Olivet mourns the loss of Doris Cheeseman, Friend and Supporter.

Olivet Nazarene University mourns loss of dear friend and longtime supporter.
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Brian Parker

November 3, 2023 Alumni & Friends

The Olivet Nazarene University family joins with President Emeritus Dr. John and Jill Bowling in mourning the loss of Jill’s mother Doris Cheeseman, dear friend of and longtime supporter of Olivet. The generosity and kindness of Doris and John Cheeseman for the past decades have been an enormous blessing and encouragement to the entire ONU community, especially our students.

We celebrate the life and influence of Doris Cheeseman, we recognize her “life well-lived” and pray for her family during these days.

Picture of Doris Cheeseman

Doris Marie Cheeseman, 97, a native of Fort Recovery, Ohio, passed away Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, at Swiss Village in Berne. She was born Sep. 2, 1926, literally in a log house on the Ohio side of the Ohio\Indiana State Line Road to the late Walter and Helen (Willmann) Hildbold.

Preceding her in death was her husband of 55 years, John R. Cheeseman, a native of Portersville, Pennsylvania and a WWII Marine veteran. Also preceding her was her sister, Carolyn Hildbold Denney (Jess) and a son, Max Cheeseman, who passed away in 2019.

She is survived by her daughter, Jill Cheeseman Bowling, and Jill’s husband John. They reside in Michigan. Also surviving is her daughter-in-law, Denice (Lennartz) Cheeseman of Fort Recovery; and step-grandchildren, Michelle Reichert and husband Ashley of Fountaintown; Elizabeth DeWitt and husband Shawn of Urbana, Ohio; Kurt Theurer and wife Mary of Portland; step great-grandchildren, Jackson, Jenna and Claire DeWitt; and Abraham, Nora and Hank Theurer; and two nieces, Phyllis Denney Strohl and husband Tom of Indianapolis and Naples, Florida; Patricia Denney of Fort Wayne. Additionally, there are numerous Cheeseman nieces, nephews and their children, many still in the Portersville, Pennsylvania area.

Doris graduated from Fort Recovery High School in 1944, where she was a member of the band, senior class secretary and loved her roles in the junior and senior class plays. She kept in touch with high school classmates and enjoyed attending Fort Recovery High School alumni and class reunions. Following high school, she enrolled in Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where her mother had attended in 1916. She often recalled being “dropped off at the sidewalk of Hepburn Hall” by her parents. She loved her days at Miami where she was a member of  Zeta Tau Alpha.
On Feb. 4, 1944, during an unpredicted snowstorm, she married John Cheeseman at the home of her parents. Her maid of honor was her sister, Carolyn. The best man was to be John’s brother, George Cheeseman, however due to the storm, George could not arrive in time for the ceremony, so the honors were done by Jess Denney, who would soon marry Doris’s sister, Carolyn. The newspaper account of the wedding reported 65 guests in attendance. The next morning, the newlyweds left in a borrowed car pulling a 15’ house trailer, driving to Longview, Texas, where John enrolled as a student on the GI bill at LeTourneau College.

John had loved trucks since the age of six when he would sit on the lap of his 16-year-old brother, Charles, and “help” Charles drive the milk route in Portersville. Thus began the life-long business — John Cheeseman Trucking, Inc. — of which Doris was an integral part.

In addition to helping with the trucking business, she was a public school teacher beginning her career at Noble School in Jay County in 1956. Later, she taught in the elementary schools of both Fort Recovery and St. Henry. In the early ‘70s, she was a teacher at the Cheryl Ann School in Celina, Ohio.

She loved to travel even if it was just a ride on a Sunday afternoon or perhaps driving a van of freight to deliver in Wisconsin. She often traveled on bus tours or train trips. This adventuresome side was perhaps the reason she entered a Mercer County pie baking contest where she won first prize for her first and only ever strawberry rhubarb pie. For a time, she wrote a column for the Celina Daily Standard under the pen name of Martha White, a brand of self-rising flour.

While her children were young, she was very involved in teaching children’s Sunday school at the Church of the Nazarene and community vacation Bible school, both in Fort Recovery.
A fourth generation Fort Recovery resident, she was a community supporter of many projects including the Fort Recovery Historical Society and the Friends of the Opera. For a time, she served on Fort Recovery’s Town Council and was also on the Crippled Children’s Board of Mercer County.

She established scholarships at Fort Recovery High School, Miami University and Olivet Nazarene University. Her legacy of generosity will continue for generations.
Family will gather for a graveside service in the near future.

Anyone wishing to remember her may do so with a contribution to Fort Recovery Historical Society, PO Box 533, Fort Recovery, Ohio 45846; The John and Doris Cheeseman FRHS Scholarship in care of the Fort Recovery Foundation, PO Box 52, Fort Recovery, Ohio 45846; The Doris and John Cheeseman Scholarship at Olivet Nazarene University, One University Avenue, Bourbonnais, Illinois 60914; or The Portersville Presbyterian Church, 1297 Perry Highway, Portersville, Pennsylvania 16051.

The family would like to thank the wonderful nurses and staff at Swiss Village in Berne who cared for her like family.

Arrangements provided by Brockman Boeckman Funeral Home in Fort Recovery, Ohio. Online condolences may be shared with the family by visiting www.brockmanboeckmanfh.com.

-Content originated at bernewitness.com-

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Brian Parker

Brian Parker ’94, EdD ’11, lives in New York City and is a Partner and Managing Director with 989Group.

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