Doris Mae (Armbruster) Ritson 

Doris Mae Ritson, 85, of Marinette passed away on Sunday, February 4, 2024 at the Luther Home. She was born August 16, 1938 as the second daughter of the late George and Anna (Reiger) Armbruster in Fairbury, IL. Doris graduated from Peoria High School in 1956. On 

January 24, 1959, Doris married her high school sweetheart, William–who she lovingly called Billy–Ritson in Peoria, IL. 

For Doris’s entire life she remained close with her high school friends, who she referred to as her “spread” known then as the LVIs (their graduation year). Decades later, Doris enjoyed traveling with these friends, their husbands, and her own Billy on vacations where in photos shared, Doris would don her infamous sunhat and sunglasses. 

Doris’s laidback air and quiet confidence ensured that she was willing to move with Billy when his job in the Air Force demanded. It was in their first married home in Salina, Kansas where Doris would later tell her granddaughters that they would listen to “Chances Are” from Johnny Mathis–her favorite artist–on vinyl. Years later, Doris would sing Mathis’s words from memory. 

In her own words, “my family is my biggest accomplishment,” Doris’s life truly echoed the sentiment. Doris and Billy had three children: Susan, Douglas, and Beth whom they raised in Illinois. Doris excelled as a nurturing mother: running the home and tolerating when her children brought obscure pets home like Clara Bell the cow, numerous dogs, a pet duck, or a guinea pig they bought her as a gift–which she later made them return. Doris loved baking for her children and later, grandchildren, when she and Billy moved to Minnesota to be closer to their daughter Susan and family. In the summertime, the Bruer kids would raid the freezer which Doris kept stocked with frozen treats and cookies. Her special “pancake” and cut-out cookies were staples at every family gathering. 

Doris’s grandchildren have fond memories of “puzzling” with grandma at holidays, playing games like Cards Against Humanity which Doris surprisingly won most of the time, or playing Old Maid–when Doris would cheat at the game by sitting on the old maid card, baking Christmas cookies, cooking in the kitchen, making graduation scrapbooks for her grandchildren, and she always had an ear for what was happening in her grandchildren’s lives. Doris shared her faith with her children and passed it down through the generations, always sharing a beautiful prayer at dinner time when the family gathered around. 

In 2021, Doris and Billy moved from Peoria, Illinois to Marinette, WI to be closer to their daughter Beth and family. With her granddaughters, Doris would have girls’ days where they would have Sunday brunch and nap in grandma’s bed, then would watch Hallmark movies and puzzle. Doris would arm wrestle with her grandsons, where she showed her true strength and beat them everytime. Her wit showed through in her quick one-liner jokes and her spunk brought full belly laughs. 

Doris is survived by her husband of 65 years, William Ritson of Marinette; son, Douglas (Eric) Johansen-Ritson of El Paso, TX; daughters Susan (Mike) Bruer of Alberta, MN and Beth (Joe) Beranek of Peshtigo; grandchildren: Brittany, Ethan (Lindsey), and Kjestina (fianceé Justin

DeShaw) Bruer, Lizzie, Billy, Tegan, and Mia Johansen-Ritson and Evan, Gabrielle, Halle, and Izak Beranek; great-grandchildren Elodie and Madison Bruer; sister, Maryann Mayhew of Morris, MN. 

Visitation will be held February 17 at 9:30 A.M., service at 10:00 A.M., and a luncheon to follow at Faith Lutheran Church located at 4009 Irving St. in Marinette. Thielen Funeral Home is assisting the family. 

Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.