Doris Margaret Stegen
February 23, 1923 – July 5, 2019
Obituary of Doris M. Stegen
Doris Margaret Wilkinson Stegen was born February 23, 1923, in Northfield, New Jersey, to Anna Marie Hayden Wilkinson and James Joseph Wilkinson. She died July 5, 2019, at 96 years old, in Solvang, California, surrounded by family and loved ones. She lived a wonderful, full life.
Doris was one of 12 children and was affectionately referred to as Dottie. She grew up in a small two bedroom home where family was always around. As a young person growing up in south Jersey, Doris loved strolling down the boardwalk of Atlantic City. She also loved competition roller skating in May’s Landing, NJ. She and her partner won couples waltz roller skating trophies, the last trophy dated January 31, 1941, prior to the USA entering WWII later in that year.
Near her family home in New Jersey, Doris met and married Lieutenant Robert (Bob) J. Stegen, on September 18, 1943; they divorced years later. Doris and Bob traveled across country to settle in California. Together they had three children. Doris lived in Van Nuys, CA, for 47 years where she raised her family. Doris always cherished a family-centered life and she held dear every moment.
Throughout Doris’ life, she owned and maintained all of her homes impeccably, which meant she was the housekeeper, gardener, pool women, auto mechanic and cook. No matter where she lived, Doris would ensure that her homes were always ready for parties or family gatherings. She would enjoy decorating for each holiday celebration. Doris’ home was a welcoming gathering place for all who walked through her front door. In addition, there was nothing more satisfying to Doris then to have worked a hard day and then sit on her backyard patio in the California weather, having a cocktail and enjoying the beauty of her pool, lemon tree and garden. And if friend or family member was visiting, it became a party.
Doris became the manager of Bergren’s Fine Jewelry Store in the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square. The jewelry industry provided Doris a professional niche for her knowledge and intuitive skills to develop. She took classes in gemology and learned about fine watchmakers. Her sense of beauty and meticulousness shown in the daily task of designing the layouts for the jewelry showcases and the store display windows. Her forte in the selling of jewelry was care and patience, working with her clients to select the perfect jewelry for their purposes. And in reflection, Doris was the real “Gem”!
At age 78, Doris purchased her home in Palmdale to be near her daughter Jeannette (Jan) and family; and for most of Doris’ 16 years in this home,
she lived independently. In November 2017, at age 94, Doris moved to Santa Ynez Valley, living with her daughter Pamela and son-in-law, CD Smith.
Doris had a soft spot for various household animals and her children’s desires to want pets. Coco was the first family pet. Coco was a tough little Chihuahua who loved Doris, but terrorized everyone else. Coco and all future pets could sense her gentle nature. Doris traveled back to the family home in New Jersey with her daughter Jeannette, age 8, only to return to CA with a stray cat named Pixie. Her son Bob owned a golden retriever, Brutus, who ended up having his own room in Doris’ home when Bob wasn’t around. Then came Pardner, who Pam and Doug seemed to slip into Doris’ life. Doris, however, was most smitten and charmed by her large, white, long haired Persian cat name Whitey she adopted in her 80’s. Whitey would follow her throughout the house, throwing himself down at her feet when she sat and curled up at the foot of her bed when she slept.
Doris held herself to a high standard and always insured that she presented herself beautifully. The fiery red-headed Doris was strong willed, determined, and detailed. She was the definition of true grit that seemingly emanated from her Irish temperament. Doris had a feisty and fun nature and a wonderful sense of humor; she loved a good laugh. As feisty as she was, if you asked her for the shirt off her back, she would give it to you and ask if you wanted it washed and ironed!
In her long life she would always think of those she loved before she thought of herself. Doris loved babies and young people. She would offer sage advice to help guide young people to success whether in education or chosen careers. Doris enjoyed working with her hands and was an accomplished seamstress. She also did small glass beading and upholstered as well as gold leafed her own furniture.
Doris leaves her daughter, Pamela Stegen Smith and husband Charles Douglas (Doug) Smith of Santa Ynez CA, and her son Robert (Bob) J. Stegen Jr. of Menifee, CA. Her younger daughter, Jeannette Marie Stegen Peters preceded Doris in death on May 01, 2014 in Palmdale, CA. Doris’ six grandchildren are Erin Smith Duxbury of La Costa CA, Matthew Stegen Smith of West Linn, OR, Ashley Stegen Alexander, of San Juan Capistrano CA, Alexa Stegen LaShure of Redondo Beach CA, Morgan Peters of Michigan City IN and Veronica Peters of Simi Valley, CA. Doris’ six great-grandchildren are Parker Duxbury, Colin Duxbury, Audrey Smith, Dorian Smith, Evelyn Smith and Lennon LaShure.
Doris is also survived by her younger sister Jean Wilkinson Camp of Hammonton, NJ, and younger brother Andrew Wilkinson of Egg Harbor, NJ, plus her many additional beloved east coast family members.
A funeral service will be held on Thursday, July 18, 2019, at the Eternal Valley Memorial Park & Mortuary, 23287 North Sierra Highway, Newhall, CA, 91321. Service times at the Chapel of the Oaks will be at 1:00PM for Viewing, 2:00PM Service, and 3:00PM Gravesite.
The family invites you to please add a memory, tell a favorite story, and share a kind word or condolence of dear Doris at the Eternal Valley Memorial Park & Mortuary website: dignitymemorial.com
- Visitation Thursday, July 18, 2019
- Funeral Service Thursday, July 18, 2019
Doris Margaret Stegen
July 18, 2019
I think of three words when anyone mentions Great-Grandma Doris: fancy, funny and fabulous! I will miss seeing her.
July 17, 2019
We always enjoyed seeing Aunt Dottie at our house when she was visiting for lunch with Mom(Pat) and Aunt Jean. She always had all her "bling" on and looked great. We will miss her dearly.
July 16, 2019
Even in her last days, Gramma Doris knew just how to work her comedic timing. After singing a few songs to her around her hospital bed, we belted out our best rendition of Silent Night. When asked if she’d enjoy being serenaded by the group again, she paused for awhile...before a very firm “no” fell from her lips.
I love you, Gramma Doris. Thank you for embracing me as part of your family - you won’t soon be forgotten.
July 14, 2019
One of the reasons why I write in this small space is to show all my love and affection for a great lady,❤❤❤ Doris Stegen, ❤❤❤who despite having known in such a short time, stole a large part of my heart, in my sad times, in my happy moments I was there to share them with her, I understood that sometimes she could not remember me, but there I was every day, every morning that came to my work, the first thing was to run to her room to say good morning I grew up without my grandparents, even though I never had the affection of them, my doris could give me more than that, she was like a grandmother to me, whom I loved so much, and whom I will carry in the depths of my heart ... I still remember When I hurried to finish my work and run to his room to spend a few minutes with her, I remember how she looked for me, so I could open the door of her room, and with great pleasure I did it for her ... I will never forget That last day when you looked at me, you gave me a kiss and you said thank you baby ... I will love you forever my beloved grandmother.❤
July 14, 2019
I remember when grandma and Aunt Peggy took care of me for a day when I was really young and I wanted a boiled egg. They didn’t know how to make a boiled egg so they put it in the microwave and it exploded! There was egg everywhere and it was so funny.