Michael John Doerr, 62, of Shakopee, passed away Saturday, May 3, 2014 at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis after fighting a courageous battle with lung cancer. He was surrounded by family and friends all day Friday into late night and Saturday morning.
Mike was born on July 6, 1951 at St. Francis Hospital in Shakopee to Francis (Fritz) and Ruth Doerr. He was their fourth child, their much beloved baby of the family. He grew up in Marystown and loved walking or riding his bike to the O’Dowd’s and Thole lakes to fish or hike the wooded trails with siblings Linda, Dave and Pat or his cousin Jimmy Pauly. During the summer Mike and Dave could be seen almost daily on the banks of a lake with their cane poles. The story we’ve heard is that Mike usually caught the biggest fish, but Dave the most.
The Doerr family home in Marystown was crowded but filled with love. Long summer days were spent playing badminton or croquet, caring for rabbits and dogs and, of course, at the lake. After Dad got home from work, he often took the kids to swim at a local beach or to the small cabin on Prior Lake that our family rented along with Dad’s brother Rudy (and Sylvia) Doerr and family. Mike enjoyed weekends there, as it was a great place to learn to swim, drive a boat and water ski with friends and relatives. Oh, and fish, of course. Mike and Dave also hunted deer, ducks and squirrels with their father and other relatives, but fishing is the sport that Mike enjoyed most throughout his life. As the Doerr children grew to adulthood, our parents purchased lake property with small cabins on it on Rice Lake near Paynesville, Minn. There we all gathered with our own families for countless good times swimming, fishing and sitting around the campfire until the wee hours of the morning.
Mike attended the parochial school in Marystown through eighth grade and went to Guardian Angels High School in Chaska for one year before transferring to Shakopee High School, where he graduated in 1969. He attended Mankato State College his first year out of high school.
In 1970 Mike married Kathy Anderson, and they had two children, John and Jennifer. During that time Mike enlisted in the Army Reserve and began basic training at Fort Ord in California in September 1971. Mike received awards for marksmanship and took first place (fastest) in the obstacle course exercises. He was honorably discharged after serving six years in the United States Army Reserve.
Mike was very intelligent and had a high math acumen. He considered attending Control Data Institute and pursuing a career in computer programming, but decided on the electrical engineering and construction program at Dunwoody Institute. Mike eventually became a Master Electrician and started his own business in 1982, Doerr’s Metro Electric, which he ran until February of this year when he was diagnosed with cancer.
In 1981 Mike married Karen Wood, and two years later they welcomed daughter Nicole. They enjoyed traveling, especially to the Cayman Islands where they did scuba diving, snorkeling and wind surfing.
A family man, Mike loved to spend time with his children, camping and going on trips with John (and Chris), bringing his mom to Jenny (and Jason’s) for special occasions and visiting Nicole (and Rodrigo) in New Mexico and Harris, Minn. A positive man with a ready smile, his smile was never brighter than when he was with or talked about his four granddaughters, Ally, Katy, Lizzy and Victoria. He was very proud of all of them and attended special events in their lives such as volleyball and basketball games, cheer-leading and dance recitals and tennis matches, and their spiritual milestones such as Baptism and Confirmation. He recently talked about how much fun it was to teach Victoria to play cribbage as her mother and his other children were busy organizing his home.
In 2003 Mike married Heidi Feltman. Although the marriage didn’t last, the two remained very good friends. He also maintained a friendly relationship with Karen, and his first wife Kathy and her husband Bob Biggs have been good friends of Mike’s to the end. Kathy and Mike shared a spiritual bond, as Mike also had with his best friend Skip, and other members of his Men’s Bible Study Group. Mike was an inspiration to many with his deep and steadfast faith.
On one of his many trips to Florida to spend time with his sister Linda, brother-in-law Ron, his mother Ruth and his nephew Bryan and family, Mike found a church that he loved, and he has been listening to sermons and music from there online for over a year. Just recently Mike discovered Hosanna! Church in Shakopee, a church that reminded him of the Countryside Christian Church in Florida, which is Bryan’s family’s church as well.
When Mike wasn’t listening to Christian music, he was fishing in the Gulf in Bryan’s boat as often as he could. As was the case when he was a boy, Mike again usually caught the biggest fish of the group. He hauled in grouper, trout, snapper, permit, redfish and two big sharks (maybe not huge but when the mouth was facing the camera, they looked large to the photographer).
During his last months on earth, Mike’s bond with family and friends deepened. The words “I love you” came easily to him, and he cherished family time. His best childhood buddy Jimmy Pauly often visited and took him for walks or rides out to see the lakes of his youth. He was so grateful to his sister Pat for serving as caretaker and friend and his brother Dave for his support and explanations of medical terms and procedures. He also appreciated his mother’s constant love and support and sister Linda’s help with his Caring Bridge site. Often Mike would say how he felt so blessed by family, friends and his medical team. He fought bravely through radiation and chemotherapy treatments, but when he learned they hadn’t worked Mike decided quickly that he “wanted to go home to be with The Lord.” He said he was ready to “be with Jesus and see Dad again.” No doubt Mike and Grandpa Fritz are sharing fish stories and rejoicing in their glorious reunion right now. Mike said he and Dad would be happy with Jesus and wait for the rest of us to join them.
Survivors include son John (Chris) Doerr, daughter Jennifer (Jason) Miller, daughter Nicole (Rodrigo) Doerr; grandchildren Alexandra, Kathryn, Elizabeth and Victoria; mother Ruth; sister Linda(Ron) Noyce of Cambridge; brother Dave (Beth) Doerr of Afton; sister Pat (Ron) Menke of Shakopee; many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father Francis “Fritz” Doerr, his grandparents Christian and Margaret Doerr and Emil and Gertrude Gross, and several aunts, uncles and cousins.
Visitation for Michael John Doerr is planned for Saturday, May 10, 9-11 a.m. with the funeral service at 11 a.m. at Hosanna! Church, 1690 Vierling Drive East, Shakopee, Minn. Interment will be in the St. Mary’s of the Purification Cemetery in Marystown followed by lunch in the parish hall.
Arrangements are with McNearney Funeral Home, 1220 Third Avenue East, Shakopee, MN, 55379. Online condolences may be posted on the website www.mcnearneyfuneralhome.com.