Doris Elaine Steinke
August 23, 1926 – May 5, 2021
Doris was born in Denver, Colorado on August 23, 1926 to Roger Davenport and Lillian Ouderkirk. Growing up in south Denver, she attended Steele Elementary School, Byers Junior High, South High and the University of Denver.
When Doris was young her mother died and her father was remarried to Charline Essley, a former Vaudeville dancer and performer. They had a child Nancy, who was fourteen years younger and was always a joy to Doris.
She was raised just one block north of Washington Park, and enjoyed playing tennis in the summer and ice-skating on Washington Park Lake in the winter.
At South High she was a proud Rebel and a model student, which made her eligible for a scholarship to the University of Denver. Her high school years were in the course of World War II. Doris pitched in the war effort by taking public transportation out to the western edge of town to the Denver Munitions Plant in Lakewood (Alameda and Kipling - now the Federal Center) so that she could help by making .30 caliber cartridges and checking parts for bombs.
While World War II was winding down in 1946, as a Junior at the University of Denver she met the love of her life, Gene Steinke, at the old Union Building on the D.U. campus. He was a journalism major, a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and a basketball player. She was also a journalism major, one of the first women editors of the Clarion, the D.U. School newspaper, and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. Upon graduation, Doris took a job with the Englewood Times Herald as a reporter.
She married Gene at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Denver on September 14, 1949. After their honeymoon in Lake Tahoe and San Francisco, they settled in Pasadena, California for a year while Gene took training in mortuary science to qualify for a job back in Denver with Olinger’s Mortuary.
Shortly after relocating back to Denver they moved into a basement apartment and had their first child Sharon late in 1950. Then it was a move to a duplex they shared with Doris’ mom and dad. It was one block north of Washington Park and it was time to expand their family.
They lived there for a few more years and had three more children, David, Richard and Diane. Soon they needed more room for their growing family and moved to a larger home near Alameda and Williams where they had two more children, Linda and Susan. All six children attended St. Francis de Sales Catholic School and all of them went on to graduate from different colleges.
Although not Catholic herself, Doris and Gene raised all of the kids in the Catholic faith and attended Sunday mass religiously. Then in 1968, she converted to Catholicism. Her faithful devotion to her Catholic faith became an example and inspiration for her children. Her reverence was profound.
Her selflessness extended beyond her family through her volunteer efforts with the Catholic Church and organizations such as Hospice of Peace, Knights of Columbus, Easter Seals, Kiwanis, Pi Beta Phi, Mortar Board, D.U.’s foreign exchange student program, the D.U. Alumni Association, and most notably at Colorado University Hospital, with over 2,400 hours of volunteer service. She was neither pretentious nor sought attention to herself, yet her grace and class was admired and emulated by others.
Doris enjoyed reading, fishing, gardening and Scrabble with friends and family. She was a creative cook, seamstress, Colorado Rockies fan and kept a very large far-flung family together. She was especially proud of knowing where all of her family was at any given time and always remembered birthdays and anniversaries of all her children and grandchildren.
She loved clipping relevant articles from her beloved Denver Post and sending them to her kids and acquaintances, a sign she was engaged and interested in each child’s life. She was always “in the know” and was up to date on world affairs and current trends. She was as comfortable dancing the fox trot as she was dancing hip-hop at the grand kids’ weddings.
Doris was great at math - counting heads and accounting for friends - and then subtracting for the children busy at activities to come up with just the right number of food and mouths to feed for any given meal; and if a friend dropped in, she would add a place for them.
The house was always a beehive of activity. Foreign exchange students from the University of Denver were welcomed with open arms. They would stay in our home for several days as an integral part of their program. These students from China, Germany, India, Nigeria and other countries exposed the kids to different customs, religions and racial diversity. Many of these students became lifelong friends and reciprocated the hospitality when Gene and Doris travelled internationally.
The Williams Street home was where kids came home from school, brought boyfriends and girlfriends to meet the parents and the place where nighttime basketball and parties on the patio with a driveway full of cars was the norm. Doris would always join in for a game of HORSE and cheer the loudest for the kids no matter what the sport was. Later, home was where all the big holidays and events happened. It was home base in the truest sense of the phrase.
They later moved to a home on Pontiac Street near Bible Park where the family continued to gather for over twenty years. After Gene’s death, Doris lived at Brookdale University Park Retirement Community - she wanted to stay in south Denver - and most recently at the Manor on Marston Lake in Littleton.
She was a transportation guru taking six kids to various events ranging from cheerleading practice or a slumber party, to a variety of sporting events including the infamous “Dust Bowl,” a favored practice field for St. Francis de Sales sports teams. Her Ford Country Squire station wagon crisscrossed south Denver many times over from the University of Denver swim lessons to Garland Park to the tennis courts at Washington Park.
She helped facilitate epic Sunday nights in front of the old console television featuring “Malts and Donuts” or “Popcorn and Duffys.” Ed Sullivan, Candid Camera and To Tell the Truth were Sunday night “must see TV.”
She traveled with Gene to the Holy Land, Rome, Germany, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii and countless trips to Kansas, Ohio and California to visit family and friends. And there were a few classic road trips with some or all of the kids to conventions for the Knights of Columbus and Kiwanis International. This was classic Americana travelling in a Ford station wagon staying with family and friends along the way and an occasional Holiday Inn – with a pool for the kids after a long day drive. Doris planned all these trips. Her Rand McNally Road Atlas and Car Bingo were constant companions and she knew every Crocodile Farm, Dinosaur Park, Stuckey’s and Howard Johnsons in America to provide a respite for our 400-500 mile driving days.
Doris was a true Colorado Rockies fan and season ticket holder since their inception. There is a commemorative brick right near the home plate entrance that reads “The Steinke Family – God, Family, Baseball” and the family always teases that it’s not always necessarily in that order. If you walk down Section 137 from the concourse to the dugout, a center rail will steady your walk – encouraged by Doris to Rockies management every year for the past dozen seasons – finally installed for everyone’s safety. Doris and Gene – and later just Doris, never missed a graduation at any academic level or a wedding or an anniversary or a baptism – no matter when or where it occurred. It would not be an exaggeration that they went to well over 1,000 sporting and extracurricular events for their kids and extended family.
Doris lived a very blessed life and gave much more than she received. She will be so missed by her family.
Inspired and survived by a sister, six children, fifteen grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Nancy McBride (sister) - Children: Doug and Priya McBride - Children: Diya; Cheryl and Steve Dunlop - Children: Kailyn, Rowan. Sharon and Patrick Kane - Children: Kevin and Allison Kane - Children: Everett, Madeleine; Chris Kane and Nicole Dieso; Megan. David Steinke and Sue Robinson – Children: Erin Steinke. Richard Steinke - Children: Sarah and Michael Portnov - Children: Alina and Stas; Kyle and Scott Hartwyk - Children: Maxwell, Hugo; Lauren and Steve Brady. Diane and Tom Matway - Children: Beck, Bryce. Linda and Devin Monasmith - Children: Colton; Jamie and Reiner Lueck - Children: Elena, Annelie; Lindsay. Susan and Rick Schmitz - Children: Mallory (Charlie) Ryan, Jack.
Please contact the family for complete funeral mass details as space is limited.
Funeral Mass - Join live streaming 10:00 a.m.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Private Committal Fort Logan National Cemetery
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Doris Elaine Steinke
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May 19, 2021
Memories of Doris are just as you wrote in the obituary....her grace and her interest in people, her fun and kindness! We met the Steinke family first in 1974 when we moved in at the other end of the block, and received a surprise Easter Basket at our door! We LOVED it! (I think Susan was probably the Easter bunny! ) It was a joy to know Doris and Gene and family. We were so lucky to be neighbors in their block! In deepest sympathy to each of you for your loss, - With love, Becky Hammond
May 18, 2021
We were a young, recently married couple when we moved in next door to Doris and Gene. We both felt they watched over us as if we were their own, always giving special treats to our children for birthdays, Halloween and Christmas. May both Doris and Gene be Blessed In Peace.
John and Tamara Kudrycki
May 18, 2021
I did not know your mother but I have always felt her energy here at 278 S Williams St. What a wonderful life! What a beautiful family! Please know you are always welcome back here with no notice. It is important to me to extend your mother's hospitality. We can all hope to live such a meaningful life. God bless you all tho is seems that he already has💜
May 17, 2021
I have been very blessed to have known Doris (“Mom S”) for the better part of 5 decades, having been lucky enough to date and eventually marry Gene and Doris’ oldest daughter Sharon. It continues to be a privilege to observe the love and support within this beautiful family. Doris, as matron, was the silent angel of the Steinke clan, always there to help and comfort both family and guests in an unassuming and loving way. I am so comforted to know she is now with Gene and they are smiling down on all of us. Love you always, Pat
May 16, 2021
Dave and family,
What a lovely tribute to your Mom. She lived a long and wonderful life and leaves quite the legacy. I remember her cheering at all the sporting events at St. Francis. And I have enjoyed the pictures on Facebook of her fishing, with her beautiful white hair. Sending condolences as you say goodbye.
May 16, 2021
Mrs. Steinke was truly a beautiful woman inside and out! She was a Proverbs 31 woman for sure. She made sure that her lifetime love was honored at the city gates and took her career of raising an awesome family as the most important work she will ever do. The grace at which she did this was phenomenal. It was amazing to me that she would treat me like she was ecstatic to see me. The large amount of people that came in and out of her home and she still had the time to make me feel special. What a tremendous gift she had. The Steinke's have been a life long blessing to me and I have learned many great lessons about the best way to raise a family. Thanks for the awesome memories!!!
May 15, 2021
I'm thankful and honored I had the pleasure of getting to know Doris over the past few years during a couple of trips to Denver and Black Lake vacation. Her gentle spirit and warm smile truly touched my heart. My sincere condolences to the Steinke family.
May Doris rest in peace . . .
May 13, 2021
I'll never forget the first time I met Doris and Gene. I was on my way to Telluride to go skiing with Pat and Sharon. They invited me to spend the night in Denver with them before we took off for Telluride the next day. I was welcomed with open arms. I was overwhelmed by their warmth and kindness. By the time we left the next day, I felt like I was part of their family.
Over the years, I would stay with them from time to time. I have always treasured those times. Their home was warm and inviting with countless photos and positive messages on the walls. I always found something new each time I visited.
Doris was a warm, generous, loving and beautiful human being. She genuinely cared about the people she encountered. She was truly a one of a kind and will be sorely missed by those who's lives she touched.
May 8, 2021
Numerous great memories. As was said previously about 'Geno', you could look a LONG time and not find a nicer/kinder person. The entire Steinke family inherited those traits!