Doris Patricia McLerran
Doris Patricia McLerran Campbell born on St. Patrick’s Day in 1915, expert fly fisher, lover of the outdoors, fabulous pie maker, teacher, artist, author and all around character passed away the day after Valentine’s Day. Doris was raised with her two brothers in a large two-storied, multigenerational home in Chico. Her family spent many happy summers in the mountains to escape the dreadful heat. There, Doris learned fly fishing from her father and to love the mountains, passions which lasted a lifetime. Doris graduated from Chico State College where she was a fencing competitor and sorority member and had the dubious honor of dancing with a malodorous Errol Flynn who was filming Robin Hood in Bidwell Park.
Graduating during the depression, she searched for teaching positions in ever-widening circles around Chico until she finally found a job at a one-room school in Hat Creek. There she met her future husband, Alex Campbell, a handsome forest ranger, when he discovered her fly fishing out of season. They married in 1937 and honeymooned in Mexico, the first of their many traveling adventures together. The newlyweds first lived in Nevada City and later moved to Adin. Doris was happy to leave the cold, snowy winters of northern California behind when they moved to King City in 1951, when Alex was promoted to head ranger for northern Los Padres National Forest. While in King City, Doris began teaching again, starting with high school civics, then 5th grade, which she dearly loved.
In 1962, they took a dream vacation, a three month trip around the world that included Hawaii, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, India, Italy, France, and Great Britain. Doris and Alex retired in 1970, bought a camper, and spent many happy times with their family in the Sierras and the mountains of Colorado. They traveled to Alaska, Canada, Mexico and Florida and took cruises to South America, Morocco and the Canary Islands. Alex helped to build their retirement “cabin” on the rugged Big Sur coast, above Pacific Valley, where they lived from 1970 to 1977. They moved to Oakmont in Santa Rosa to be near their sons, Craig and Tom, and their families. After Alex died in 1991, Doris moved to her “little house on the hill” with her faithful cat Pekoe, then later, her faithful poodle Pekoe. She really enjoyed her neighbors there, playing dominoes and hosting them for brunches. During this time, she wrote a book, Sanddollars, a novel about life on the Big Sur coast. She continued her lifelong passion for art, creating many sculptures and paintings which are treasured by her family. She still visited the Sierras each summer where she continued fly fishing until she was 90. Her faith, always strong, remained important in her life as she participated in a prayer group with her Episcopal church in Kenwood.
In 2004, Doris moved to Santa Barbara to live with her daughter Kathryn and husband Michael. She continued her lifelong love for reading, keeping up with the news, and having political discussions until her eyesight failed and her memory faded. Her new favorite activity and love was Friendship Center, where she spent many happy days with new friends and sharing activities especially suited to her needs and interests. Doris is survived by her sons, Craig and Tom, and their wives, Anne and Sue, her daughter, Kathryn, and husband, Michael, 6 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren. Her children will be ever grateful for the loving care Doris received at Your Home and Toltec Living Center during the last year of her life. A celebration of her life will be held on March 21st at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Kenwood, CA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Friendship Center, 89 Eucalyptus Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93108 or a charity of your choice.