June 23, 2024

James Dennis Doris was born to James Rowland and Marie Opal (Torson) Doris on March 8, 1936, in Dighton. He passed away on February 5, 2015, at his home in Dodge City, surrounded by family. 

The family moved to Garden City when Dennis was 3 years old, where he attended school through Junior College. He completed his higher education at Kansas State Teacher’s College, Emporia, graduating with a Masters Degree in Education and a Specialist Degree in Reading. Dennis met Mary Lou Frank, a fellow student at Garden City Community College, and they were married on August 24, 1957. In the fall of that year, they started their teaching careers. Dennis taught for 20 years in Lane County followed by another 20 years in Dodge City, teaching over 1000 primary schoolers! 

During his years of teaching, he served as a Teacher Advocate and Child Advocate. He was instrumental in getting a law passed that requires teachers to report suspected child abuse. He promoted teacher inservice education and professional negotiations for teachers. Dennis was elected President of the Kansas National Education Association in 1976 and 1977. He spent countless hours volunteering at the Kansas Teachers’ Hall of Fame and served as their President for many years. He was instrumental in updating technology at the Hall of Fame. Dennis’s most recent passion was to carry out Mr. Stanton’s vision of the Pleasant Hill School District, a restored school house that will be surrounded by gardens. 

In addition to teaching, Dennis also spent 17 years as General Manager of the Econo Lodge and Inn Pancake House in Dodge City. He was always busy! 

Dennis and Mary Lou spent many wonderful years traveling all over the world. They were on all 7 continents and visited 73 countries! 

Dennis is survived by his wife Mary Lou of the home and many nieces and nephews. We are all so grateful to have had the privilege of knowing and loving such a wonderful Uncle. He is preceded in death by his parents, sisters Elsie (Sam) Lawrence, Lila (St. Claire) Rowe, and Margie (Vic) Willson, brother Leo (Nellie) Doris, nephew Ronald Rowe and nieces Lois Rowe Howard and Sharon Willson Meyers. 

Funeral service will be held at Swaim Funeral Home, Dodge City on Monday, February 9, 2015 at 10:30 AM. Burial will be at 3:00 PM on Monday, February 9, 2015 at Lane County Cemetery, Dighton. Visitation will be at Swaim Funeral Home on Sunday, February 8, 2015 from noon to 6:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made the to Kansas Teachers’ Hall of Fame designated to be used for plants and grasses for the garden at the Pleasant Hill School Project, in care of the funeral home. Thoughts and memories may be shared in the online guest book at www.swaimfuneralhome.com.