Doris Corbett

Doris Ellen (Knopps) Corbett, 90, formerly of Staples, passed away March 24, 2020, at Good Shepherd Community in Sauk Rapids.

Doris was born on July 24, 1929, to Jane (Styer) and Louis Knopps in Menomonie, Wisconsin.  She was raised on a large farm outside Menomonie and, as the oldest of three daughters, was her dad’s “right hand man”.  She attended college to become a teacher but, after only one year, returned to help out at the farm when her dad got sick.

She joined Capital Airlines as a flight attendant, a calling she dearly loved and reminisced about often. While with the airlines, she met Harold Corbett at a gathering of young adult Catholics. She and “Hap“ were married on December 27, 1958. They moved to Staples after their first baby was born and Doris stayed home to raise their children.  In 1973, when her youngest of eight children started kindergarten, she began working half days at Staples High School, which became full days when he started first grade. She worked in many different areas of the school, including as a teacher’s aide, a lunchroom supervisor, and assistant in the counseling office and enjoyed every minute of every day. She was honored in 1987 with the Outstanding Layperson in Education Award.  In later years, one of her favorite places to work was the Freshwater Area Learning Center and in 2004 was asked by staff and students to give the commencement address at their graduation ceremony. In 2006, at the age of 77, she studied for and passed the paraprofessional certification exam, getting one of the highest scores in the area.

Doris was very adept at managing her household, which was especially challenging when Hap would be on the road for work. A typical winter school morning started with Doris waking at 5:00 a.m. to put wood in the furnace, making breakfast and packing cold lunches tailored to each one of her kids’ liking, going to work, then preparing dinner when the school day was done. Somehow, she fit getting a load or two of laundry in. She seldom missed any of her children’s sporting events or concerts as she so thoroughly enjoyed them. On weekends and in the summer, it was not unheard of for people who lived south of town to drop a kid or two off with Doris as they went into town to shop. Doris was able to manage eight kids, what could it hurt to add a few more for an hour or two. Doris preferred working outside, doing most any farm-like work possible, including gardening, roofing, various construction or carpentry projects, cutting/hauling/splitting/stacking firewood, to name a few. 

She was an incredible grandmother (and great-grandmother) always making time to engage with her grandchildren. Whether playing games, camping, watching their activities, or even having a sleep-over in the camper, she showed her grandchildren how much she loved them by her actions. A special treat they all loved were her pancakes, made from scratch with no written recipe.

Doris was a very faith-filled, patient, loving and caring person who put others before herself and always tried to see the best in people. She was dearly loved and will be missed.

She is survived by eight  children, Kevin (Sally) of Detroit Lakes, Ken of Woodbury, Fran (Terry) of Medfield, MA, Colleen (John) Lawson of Lott, TX, Phil (Kelly) of Sartell, Tim (Bridget) of Pierz, Cella (Bob) Johnson of Sacred Heart and Charlie (Jen) Corbett of Brooklyn Park; one sister Phyllis Miller of Fitchburg, WI; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Doris is preceded in death by her husband, Harold (Hap); parents; one sister, Lila Spindler; granddaughter, Mary Doris Corbett; great-granddaughter Charlotte Marie Johnson  and brothers-in-law, Charlie Spindler and Clarence Miller.

Funeral services for Doris will be held at a later date. The family prefers memorials to the Good Shepherd Community, 1115 4th Avenue North, Sauk Rapids, MN, 56739.

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Staples World

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100 Staples, MN 56479 Telephone: (218) 894-1112 - Fax: (218) 894-3570 Toll Free: 1-888-894-1112 E Mail:

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