“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
Doris Nill, of Battle Lake, Minnesota died unexpectedly on Tuesday, January 10, at Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls. She was 83.
Doris was born on June 20, 1939, to Swan and Hilma (Swenson) Benson. She grew up in Leaf Mountain Township where she attended District 283 country schoolhouse through the 8th grade, as the only student in her class. She participated in the Niadros 4-H club with projects in sewing, tailoring, and baking, and was proud to have won a trip to the Minnesota State Fair as a champion pie baker. Doris graduated from Battle Lake High School in 1957 and went on to attend North Dakota State University, graduating as a teacher with majors in Home Economics and Science. Her first years of teaching were spent in North Dakota, where she not only taught, but also directed plays, accompanied choirs on the piano, and chaperoned student trips.
While teaching in Ellendale, North Dakota, Doris met the love of her life, Willis Nill. They were married at Eagle Lake Lutheran Church in rural Battle Lake on April 21, 1962. Doris baked and decorated her own wedding cake as a start to her cake-baking career. Doris and Willis moved to Argusville, North Dakota where Doris continued to teach until Jeffrey, the first of three children was born. Jeff was followed by adopted daughter Vonda, and finally, Michael’s birth completed her family. Doris enjoyed being a mom and spent the next number of years taking care of her children, continuing to substitute teach. A cabin on Eagle Lake became her beloved respite spot where the family spent as much time as possible during the warm summer months. As the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, Hutchinson, Kansas, and finally Owatonna, Minnesota, Doris quickly found her place in each community, sharing gifts and talents with those around her. She served as Sunday school superintendent, or teacher as well as president of the women’s groups at each church the family belonged to. She baked cakes for friends and family to help them celebrate many special occasions and these cakes became a treasured treat we all looked forward to. She helped many students develop a love for music after piano lessons with Doris. She took great pride growing flowers and canned many tasty things from her vegetable gardens.
As her children grew and married, grandchildren became Doris’s next love and she showered each with her special kind of care. Having them for overnight visits and attending their many activities was a highlight she looked forward to. In later years, Doris and Willis retired to their lake cabin on Eagle Lake and joined Eagle Lake Lutheran Church where Doris quickly became busy with Sunday school and youth activities, WELCA, church dinners, singing in the choir and taking care of the plants and flowers. She took part in Bible studies and was a mentor for confirmation students, providing a wonderful example of strong faith. Doris shared her love of playing the piano with many and joined the local Homemaker’s Club. Doris continued to teach piano lessons and bake cakes until she decided to “slow down” a bit, but still found many ways to show her love to everyone around her. Doris will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
Doris is survived by her loving husband, Willis; three children, Jeffrey Nill, of Litchfield, Vonda (Rick) Pfannenstiel of Carlos, and Michael (Dana) Nill of Lake Elmo/Kansas City; seven grandchildren, Matthew, Steven, Abbi, Casey, Amber, Chase, and Jacob; and by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives, and friends. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Hilma and Swan Benson; brother and sister-in-law, Joel and Hertha Benson; sister and brother-in-law, Joretta and Glen Svitak.
Memorial Gathering: Thursday, January 19, 2023, from 5-7 P.M., with a 6:30 prayer service at the Eagle Lake Lutheran Church in Battle Lake and resuming one hour prior to the service at the church.
Memorial Service: 11:00 a.m., Friday, January 20, 2023, at Eagle Lake Lutheran Church in Battle Lake, MN.
Interment: Eagle Lake Lutheran Cemetery at a later date
Funeral arrangements are with the Glende-Nilson Funeral Home of Battle Lake for Doris Nill.