By Bob Uphues
Doris B. Ketchmark (nee Vizek), 87, a longtime resident of Brookfield, died March 23, 2014.
Born July 16, 1926 in Chicago, she grew up in the Brighton Park neighborhood of the city, attending Farragut High School. As a teen she took ballet classes and entered a number of ballet and majorette contests.
In 1949, she met her future husband, Larry Ketchmark, at the Melody Mill Ballroom in North Riverside. A year later Doris and her family moved to Brookfield; that same year she and Larry married.
Soon after, Larry Ketchmark bought two lots on the 4200 block of Oak Avenue of Brookfield, directly behind the homes owned by Doris' father and her uncle. Mr. Ketchmark and his father-in-law built two new homes for themselves on Oak Avenue and moved in. The Ketchmarks moved into the corner home and raised five children there. Mr. Ketchmark still lives in the home.
According to Ms. Ketchmark's son, Brookfield Village President Kit Ketchmark, his mother was a devoted housewife who actively volunteered for two decades at Lincoln School as a room mother, fun fair chairwoman and PTA member. Each year, her son remembered, Ms. Ketchmark would turn the kindergarten room into a haunted house.
Ms. Ketchmark and her father were inveterate garage sale and flea market enthusiasts, and also had a creative bent. For many years she and her father, who was a metal and wood worker, would build doll houses, complete with furnished interiors. They would sell the doll houses at Jacob's Ladder in Brookfield and other stores.
Kit Ketchmark said the holidays were an especially busy time for dollhouse production.
"Sometimes they'd have 20 to 30 dollhouses to make," Ketchmark said.
Ms. Ketchmark didn't learn to drive until 1979, when her father died. And according to her son Kit, it wasn't something she was enthusiastic about.
"She had her license for four years and never renewed it again," he said.
In recent years, Ms. Ketchmark was in and out of the hospital and nursing care. She spent the last 20 months of her life in a nursing home, with Larry visiting twice every day whenever he could.
Although her memory faded and she sometimes couldn't remember the names of her children, said her son, Ms. Ketchmark could still sing the words of her favorite song, "The Tennessee Waltz," a favorite at the Melody Mill and a song Patti Page made the nation's No. 1 hit in 1950, the year the Ketchmarks married.
"She didn't know who we were, but she knew the words to that song," Kit Ketchmark said.
Ms. Ketchmark was the wife of Lawrence T. Ketchmark; the mother of Timothy (Cindy) Ketchmark, Robin (Patricia) Ketchmark, Dana (Susan) Ketchmark, Kit (Kathy) Ketchmark and Susan (Steve) Huska; the grandmother of Tony Ketchmark, Spencer Ketchmark, Tiffany Ketchmark, Jason Ketchmark, Jenny (Aaron) Tag, Katie (Anthony) Gaudio, Cameron Ketchmark, Trent Ketchmark, Justin Huska, Jessica Huska and Michael Huska; and the great-grandmother Evan Tag and Weston Gaudio.
Visitation will be on Tuesday, March 25 from 3 to 8 p.m. and on Wednesday, March 26 from 10:30 a.m. until the time of an 11 a.m. funeral service at Hitzeman Funeral Home, 9445 31st St., in Brookfield. Interment is at Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago.