Doris Irene Primm Hire was born in a small house in La Belle, Missouri, on September 27, 1933. She joined her older brother “Junior” (James Robert “Bob” Primm) to complete the family of James Robert Primm and Leta Alice Hayden Primm. She soon earned the nickname Tootie from her big brother who dubbed her “Tootie Patootie”. She grew up knowing the love of her family and the joys of a small town. She played softball, and was the only one who could catch for Patty Patrick. Their friendship continued throughout their lives. She played the bass drum for the La Belle High School band, but had to have help putting it on because she was so little. Although everybody thought she was too short, “Tootie” loved to play basketball and she showed them just what a short girl could do. She spent a lot of time with her numerous cousins including, Betty, Jimmy and Kenneth Hayden, Zoanne Primm and Norma Hayden. She dearly loved her aunts and uncles, but her Uncles Earl Hayden and Page Primm were very special in her life.
Tootie’s stepdad, John Taylor, hired a young man, “Bud” Doscher at the LaBelle Elevator. A spark ignited, and another phase of life began. Bud came to pick her up on his motorcycle one day, and her mother chased him off with a broom! No way was her daughter getting on that motorcycle! Well, she did and eventually wound up married and had her first two children, Greg and Tereca. She spent a lot of time with her in-laws, Mary Louise and Jimmy Bayne. Doris and Mary remained lifelong friends. She dearly loved her niece, Kathy and her nephews, Larry and Randy. Her other nephew, Jim Primm, spent time with her family in LaBelle. She loved it when “Shorty” came to visit!
But, as often happens, that first marriage ended. Later she brought Douglas Robert into her family. Being close to her own brother, Doris gave that baby her brothers’ middle name.
As a young woman, she was beautiful, energetic, happy and enjoyed life. She worked at several jobs to support her children including RECA and Brower Manufacturing. She helped open the first Head Start in La Belle, and was so proud to be helping other children. She remarried and increased her brood with the addition of Michelle and Kevin. Wow, five kids ranging in age from 17 to newborn! She once made the remark that she felt like “all” she had ever done was raise kids. Little did she know the impact she had on those lives. Being a Mom was her purpose, and she did the best she could with what she had.
Greg, her first born, remembers: One winter evening, Sam Wilson and I were messing around in the front yard. We dropped a set of keys in the snow and could not find them. Using the infinite wisdom of two teenage boys, we decided to dump 5 gallons of gasoline on the snow in the area we had dropped the keys. This was directly below the window where Mom would have been sitting to watch TV. We were planning for a small fire so it would melt the snow and we could find the keys. However…when we lit the fire there was a “WHOOSH”, and a huge fireball! Mom shot out of the house and said “What the (heck) happened?” The look on her face was priceless! Note: Sam and I later became Fire Chiefs in La Belle.
Tereca remembers taking her Mom to lunch many years ago. Mom ordered chicken, and she wanted white meat. Mom had always insisted at home that she liked the chicken back. The meat was so tender and juicy. The littlest kids got the wing drummies or legs, the bigger kids got the thighs or split a breast. The man of the house got the other chicken breast. Mom always ate the chicken back. It was a very long time before I realized that it was important to her that her kids have the best, and she would make do with the chicken back. I am so blessed that she went gracefully from chicken backs to streets of gold.
Doug recalls: Mom’s undying willingness to provide for and to protect her children. It is one of the things I will cherish forever. On more than one occasion our Mother after a hard day’s work would take a few of us to a sawmill to gather scrap lumber so we could have heat for a cold winter night, never complaining (at least not in front of her children). I remember many meals consisted of just plain dumplings with a little salt and pepper for seasoning. One time she added green food coloring to them for something different, I think it was Michelle that would not eat them because they were green. She always made sure we were provided for, it might not been the best meals but they were always hot and gave us the nourishment we needed. Now that I have a child in our home I like to think that I am raising Skyler the way that she would want me to and I cannot thank our Mother enough for passing these traits on to me.
Michelle shares playing Tarzan as a small child. Mom had a station wagon, with the paneling on the sides. It was always parked by a big tree. I thought it would be fun to try playing Tarzan. I got on top of the car and jumped for a tree limb. It didn’t go as planned. The branch broke. I was screaming and crying. Mom came running out to see what had happened. She was not even aware that she was in her jeans and bra! Nothing stopped her from protecting her kids, not even the lack of a shirt!
Kevin, as the youngest, remembers his Mom’s love of animals. Sam, her pig was a favorite. She brought him into the house because he was so little. He had a bed in the bathtub. She would get him out to give him a bottle and rock him. That pig never forgot her love. She would go out and scratch his belly when he was almost as tall as her, and he would lay down for more. Her drawings and painting were amazing to watch in progress. She would start one, then another, and maybe a third one. Then she would go back to the first one and work on them all again. Her own weird process produced some beautiful paintings we will always cherish. She attended nearly every sporting event any of us kids were in, and often watched sports on TV with us. Her participation in our lives is one of the things I have learned and carry on with my sons.
In the mid 80’s Doris took art lessons in California where she had made a new life with her late husband, Kenneth Hire. If you visited her at CARE you saw some of her drawings and paintings. She loved Jesus, and all things Native American. She drew and painted beautiful portraits, including some of her grandchildren. We keep these as priceless memories, knowing how much she enjoyed the process of creating something beautiful and meaningful to her. She and Kenneth were charter members of the Unity Church in Sonora, California.
Doris developed a love of animals. On the farm at Birch Tree, MO she named the calves and piglets. Her old bore, Sam, was almost as tall as she was! She also practically quit eating meat! She sold the farm and moved to the Colorado mountains at Wetmore, near the Royal Gorge. She loved the mountains, but not getting snowed in for weeks at a time. She decided to move back to her hometown, and the kids were so happy to have her near. She had her horses, cats and dogs to dote on and loved being outdoors with them. She enjoyed visiting with old friends, and was active in restoring the La Belle Depot.
Doris was a very proud Mom, Grandma, and Great Grandma. Chris, Andy, Cody, Lauren, Hunter, Levi and Skyler brought many smiles to her face. She was Grandma Do, Gram Cracker and the Crazy Gram that was dearly loved for her quirks and laughter. The Great Grandkids made her so happy. She loved to watch them play and loved to talk with them all.
Doris survived breast cancer, but battled with Alzheimer’s for several years. She took up dancing while at CARE, and visited with many of the other residents. She loved the caregivers, and teased them a lot. She became very comfortable there. Her only request while there was to go Home and to see her Mom and Dad. On October 31, 2015, God granted her wish with a peaceful passing into His arms. Her children were all at her bedside giving honor and respect to the woman who gave them her best.
The family will have private interment services. Memorial Services will be at 12:00 noon on Saturday, November 7, 2015 in the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in LaBelle. Pastor James Salter will be conducting the service. It will be followed by a dinner provided by the Church to continue celebrating a life well lived.
Arrangements under the direction of the Coder Funeral Chapel, LaBelle, Missouri.