Doris Lee Reitzel Fish

April 4, 1932May 19, 2019

Doris Lee Reitzel, age 87, of Newton, passed away Sunday, May 19, 2019 at her residence, surrounded by her loving family.

Doris was born on April 4, 1932, in Catawba County to Albert Lafayette Reitzel and Essie Pearl Pollard Reitzel. She was one of 10 children. She was just a teenager when her mother died and left her to be bossed and pampered by seven brothers and a sister who all preceded her in death. Her brothers were Aaron, Verley, Ted, Robert, George, Berton, and Norris. Her sister was Freda Inez Sharpe. She was extremely proud of her family and to her they were the greatest of all.

On July 4, 1953, she married Horace Fish of Lincoln County, who died September 11, 2009.

She is survived by two daughters, Vicky Denise Keener, and husband, William Keener; Connie Marie Cilley and husband, John Harper Cilley IV; and son, Richard Albert Fish; five grandchildren, Kelly Lee Keener, William Jason Keener and wife, Kimberly; Chloe Marie Ennis Bilodeau and husband, Beau Bilodeau; John Harper Cilley V; and Emma Marie Cilley and nine great grandchildren: Kalie, Matthew, Ethan, Taylor, Thea, Drake, Abby, Thatcher, and Trace; nieces and nephews: Mary and Bobby Sharpe of Statesville; Melanie and Robby Reitzel of Newton; Buddy and Sandy Reitzel, Lisa Reitzel Morel, Brenda and Rick Moore of Greensboro; Gary Reitzel of Newton.

The churches of Newton-Conover founded Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry and called on Doris to be its first Executive Director, a position she held for 25 years, retiring only due to the illness of her husband.

Doris was taught by her parents the value of what you have and the services you provide for others. In her position at ECCCM, she showed caring and compassion to others and many times she felt God’s help when someone needed something and it was not available. Many a needy child begged to stay with her instead of going home. Many of the children she has met in their adult lives have been proud to show her what they became.

Doris always said she knew what it was like to wear hand-me-downs and swore when she grew up she would wear only designer clothes. She got her wish when her daughter, Connie, moved to New York. When visiting New York she always left room in her suitcase to bring back clothes from 5th Avenue stores. Constantly shopping at Dot’s of Maiden, her friendship with Dot Lineberger led them to present over 12 annual fashion shows for the benefit of ECCCM.

As a member of Beth Eden Lutheran Church, she taught Sunday School, Bible School, served on many committees, and the Women of ELCA. She developed the Safe Haven for Children Program in North Carolina Lutheran Churches. For this she received Special Recognition in the ELCA Lutheran magazine.

ECCCM under the direction of Doris, was honored by WSOC with a Nine Who Care Award in 1982. She later was instrumental in the founding of the Adult Basic Education Program, CROP Walk, the countywide Christmas Bureau and Meals-on-Wheels.

In July 1992, Doris was awarded the Order of the Longleaf Pine by Governor James G. Martin, which is one of the most prestigious awards presented by the Governor of North Carolina. This award is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state.

Other awards and recognitions presented to Doris for her many years of dedicated service to her community include: 1982 Governor ’s Volunteer Award; 1985 Certificate of Appreciation from the NC Probation and Parole Division; 1986 Governor’s Certificate of Appreciation; 1992 Nine Who Care Award Winner; 2006 Campaign Spirit Award Catawba County United Way; 2009 Republican Spirit Award Catawba County Republican Party; 2019 Certificate of Appreciation from ECCCM; Member of the NC State Commission on National and Community Service; JCPenney Golden Rule Award; and City of Newton Certificate of Appreciation for Humanitarian Efforts for the Citizens of the City of Newton.

The funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Friday, May 24, 2019 at Beth Eden Lutheran Church, with Rev. Marcus Ollis officiating. Entombment will follow at Catawba Memorial Park in Hickory.

The receiving will be from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 23, 2019 at Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home in Newton.

Memorials may be made to Beth Eden Lutheran Church, 400 N. Main Ave., Newton, NC 28658.


  • Beth Eden Lutheran Church


  • Receiving of Friends and Family Thursday, May 23, 2019
  • Funeral Service Friday, May 24, 2019


Doris Lee Reitzel Fish

have a memory or condolence to add?

doug reitzel

May 23, 2019

Doris was my aunt ..she was a wounderful person and I was graced to of had her in my life .I find it hard to put into words the feeling of loss which comes with her passing .. She was always great to me ..she had a quick wit and could hold her own in discussions..So many wonderful things could be said about her .I find it hard to gather my thoughts for the loss is in peace aunt doris

Scott Gilbert

May 22, 2019

I had the pleasure to meet Mrs. Fish 9 years ago through her beautiful granddaughter who is also my fiancee (Kelly Keener). From that day on she took me in and treated me as her own family. I will truly miss the times that we (myself, kelly, & our kids) spent with Mrs. Fish. Thank you for always treating me as your own.


May 21, 2019

Many years back , I knew Doris & Horace Fish.

From their home on Davis Ave. in Newton, till the day they "moved on up to the East Side".
East 23rd, St. in Newton, that is.
Always enjoyed many at lengthly conversations with her.
From politics to politics and always kidded her about the picture of L. David Huffman and Ms. Doris, kissing the cow.
both she and Horace were such good neighbors, in fact next door neighbors, for many years.

My sympathy to Connie, Richie, and all the grand babies, several of which, she helped raise.
Ms. Doris will be missed by many.