Doris Kays Kraushaar passed away peacefully on September 24, 2021, at Heritage Community of Kalamazoo, surrounded by her loving family. Doris was a 53-year resident of Saline, Michigan and member of First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor where she sang in the Chancel Choir for 45 years. She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald Kraushaar, her parents, J. Warren and Blanche (Harrold) Kays and sister, Nancy (James) Ray. Doris is survived by her three children, Carol (Robert) Snyder, Kevin (Karen) Kraushaar, and Ned Kraushaar; three grandchildren, Emily (Jason) Powell, Noel (Heidi) Snyder, and Heidi (Brian) Wolfe; nine great-grandchildren, Madelyn Powell, Audrey Powell, Micah Powell, Hazel Snyder, Jude Snyder, Nona Snyder, Elias Wolfe, Gideon Wolfe, and Abram Wolfe; and seven nieces and nephews.
Doris was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 4, 1925. She graduated from Gladwin High School in 1942. She learned her love of singing at a very young age. She sang her first solo in church at the age of 5 and continued singing in choirs and musicals throughout her school days. During WWII, while working at the Willow Run Bomber Plant, she would occasionally sing over the plant radio.
She graduated from the University of Michigan with a major in vocal performance and a minor in drama in 1949. She met her future husband Don Kraushaar while they were both singing in Handel’s Messiah at Hill Auditorium. They were married on June 17, 1950. After their wedding, they took up residence in New York City where Doris continued her vocal performance training.
After returning to Michigan, she directed church choirs in Napoleon and Saline while Don pastored churches there. She found that she loved working with children and young people and began taking members of her choirs to Methodist Choir Camp.
In 1967, she began teaching at Saline Area Schools and continued there for 19 years as a music teacher and choir director. She received her Master’s in Music Education at Eastern Michigan University in 1973. With her choir groups, she loved performing scenes from musicals such as Sound of Music, Tom Sawyer, Oliver, Annie, and Dr. Dolittle. She also formed an after-school singing group called Varsity Blues.
She was an active member of Mu Phi Epsilon, a professional music fraternity, for 33 years and was a member of The Ann Arbor Society of Musical Arts. She enjoyed performing in several musicals with the Saline Area Players and the Ann Arbor Civic Theater. Along with two friends, she formed JazzElegance, a musical trio specializing in 1940s music. They performed regularly in hospitals and retirement homes for many years.
She combined her love of music with her love of travel by performing with the European Festival Chorus and Symphony Orchestra for 4 summers in several European cities. She enjoyed cultural-exchange trips to Brecon, Wales as part of Saline’s Sister City program and enjoyed hosting visitors from Wales, Germany, and Japan.
Outside of her musical and theatrical interests, she was a prolific quilter, a talented sewer and basket maker, and an avid photographer. She took photographs for the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce and the tourist bureau and she had her photos published in the books Vibrant Ann Arbor, Saline – City and Rural Scapes, and the children’s book Gas Station Charlie in which her daughter-in-law wrote the text.
She was a loving, joyful, and vibrant person and always ready to burst out in song. She was still singing right up to the end of her life, even mouthing the words as she got weaker. She will be greatly missed.
A memorial service will be held at a later date at First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor.
Memorial contributions can be made to First United Methodist Church (120 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104) or to Heritage Community of Kalamazoo Foundation (2400 Portage Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Condolences may be given online at the Joldersma & Klein Funeral Home website at: https://joldersma-klein.com/