Mary Ellen Doornink

March 3, 1928February 21, 2014
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Mary Ellen (Irsfeld) Doornink

Mary Ellen (Irsfeld) Doornink was born in Florence, Arizona on March 3, 1928 to Nicholas William and Laura Mayme (Wayland) Irsfeld. Shortly thereafter, her family moved to Wapato where her father worked on the Wapato Irrigation Project that brings water to the lower Yakima Valley today.

One of the highlights of Mary Ellen’s childhood was her honorary membership in the Schilperoort clan. Her best friend Dorothy and she spent many fun-filled days of their young lives together at the farm of that fun-loving family. Mary Ellen was a Campfire Girl and loved her summers at Camp Roganunda. Participating in Christian Endeavor and Victory Club with young people from Harrah and Wapato, Mary Ellen developed a sincere and lifelong faith in Jesus Christ.

Mary Ellen was a fine student and attended school in Wapato, graduating in 1945. It was there that her future husband Glenn sought her out because he wanted to find out who else was getting the top grades in Chemistry class. He finagled a seat beside her in their next class together, acing out her other admirers as the two studied physics together. They also had lots of fun taking and developing pictures for their school paper, the Wolf Howl.

Attending the College of Puget Sound and Washington State College, now WSU, Mary Ellen graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Bacteriology as a Phi Beta Kappa member. Mary Ellen also continued her musical studies in college where she discovered the magnificence of playing the pipe organ. After college, she married Glenn and worked as a research lab assistant at the University of Washington, where her new husband studied medicine. They welcomed their first two children during their time in Seattle.

Their move to back to Wapato was not something that Glenn and Mary Ellen would have predicted, but there was a great need for doctors in their hometown. They added five more children while Glenn continued his medical practice and she focused on raising their family. Mary Ellen insisted on a musical education for each of her children and imparted a love a music that persists to this day. Glenn insisted on their children’s sports participation, so she attended thousands of Wolfpack, Cougar and Seahawk sporting events during her mothering career.

Mary Ellen’s home became a hub for many neighborhood children as she hosted Good News Clubs in Wapato. Her children and their schoolmates throughout Wapato learned Bible stories, memorized Bible verses and ate cookies at her house every week after school.

In 1968, the Doornink clan moved out of their small home in Wapato to the family fruit ranch in Parker Heights. Although Mary Ellen was much more of a “white-picket-fence-in-town” kind of girl, she got on board with the idea of moving out to the country so her family could experience the farm life, especially raising animals. It turned out to an unimaginable adventure she greatly treasured.

As her children married and grandchildren came along, Mary Ellen continued to nurture and nourish her family spiritually. In a time before Facebook and e-mail, she spent a lot of effort and energy keeping her family up-to-date with each other’s news. Knowing that her adult children were busy and not necessarily communicating amongst themselves, she became glue when the forces of everyday life could have easily allowed them to drift apart.

Mary Ellen decided to invite her children to bring their families to a weekend retreat in the woods as a celebration of her 40th wedding anniversary. All agree that it was one of the best things that ever happened to the family. Now in its 26th consecutive year, the “Family Reunion” is the most anticipated and meaningful weekend of the year across the generations.

Mary Ellen and Glenn were known for their generosity. They helped found the local Christian Radio Station, KBBO, and enthusiastically supported many local and international Christian mission efforts. Her love of Christ was central to her life, as evidenced by her devotion to God’s Word and her actions towards all she encountered. Mary Ellen generously gave her time and service, regarding her husband and family as her first and highest ministry.

Mary Ellen is preceded in death by her dear husband, Dr. Glenn M. Doornink, her parents, and her only brother, Nicholas William “Bill” Irsfeld, Jr. She is survived by all her children: James (Rena) Doornink, Dr. David (Debby) Doornink, Dr. Daniel (Sharon) Doornink, Nancy (Steve) Calhoun, Christine (Rodger) Boothman, John (Tess) Doornink, and Eileen (Wes) Weresch. Mary Ellen cherished and was proud of her thirty-six grandchildren: Christi Ann and Philip (Karen) Doornink; Will (Michelle), Mary, Ben (Jill), Karen, and Greg Doornink; Heidi (Luke) Corbin, Danielle, Tyler, and Grace Doornink; Laura Williams, Tim (Heather), Carrie, Hannah, Molly, Kurt, and Brian Calhoun; Sarah Boothman, Jane (Ray) Gross, Hilary (Tim) Marston, Peter (Liz), Anne Marie, Kate, Trudy, Mercedes, Charity, Emily, Christiana, and Noah Boothman; Elisabeth (Rik) Moseng, Andrew , Stephanie, Rachael, and Matthew Doornink; and Frederick “Fritz” Weresch.

She also loved her seventeen great-grandchildren: Wyatt and Weston Layman; Micah Doornink; Lander and Wren Corbin; Veheir and Jheiryn Williams; JT, Clay, and Nattelie Calhoun; Ruby, Leo, and Tilly Gross; Annie, Isabel and Inga Marston; Nigel Boothman.

The Doornink family wishes to extend a special thanks to all of our mom’s caregivers at Living Care, and express our heartfelt gratitude to Mary Claudia Kirk for the kind, loving, and expert care she provided to both our mother and father in their final years.

Our family invites you to a memorial service and reception at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, March 9, 2014 at the Yakima Alliance Church, 902 S 36th Ave, Yakima. There will be no viewing at the service, so those wishing to pay respects in viewing may do so on Friday, March 7th 4:00-8:00 p.m at Keith & Keith Funeral Home. To share a memory of our mom and view pictures, visit Donations can be made to Child Evangelism Fellowship or the Yakima Union Gospel Mission.


  • Visitation Friday, March 7, 2014
  • Memorial Service Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mary Ellen Doornink

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Ray/Mary Kearl

March 7, 2014

The Doornick Families
Happy Memories of your family started in Seattle with 'rides' home to Toppenish 60+ years ago.
Our Friendship continued in Wapato as we all 'cheered' Wapato in their activities, including football, basketball, track, baseball, etc!
Your Special Mom will be missed but you
have great Memories to help you through with a lot of smiles.
Thinking of you,
The Kearl family.

Rebecca Whitmore

March 5, 2014

Dear Doornink Families,
Mary Ellen was always such an encouragement to me, and a wonderful example of a Godly mother and grandmother. I will never forget a comment she made to me one Sunday morning, as I was herding my young twins into our church (Grange) building, along with the older six children, and she said to me, "I hate to tell you this, but it doesn't get better!" She further explained that as your children grow up, get married, and have children of their own, your involvements expand, along with your prayer concerns for so many more. So she reminded me to enjoy the busy years when my children were young. I have never forgotten that comment, and have reminded myself many times of the truth of it, along with the humor.
Blessings to you all, Rebecca Whitmore

Barbara Dixon Spaulding

March 5, 2014

Dear Doorninks, Kay told me of Mary Ellen's home-going and I just read the obituary from the Yakima paper. What joyous memories she leaves with a great cloud of witnesses—on earth and in the heavenlies. Praying for continuing peace for each of you. I'm sure Sunday's memorial will be a glorious celebration.

Chuck & Marilyn Winter

March 2, 2014

To the family of Mary Ellen,
Marilyn and I rejoice in the knowledge - with you - that Mary Ellen is safely Home. We pray for you His grace and strength during this time.
Pastor Chuck & Marilyn Winter / Sunnyside

March 1, 2014

Dear Doornink Families,

Your mom made so many significant contributions in our family's life. Perhaps my greatest memory was when she came over to our house for Bible Study and would help us "young moms" learn God's Word and apply it to our lives. One day she said, "I used to ask the Lord to help me figure out what to do with all my kids so I could get on with my ministry for Him. It finally dawned on me...My kids ARE the Lord's work--my ministry to Him!" Mary Ellen helped me see that being home with my children was THE most important thing I could be doing.
It was a joy to watch all seven children, along with your families, honoring your parents year after year! What special memories you all have and what a wonderful legacy you have been left!

Missing Both of your Parents,
Geri Catton