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Doris J. Riesland
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Service: Sunday April 19, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Location: DeVol Funeral Home, Gaithersburg, MD

Doris J. Riesland

        On Saturday April 11, 2015 Doris J. Riesland of Gaithersburg, MD. Beloved mother of Kathie Rippel Matthews and her husband David; stepmother of Nick Riesland, Maryanne Kane and Glenn Riesland; sister of Stan Couzens; grandmother of Morgan, Garrett, Sam, Kipp, Alexa, Elijah and Joey. Also survived by nine great grandchildren.

        Memorial Service will be held at DeVol Funeral Home, 10 East Deer Park Drive, Gaithersburg, MD 20877 on Sunday April 19, 2015 at 11:00 AM. If desired, memorial contributions may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 6931 Arlington Road, Suite B, Bethesda, MD 20814 or online at:

Eulogy for Doris/�Mom�        19 April 2015  Gaithersburg, MD     Shared by Kathie Matthews:

Good morning! I appreciate you being here today to celebrate my mom's life.

Thinking about what to say about a woman who I have loved for 60 years and gone through so many good and bad times has been rough.  I started to write down her entire life story from beginning to end, but they were just words. It didn't say anything about who she was as a person. But I will be brief on her life before talking about my mom, Doris Jeanne Kaczynski Couzens Rippel Riesland.

Her life began on 11/10/29 in Detroit, MI being pulled out of her mother's womb by forceps which created a small scar on her forehead. Her family moved to Phoenix, AZ where the last name was changed to Couzens.

My mom was a Home Economics Major at ASU where she met my father.  They married March 31, 1951.  She loved to sew, knit, embroider, cook, can goods, make jam, garden, wallpaper , paint and worked at being a good wife and mother.  When I had chicken pox she made all sorts of Barbie doll clothes and knitted sweaters.  She made Debbie and I matching white with red polka dot flannel night gowns, beautiful dresses with smocking, elaborate Halloween costumes, and evening gowns for herself.   She was very talented.

Mom loved having a good time: partying, smoking cigarettes, dancing, and above all laughing.  I loved watching my mom get ready to go out with my dad.  I would sit on the toilet seat while she put on her makeup and did her hair. She wore beautiful clothing, jewelry and matching heels.  AND smelled so good wearing Channel. She looked like a beautiful actress. Together they had 4 children, but unfortunately I was the only survivor. It was hard on my parents and their marriage ended in divorce. My mom was strong and continued to be a great mother acting as though everything was going to be fine.

On April 2, 1966 my mother married John Riesland and our family grew from 3 to 7. Nick, Glenn and Maryann were John's children. Though they didn't live with us I thought it was fun to have more siblings.  Life was not like the BRADY BUNCH, but we all grew to love and respect each other eventually.

She and John loved going to yard sales together.  Mom would refinish furniture and/or reupholster and they would have a yard sale themselves.  It was a hobby they liked to do together and remained with my mother till the end.  They would also travel the neighborhood in their black cadillac during BIG COLLECTION days held every once in awhile and checked out what goodies people were throwing away and hauling it into the car. So embarrassing.

Mom was a supporter of my interests.  She came to every recital, choral concert, and musical I was in. When I was in high school my mother attended Brigadoon and some of the guys thought she was my sister.  Mom was pretty tickled by that.   And she continued that support with my children.  Going to sporting events, concerts, and musicals.

On March 30,1996 my mother lost John. Though she lost, as she would say "the love of her life" she remained strong by keeping busy with her hobbies and family. 

Mom worked as a volunteer in the gift shop at the Rockville Senior Center.  She would bring in items to sell, finding it to be so much fun to make a few dollars here and there.  They would also host Bingo nights, where it was more fun seeing fellow players with all of their "good luck charms" engulfing there bingo cards than it was to win BIG.

Mom was practical to a fault and inpatient with wastefulness.  Never threw a thing away.  I would see keychains on her dining room table and I would say why do you have so many keychains.  Her answer would be you never know when somebody might need a keychain. It was that way with so many items.  Morgan, my daughter, found all of her prescription glasses from the 90's in a drawer.  She would either keep it, sell it or give it to me.  Every time she came over she would have a bag of "STUFF" for me.  I used to fight her about  and then I finally would say thank you and throw it away myself.  Though one day she asked to borrow the regrouting kit she gave to us.  I told her I would have to look for it...knowing full well I had thrown it away.

Mom loved to hang out with my friends and me.  When I told one of my high school friends of Mom's passing she responded.  Your mom was so beautiful.  I always remember her hanging with us at the kitchen table as one of the girls.  SHE DID.  I am the same way.  I also enjoy hanging out with Garrett and Morgan's friends.  Mom always liked hanging out with younger later years she enjoyed being around Morgan's friends, Shannon, Cayley and Ashley.  We had some fun and interesting conversations.

I loved my mom's laugh.  I would laugh just hearing her laugh.  One time we were at Dart Drug in line and in front of us was a man with a severely sick child in his cart. The child was lethargic, his nose and eyes running and then the child vomited.  My mom and I started gagging in the store and laughing hysterically at the fact that we were gagging.  It might not sound funny to you, but to us it was hysterical. In fact, we talked about that situation just a short while ago.  I don't know why that particular event sticks in my mind....but it does.

Mom taught me to knit and sew.  Never was quite the seamstress she was.  Nor the knitter, but I did knit a sweater.  Though, she always wanted me to hold the knitting needles her way.  I told her �what does it matter� as long as if it comes out the way it should.  She did have the knack of wanting it to be done her way...which was always the best way in her mind's eye.  And that didn't end with just knitting.

My mom was proud of her family and loved them a lot. She had 7 grandchildren: Morgan, Garrett, Sam, Kipp, Alexa, Elijah and Joey.  She had 9 great grandchildren: Claire, Isak, Dante, Ryker, Dahlia, Lorlye, Logan, Lydia and Madelyn.

I love you Mom and you are missed.

Eulogy for Doris/�Mom�        19 April 2015  Gaithersburg, MD         Shared by Nick Riesland:

As Doris�s elder step-son, today I am representing the step side of Doris�s family.  This includes my younger sister, Maryann, who is here today and my younger brother, Glenn, who was unable to make the journey.  It includes my wife, Joan, and my son Kipp, both are here today, as well as our son Sam and daughter Alexa and their three spouses and four of Doris�s nine great grand-children, unfortunately all unable to attend.  It includes Maryann�s two boys, Elijah and Joe, their spouses and the other five great grandkids, also unable to be physically with us here today.  

In fairy tales, step mothers and step children are not always cast in the best light.  One implication for both is �unwanted��

My sibs and I, not too uncommonly, were a mess during our teens in the 1960�s San Francisco Bay Area.   I was 14 when our original biological family exploded into fragments like some supernova� whose pieces eventually formed into a new star (I�m a fan of the late Carl Sagan), a new family.   For my brother, sister and I, however, it took some time for our adolescent selves to make the transition.  The luminaries in this new family that was thrust upon us, of course, were chiefly Doris and her daughter Kathie, as well as Kathie�s little sister, Debbie, who so sadly succumbed to cystic fibrosis right around this time, joining her other two tragically deceased siblings.   Getting a sense of Doris�s unimaginable grief, may have helped me start to soften some my hard edged attitudes and move my adult self towards what became a strong decades-long relationship with our now deceased step-mother.   As for Doris, she was always a willing partner in this struggle.  

Doris�s was generous from the beginning, in opening her house as well as her heart, in her own unique way, to all three of us.  Looking back and putting myself in her place, this was pretty incredible.   My spending three summers with my father, step-mom and of course Kathie, my very welcoming step-sister while doing summer jobs during my undergrad days started that thaw, helped by the small things like her famous and best-in-the-world bread and butter pickles�those were amazing.  My brother, Glenn, whose turbulent life Doris opened herself to, also sheltered under her roof which helped him get a new start in life, learning a new trade.  He recalls her always greeting him after a day�s work, showing interest in his life and giving him words of encouragement.  Her admonishments to never give up made a difference for him and set the stage for a maturing and a measure of warmth to a relationship that lasted for all three of us until the present�. So, after a shaky start, we overcame the proverbial �step� stereotype.   

Having lived under the same roof with two older male sibs, Maryann rejoiced at this newfound circle of female companions in both Doris and Kathie, forging a new life�s path together.   Through her own life�s ups and downs beyond adolescence, including college, marriage, kids, divorce, remarriage and grandkids, Doris was there for Maryann, to listen, to laugh and cry with, as was Kathie.  

Doris is rather famous for her volunteer work, her time at the Senior Center, and her expertise in harvesting treasures from garage and estate sales and refurbishing  them�. Anyone needing a tape measure, BTW, talk to Kathie.   She seemed to have quite a collection of them, we discovered.  Garage sailing was a huge bonding factor for Maryann, who enjoyed trips out into the country with Doris, looking for finds and bringing home the loot.  Doris would also follow up on Maryann�s own creative projects (my sister is a world class quilter, among her other skills).  She always expressed interest in the details and offering suggestions.  

Doris�s step grandchildren also appreciated their Grandma, Elijah enjoying her visits and her interest in their lives, her presence at he and Annie�s wedding .  Joey loved her smile and her laugh.  Kipp recalls corn dogs as a kid and real conversations as an adult, full of candor and often affectionate disagreement.  He also appreciated her warmth to his spouse, Seon.   Sam and Alexa have their moments of fondness as well.

But we, the step family, have all resided mostly on the other coast, thousands of miles distant, or else across oceans.  Nonetheless, there has always been the telephone.  Maryann recalls regular phone conversations, minimum length of 90 minutes, containing both laughter and tears.  Joan and I also checked in regularly, enjoying her humor, her victories, such as those over lymphoma, as well as her frustrations with the inevitabilities of physical decline.   The web of family bonds was extremely important to her.

Doris was a glamorous, photogenic, and high class lady, highly opinionated, but with a warm heart and a great sense of humor.  You always knew where you stood with her.  Her caregivers at both the Asbury and Wilson facilities testified to their fondness and shared their sense of loss, when we visited last Thursday.  

Of course, her passing marks or foreshadows our own inevitable passing�part of our meditation in times like this.   We miss her greatly. 

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