Doreen Olive Kuker
June 29, 2023
IRONWOOD, Mich. - Doreen Olive Kuker passed away June 22, 2023, one day after her 93 birthday, at Westgate in Ironwood.
Doreen was 100% English. She never drank a cup of tea in her life. Doreen's mom, Olive, taught her how to knit at a young age. Olive also taught her the art of making the perfect homemade Cornish pasty.
Doreen, in turn, taught her daughters Kristine and Cindy how to make delicious pasties.
She graduated from L.L. Wright High School in 1948. On Dec. 19, 1950, Doreen married Joseph Peter Kuker, the love of her life. They were married at Holy Trinity Church in Ironwood, officiated by the late Reverend Ambrose Matejik.
Joe and Doreen were married for 60 years and had four healthy children. She was a daughter, sister, wife, mom, granny, and great-grandma and a good-hearted woman.
The Kuker family was full of love and laughter. Joe and Doreen gave their four children a beautiful home and upbringing. The children were very fortunate and genuinely blessed to have such beautiful, generous, and loving parents. Doreen was a true homemaker. She loved to cook and bake. She ruled the Kuker kitchen.
Doreen developed into an accomplished seamstress. There was nothing she could not create or sew. She made many outfits for her kids and won many honors and awards. She even taught her daughters the art of sewing.
Doreen's knitting accomplishments are outstanding! She knitted sweaters for everyone in the family, including all grandkids. She constantly won blue ribbons at the Gogebic County Fair for her art. She was awarded by the State of Michigan State Fair in Detroit the highest prize in her category of a knitted afghan. Her son, Jim, and Doreen designed an NFL afghan featuring the AFC and NFC in all appropriate teams and colors. It is an outstanding piece of work.
Doreen took up cross-country skiing, enjoying Wolverine, Montreal, Mt. Zion and Powderhorn trails. She loved being outdoors.
Doreen did not shy away from work. She worked at Jack's Food Shop in Ironwood, and for Doctor Martinetti and attorney Dave Morzenti, in Hurley, Wisconsin. At the age of 70, Doreen went to work as legal assistant to the Iron County DA until age 80.
Joe and Doreen traveled to beautiful Isle Royale to visit their daughter, Kristine. Isle workers and staff fondly called them Big Biz and Mama Maki. They enjoyed hiking, boating, fishing and partying with island people. Jim and Doreen traveled from Houghton to Isle Royale via the MV Ranger III. Upon arriving at Mott Island, Kristine made plans with the pilot to fly mom and Jim across the entire length of the Isle on a grocery run. The pilot reported mom pretty much screamed the whole flight.
Joe and Doreen enjoyed golfing. They were Eagle Bluff Golf Club members, participating in the couples' league. They had great times on the 18-hole course.
They both had a love of casinos. Joe and Doreen frequented area casinos and went to Vegas, Island Resort, Sault Ste. Marie, Black Bear, Hinckley and Mississippi.
Doreen and Kristine took a bus trip from Rhinelander to Nashville with the Hodag owners. They explored the Nashville day and night scene indulging in delicious food. They listened to fantastic country music, and they attended a Grand Ole Opry show. They toured the Nashville area driving by county star Waylon Jennings' southern comfort home.
Doreen's two favorite music artists were Elvis Presley and Waylon Jennings. Doreen attended plentiful Hodag Festivals featuring Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Mickey Gilley, Ray Price, Tim McGraw, George Jones, Charlie Pride, Dwight Yoakum, Garth Brooks and many other country artists. Doreen and Kristine met at a Waylon concert in Crystal Falls. As luck would have it, mom met the big "W." Waylon had his arm around her; both were wearing cowboy hats and huge smiles. Mom was lit up like the Fourth of July!
Joe and Doreen went on a fantastic and memorable bus trip in 1983, leaving Hurley, to Kissimmee, Florida. They stopped at Nashville, Graceland and Church Hill Downs, where they were lucky to see the winningest horse of all time, Secretariat. They were even fortunate to tour The Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. They had a blast!
By the grace of God, she inherited her father Percy's sense of humor and wit. This key factor and mom's beautiful smile helped her lengthy stay at Westgate. She always wanted to be at her beloved Ironwood home.
Doreen was preceded in death by her parents Percy and Olive Treloar; husband, Joe (8-26-2011); and sister, Audrey Petersen.
Doreen is survived by her four loving children, Kristine Kuker, Cindy (Chuck) Vukovich, Joe (Pam) Kuker and Jim Kuker; six grandchildren, Kasey Kuker, of Rochester, Minnesota, Julie Vukovich, of Los Angeles, Katie (Justin) Brownell of Ironwood, Michigan, Nik (Steph) Vukovich of Ironwood; and identical twins, Megan (Brandon) Rew of Oshkosh, Wiscosin, and Ashley (Zach) Wendorf, of Merrill, Wisconsin. Her five great-grandchildren: MaKenna and Kinsley Brownell, Seth, Caleb Vukovich, all of Ironwood, and Acre Wendorf of Merrill.
A big thank-you goes out to the Westgate Rehabilitation and Assisted Living workers and staff for all their personal care, concern, and love. Thank you to Regional Hospice for your care and support of our dear beloved mom.
A visitation will be held at the McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home on July 7, from 10:30 am to 11:30 a.m. A memorial celebration and prayer service will be at 11:30 a.m. The family will hold a private ceremony at Riverside Cemetery in Ironwood, following prayers and service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Doreen's honor to: American Legion Post 5, 320 E McLeod Ave, Ironwood, MI 49938, or the charity of your choosing.