Doris Lorraine Kreis, 93, formerly of Union and Elizabeth, NJ, passed away peacefully on June 19, 2020, at Country Meadows Nursing Home in Bethlehem, PA. She was born on January 23, 1927, in Elizabeth, the second child and eldest daughter of John G. Vence and Grace (Mauko) Vence. Although she grew up during The Great Depression and WWII, her childhood was filled with the affection of a large beloved family including grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, and many cousins who relished spending time together. Activities such as Sunday School picnics; swimming at Lake Hopatcong; and Memorial Day picnics at South Orange Mountain became early family traditions.
In Elizabeth, Doris graduated from Battin High School in 1946. During her teen years she met the two men she would eventually marry: Thomas A. Murray, who she married in 1949, the father of her two daughters, Michele and Lois; and Harold A. Kreis to whom she became reacquainted as a widow, married in 2003, and lived in Bangor, PA.
During the 1950s, Doris was employed by Singer Manufacturing Company as a stenographer and worked in New York City. As a Manhattan career girl, Doris was acknowledged for her beauty, sophisticated fashion style, and strong work ethic. She left her job when the first of her two children was born. Once her daughters were older, she was employed by the Union Township Police Department in New Jersey as a secretary in the Detective Bureau for 30 years.
As newlyweds, Doris and her husband Tommy made a handsome pair. Some of their happiest times were spent with their two daughters during summer vacations at the Dorsey Hotel in Wildwood, NJ. They enjoyed family time on the beach and evening strolls on the boardwalk. Holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Easter were cause for festive decoration and celebration at their homes on Jackson Avenue in Elizabeth, and later, Forest Drive in Union. These times were especially joyous once their grandchildren, were born.
As a young mother, Doris particularly enjoyed sewing dresses for her daughters and herself on her Singer Sewing Machine. Baking and cooking holiday meals; crocheting and knitting; and making ceramics were also favorite activities. Each school day, she faithfully made the best brown bag lunches for her family. Doris created a warm and welcoming home.
In the mid-1960s, Doris, her sister Phyllis, two cousins Dolores and Lillian---all young mothers, created a group called “The Culture Club.” They were ladies who lunched, and planned the most memorable family Halloween and Christmas parties, several of which attendees dressed in Victorian apparel as a nod to Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. In later years, ladies’ trips to Colonial Williamsburg, VA were cherished traditions passed down to daughters, to explore the historic town and local plantations, and for shopping excursions to the Pottery and outlets.
Group family camping trips, which included Vence and Somolewicz clans were another source of fun and togetherness. The cousins formed a family camping club called “Our Gang” which met regularly for meetings, food, and laughter. Memorable trips were made to ocean-side Assateague Park Camping Grounds in Maryland; and a trek to Saint Lawrence Seaway in Canada. The club set roots in Tip Tam Camping Grounds in Jackson, NJ.
In her golden years, Doris married Harold Kreis, who was a friend from her teens in Elizabeth. Theirs was a poignant relationship as they had met while both working for Green’s Department Store on Broad Street, Elizabeth, in the 1940s, and hadn’t seen each other in fifty years. They enjoyed car trips to Key West, FL and Savannah, GA and to Harry’s summer home in the Poconos, PA. Their years together were happy.
Of most importance to Doris was her Christian faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. She was a devoted member of Emmanuel Pentecostal Church in Elizabeth, NJ for 40 years; and it was her joy to teach Sunday School and Vacation Bible School lessons to young boys and girls, sowing the seeds of the love of Jesus in young hearts. Doris ensured that both her daughters had a firm foundation in Christian faith, with a secure understanding that Jesus was their Savior and friend.
An avid reader, Doris read her Bible daily. Her favorite secular authors were: Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, Pearl Buck, and Inglis Fletcher. She encouraged her daughters to read and introduced them to classics such as The Good Earth Trilogy; The Living Reed; and Peony. Her favorite book beside the Bible, was The Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens. The Murray home was always filled with books garnered from the library; book club subscriptions; and the quaint bookstore by the Elizabeth Arch.
Doris’s survivors include her beloved husband Harold Kreis of Bangor, PA; daughter Michele Murray of Alexandria, VA; daughter Lois (Kevin) Garrigan, and grandson Kevin of Mendham Township, NJ; granddaughter Jessica Garrigan of Morristown, NJ; Kimberly (Charles) Fehn, and great-grandson Talon of Kenvil, NJ; sister Phyllis Clinebell; and brother Stephen Vence. She was preceded in death by her husband Thomas Murray, parents John and Grace Vence; brother John Vence; brother Richard Vence; brother Henry Vence; sister Grace Schultheis; and sister Marlene Vence-Crampton.
Memorial donations in Doris’s name may be sent to The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at https://www.cff.org/give-today/
The family would especially like to thank the caregivers and hospice staff at Country Meadows for their loving care of Doris during this past year.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions a private graveside funeral service, by invitation only, will be held to honor Doris’s life.
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