VisitationHaut Funeral Home - Jamestown
Jamestown, North Dakota 58401
Virginia Dorena Wittmier Dockter, live-wire, go-getter, fashion plate, outstanding cook, teacher to thousands, and all around “gutes Kel,” died on November 18th, in Bismarck, ND, just 15 days shy of her 79th birthday.
Virginia was born December 3, 1939, to Reinhold and Emma Brenneise Wittmier. Growing up on the prairies of southwest Streeter, ND, in the area known as The Flat, Virginia’s greatest childhood call was to live up the expectations of her father, who bragged that she could “work like a boy.”
This girl had it going on. For a long time. Whether it was clipping pictures of jewelry from the Sears & Roebuck catalog to paste on her fingers and wrists, hopping on Silver’s back to herd the milk cows to the barn, or getting in trouble because of her uncanny knack for mimicry, Virginia’s enthusiastic embrace of life left many in awe.
Virginia married Streeter High School classmate Elmer J. Dockter, son of John F and Barbara Schaffer Dockter, on June 12, 1960. Though they were classmates in Streeter’s graduating Class of 1957, they were definitely NOT high school sweethearts. Luckily for their children, Shona and Jon, that came later. After the wedding, the lovebirds immediately embarked on their Georgia honeymoon in a crowded station wagon. Companions for the romantic adventure were four of Virginia’s new brothers and sisters-in-law.
Although she imagined herself a nurse, Virginia was told she would join her sisters at Valley City State Teacher’s College after high school graduation. That parental mandate was a stroke of luck for the thousands of lives touched by Virginia’s 41+ year teaching and elementary principal career spanning country school, Streeter Public School, and later Rita Murphy School in Bismarck, ND. Mrs. Dockter provided a safe and happy learning environment for countless students who remember learning to knit, and the wonderful books she read at story time: Charlotte’s Web, The Adventures of Mrs. Pigglewiggle, and Silly Goose, to name a few. An average student herself, Mrs. Dockter felt that experience allowed her greater compassion and respect for her students; innumerable Senior interviews in the Streeter High School newspaper listed “Mrs. Dockter” as their favorite teacher.
Determination and persistence met their match in Virginia. When not working, Virginia was working. Concurrent with her teaching career, and earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in summer school, was Virginia’s role as partner in farming with Elmer, and mother to Shona Ann, born in 1963, and Jon Ethan, born in 1965. We were blessed to learn many things from Mom: how to make the most delicious prune kuchen and creamed buns for miles in any direction, how to “remodel” clothing to reflect current fashion trends (with a closet to rival that of anyone on Park Avenue!), the ritual of spring and fall house cleaning, how to kick into high gear on a moment’s notice, and how to savor rest with a bath and a good book after a day of hard labor. Like her father, Virginia gently prodded us to make our own decisions early on, confident we would make good ones. Mom encouraged us to recognize the good in others, and to let it be known: “If you see someone has done something good, tell them you see their good works, and thank them.”
In her retirement years, Virginia’s greatest joys were spending time with her grandchildren, and zipping around Bismarck in her lime green Volkswagen, affectionately plated, “MYLILB”. Her retirement gift to herself and her family was a trip of a lifetime to Germany, where she met many long lost cousins who remain in contact to this day.
Grieving her loss, but celebrating a great life are: her devoted husband of 58 1/2 years, Elmer, Bismarck; her daughter, Shona, son-in-law John Haas, grandchildren Sadie Miao and Johnny Luo (Roseville, MN); her son, Jon, daughter-in-law Charlotte Lipp Dockter, grandchildren Emma Ann and Ethan Jon-Thomas (New Brighton, MN); sisters Delores (Herb) Himmerich, Tina (Stan) Angle, Esther (Ken) Benson; special Streeter friends JoAnn & Leroy Wieland, Lloyd Veil, Irv & Illeen Enzminger, and many nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, infant sister Marcella, and good friend Arlene Veil.
That someone as vibrant as Virginia could die of the horrible disease that is Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) is incomprehensible to so many of us. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to www.psp.org
“Wo Liebe, da ist kein Tod.”