Historian, community activist, artist, musician and beloved mother of four, Doris Batten Senter died peacefully at her home in Grafton, N.H., Sunday, June 24, at age 91.
Born April 11, 1921, Doris was raised, along with younger brother Billy, by parents William and Lena Batten in Belmont, Ma.
Doris was a child of immigrants who moved to the United States from Newfoundland after the cod fishing industry collapsed. Having parents who were both skilled and industrious, Doris grew up in a household where if it could be made by hand, it was. Doris's mother was also a longtime selflessly dedicated volunteer for the Salvation Army. Doris's parents were a major influence in her life.
Growing up, Doris, a popular straight-A student, thrived in school. At home, Doris helped her mother with daily chores, learned how to knit, sew, and, play the piano. Upon graduation, Doris went on to secretarial school, which is what women were encouraged to do in those days. Doris quickly secured a job as a secretary at Harvard University. During this time, Doris also volunteered for the USO club in Cambridge where she played the piano to entertain the soldiers during WWII. In 1947, this volunteer work led Doris to meet her lifelong love, and husband of 63-years, Robert (Bob) C. Senter Sr.
Doris and Bob raised their first two children on a farm in Billerica, Ma. where the young family lived mostly off of the land. Bob would hunt for wild game before heading to work every morning and Doris, now a homemaker, would spend her days raising her two young girls, Linda and Debra, and tend to the farm animals. Doris pulled upon her parents skillfulness, sewing all of her children's clothing, pasteurizing milk from her cow, making her own soap, and spinning wool for sweaters. She could make a great three egg cake with one goose egg! Doris would always look back fondly upon those years.
In 1957, with child number three, Cheryl, on the way, Bob and Doris moved to a larger home in Lexington, Ma. so that Doris could be closer to her parents. Two years later Doris's fourth child Robert Jr. was born. The move to an affluent town did not change Doris's life philosophy, to make as much as she could by hand, always using store bought goods as a last resort.
When her children were old enough, Doris took a job at Mystic Valley Mental Health Clinic, only a few blocks away from her home, where she worked, never a sick day, for 17-years. Even with a full-time job, a home, and four-children to tend to, Doris found time to learn and master several arts including stained glass, leather tooling, and silversmithing.
Upon retirement Doris and Bob moved to their summer home in Grafton, N.H. where Doris quickly filled her open days with community involvement.
Doris capitalized on every skill she possessed to do good for others.
Trustee and Deacon, Doris immersed herself for many years in the Grafton Congregational Church where as a member of the Pastoral Search Committee, Doris was instrumental in the hiring of present minister, Tom Warner.
Doris organized fundraisers for the church's Missions Outreach Program, collected baskets of food for the needy via the Neighbor to Neighbor program, made ABC Quilts for hospitalized babies with aids, volunteered for the Daily Vacation Bible School, played the organ every Sunday and helped supply freshly baked goods for the coffee hour.
Doris's true passion in her retirement years, was her involvement with the Grafton Historical Society where she was a charter member and president for many years. Doris spent endless hours, days, weeks, years, working with a handful of members to preserve Grafton's oral and physical history. Doris's ability to see the big picture propelled her to secure and preserve decaying historical buildings such as the Tramp House, the Carding Mill and the Pine Street School, a one-room school house her husband attended as a child. Doris was pivotal in the construction of the present Historical Society Building which stands proudly next to the town offices and volunteer fire department.
Dearly loved and missed, Doris is survived by daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Bob Bryant of West Bridgewater, Mass.; daughter and son-in-law, Debra and Eric Heath of Easton, Md.; daughter and son-in-law, Cheryl and Charles Stanion of Derry, N.H., and son Robert , "Bobby" Jr., and fiance Stephanie Voight of Grafton. Doris is also survived by three grandchildren, Eve Bryant of West Bridgewater, MA, Larry Bryant, husband of Joy Saia Bryant, of Stoneham, MA, and Olivia Hathaway, wife of Jason Keller Hathaway of Seattle, WA.; and four great-grandchildren, Emerson Bryant, Madsen Anderson, James Bryant and Gabriella Bryant. Doris was preceded in death by her husband Robert, and brother, William Batten of Concord, Mass.
ARRANGEMENTS: A graveside service will be held on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 10:30 A.M. in Pine Grove Cemetery, Grafton, NH. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the charity of your choice and or please take the time to volunteer some of your precious time for those in need. To view a memorial video of Doris please visit LINKS on our home page or go to http://www.cherylsenter.com/momobit.mov