Announcements, Features, Obituaries

Michael J. Doerr. September 17, 1935 – February 16, 2021

 Michael J. Doerr, and though he left this world on Tuesday, Feb. 16, he left plenty of tall tales, laughter and vivid memories in his wake. It’s safe to say the Fat Tuesday celebration in the sky was a lively and well-attended reunion of relatives — Mike being the center of attention, of course.

Mike was born to Frank and Kathryn (Stadtfeld) Doerr at Mecosta, MI on September 17, 1935. He attended St. Michael’s Parochial and Remus consol. Dated schools, graduating in 1953. He was an Air Force veteran as a C-130 mechanic. He loved his country. Mike was proud of many things in his life, but working for Oldsmobile for 37 years, 29 as a millwright, was right near the top of the list. He was a Michigan man. Michigan men made cars for the nation. The large ruby Auto Workers of America ring was always on his finger. That, along with a wall clock from General Motors, were his prized possessions. Plant 3 and 5 in Lansing was his home away from home.

Mike loved to hunt spending many of his hunting trips in Wyoming as well as up in the Blanchard/Remus area with family and friends.

He loved his sports – playing and coaching softball and bowling but generally, he was likely watching his beloved Michigan State Spartans on the hardwood or gridiron. Tigers baseball wasn’t just background noise in the summer for Mike. Somehow, someway, he was invested to the end.

Then there was “Barbie,” Mike’s beloved wife of 60 years. They celebrated that milestone on New Year’s Eve, 2020. What began as a young military man and his beautiful bride, produced all of that love. Mike would often wander into Horrocks Farmers Market in Lansing, holding Barbara’s hand. Barbie wanted to smell the spring flowers.

Their unfiltered devotion to each other set the tone and example for generations.

What would this world remember most about Mike? Well, that answer is about as simple as the man himself. Family. That came first. His many friendships, some lasting decades. Mike loved his riddles and one-liners. He was always “Gooder than hell” when you asked. He had nicknames for everyone, especially those grandkids. They were often on the wrong end of his intense six-handed — not four — Euchre games, too. You likely weren’t beating him in cribbage either.

Along with that grin always came the twinkle in his eye. He wasn’t simply telling you a story, he wanted you to live it with him.

He loved his crossword puzzles in the morning paper and he was never too far away from his trusty drinking cup. If he wasn’t swigging on it, one of the kids surely was.

When you ask Mike’s family, they all refer to him as the “glue.”

The glue that held his very large family together.

The glue that made family reunions a priority – his much-anticipated Doerr Reunion, which would reach into the hundreds of people.

Keeping his legacy alive is now his ultimate goal.

Mike wouldn’t have wanted a normal obituary. His life — and larger-than-life personality was much more impactful than lines of names and a funeral date. We will always remember that smile, the stories and the unwavering love he gave. Whether you were a neighbor, a stranger, or Tom Izzo calling to wish you a happy birthday, everyone was family to Mike.

Michael J. Doerr is survived by his loving wife Barbara Ann (Newhall). He is also survived by his children: Vincent (Vicki) Doerr of Casper, WY, Michele (Warren) Tack of St. Johns, MI., Susan (Tim) Brawner of St. Johns, MI, Laura (Alan) Post of Bannister, MI, Frank Doerr of St. Johns, MI, and Dianne Doerr of Ovid, MI. Thirteen grandchildren: Michael, Carmen, Anthony, Jessica, Emily, Jamie, Joel, Jayson, Jeffrey, Stephanie, Michaela, Jordan and Jaxson, and 11 great-grandchildren and one due in July.

Visitation will be held at McGeehan Funeral Home (Keck-Coleman Chapel), 1500 Waterford Parkway, St. Johns, on Thursday, February 25, from 3-8PM with a Knights of Columbus Rosary at 7PM. *(For those friends attending the visitation, please call the funeral home at 989-224-4422 to schedule an hour between 3 & 8 to attend)

Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 109 Linden St., St. Johns, on Friday, February 26, at 11AM with the Rev. Fr. Michael Williams officiating. (Mass may be viewed via Livestream on the church YouTube page. Full Military Honors will be held after Mass.

In Lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to Alara Caring Hospice. For further information please phone 989-224-4422 or visit