing the snow!”
Doris enjoyed reading particularly novels, with the Chicken Soup series, Harlequin romance, and Western’s being favourites. When it came to food she loved her potatoes. She was not picky, any kind would do! She also loved her dessert. Marlene told a story whereby she (Marlene) was hosting Christmas and needed to borrow some of Doris’ freezer space to house four pies leading up to the big day. When she returned there were only two pies left. Sadly, at this point, her memory was failing her, and since they were in her freezer, she figured they were hers to eat. When it came to enjoying a drink, Brandy and Rye were her go-to, however, I am told that it was always best to have a designated driver as Doris’ pours were always very gracious. After Allan’s passing, television became a great distraction for Doris. She often enjoyed episodes of Judge Judy, Dr. Phil, and the Price is Right.
In January of 2019, Doris had a few falls and her health deteriorated further. By July, she called Elgin Abbey home, where she could receive the attention and care she needed. Although difficult, especially due to the pandemic, she lived out her remaining days supported by her family and new family at Elgin Abbey. Doris passed away on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 in her 92nd year.
Loving mother of Graham of R.R. #3 Chesley and Marlene and her husband Doug Berry of Walkerton. She will be sadly missed by her grandchildren Michael (Brittany) Lettau, Mark Lettau, Matt (April) Berry, April Berry (AJ Vella), Jason (Suzanne) Berry, and great-grandchildren Cali, Levi, Ila, Theo, and Adrianne. Doris will be fondly remembered by her sister Marion Hickman, as well as many nieces and nephews. She will also be remembered by Penny Lettau and her sister-in-law Jean McLean. Doris was predeceased by her husband Allan (2017), brother-in-infancy Grant Wellwood, and her parents Robert and Edith (Schuknecht) Wellwood.
A public graveside service honouring Doris’ life will be held at the Chesley Cemetery on Saturday, August 14, 2021 at 11 a.m. All are welcome!
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Elgin Abbey Residents’ Fund, Chesley Hospital Foundation, or S.B.G.H.C. – Chesley Auxiliary would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.