As a child during the Depression, Doris Schultes literally scooped dirt out of her family home. "The dirt was awful," she recalls. "We were dismissed from school early because we would lose our way home. It was so thick you couldn't see."
The oldest of eight children born to David and Emma Mae Stitt, Doris loved to help her mother with household chores. "We were real good buddies," she smiles. Her father, a World War I veteran, worked for the Union Pacific Railroad.
Doris also loved church, school and music. The children were taught to live by the 10 Commandments and each was assigned responsibilities at home.
One of her cherished memories was her old-fashioned organ, purchased for $5.00. A friend of her parents gave her free lessons and her lifelong love of music was born.
At Kansas State University Doris majored in education with a minor in music and counseling. She taught at a rural school, then in Manhattan. A natural-born teacher, Doris put her heart and soul into her students. "I made up games for the students to earn points," she recalls. "Most of my salary went for gifts and a place to stay."
Simultaneously, she attended night school and summer school, completing hours toward her doctorate. "I loved learning and wanted my children to love learning, too." Doris and five first grade teachers banded together to work with the military children as well, helping prepare them for strong futures.
In 1947 she married Merlin Schultes, a farmer she met at church. They had land but had to sell it when Tuttle Creek Dam was built. They raised two daughters, Cheryl and Marlene, and Doris continued teaching. When she retired, she had devoted 42 years to her students.
Doris had a profound impact on the lives of many young people, many of whom still come to visit her. Now at home in an apartment at Via Christi Village in Manhattan, Doris keeps busy quilting, working on scrapbooks, taking bus trips and working on her family history. "If there was a welcoming committee here, Doris would be the president of it," one staff member smiles.