Doris Braaten, 83, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family after a long battle with cancer.  She went to dance with the love of her life, Craig, in heaven, on February 24th, 2020.  She was born on December 21, 1936 to Robert Blair and Lucile O’Daniel in St. Louis, MO. She was the oldest of 10 kids.  She loved and cherished all of her brothers and sisters as well as her many nieces and nephews.

Doris met Craig in Amarillo, TX while he was stationed there in the Air Force.  They were married July 16, 1954 in Sidney, MT and would have celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary this year.  Craig served in the military for 21 years. She loved being a military wife.  They had five children and adopted one grandchild; Gerald Dean, Cheryle Diane, Crist Jerome, Connie Sue, Kathreen Lynn and Christina Michelle.  She was a strong fierce mother, primarily raising their young children on her own while Craig was stationed all over the world during the Vietnam War. A few of the wonderful places she enjoyed in the service were Okinawa and Hawaii. They were stationed all over the states, but her favorite was when they were stationed in Mountain Home, ID.

When Craig retired in 1973, they decided to settle in Billings, MT. Here, Doris became very involved in the community.  She joined the Big Sky Optimist Club where she made many friends. She lived her life by the Optimist Creed. With the Optimist Club, she volunteered many hours involved in the “Just Say No” program at Washington Elementary School, helped at the Special Needs camp and the horse-riding program, and baking for the Boys and Girls Club fund raisers. She volunteered at Deaconess Billings Clinic for 26 years.  They loved entertaining friends and family with their BBQs and hosting holiday dinners. They were very proud of their family and enjoyed spending time with all their grandchildren.

In her later years, she and Craig were able to do some traveling to visit many friends that they gained from their years in the service.  They made trips to Hawaii with family, to the west coast to camp on the ocean, trips to Texas to see Doris’ large extended family, as well as many family reunions all over the states.  They both enjoyed weekly Pinochle dates at the VFW and with close friends. She was a fabulous cook and an even better baker.  Her love and kindness was shown to everyone that walked through the front door and they were always fed well.  Friends to Craig and Doris weren’t just friends, they are family. Her legacy will continue on; however, we have some very large shoes to fill. We love you and miss you and grandpa so much.

She is preceded in death by her husband Craig, her son Crist, her grandson Nathan, her sisters Judy and Betty Lou, her brothers Lonny and Jerry, and her nephew Dane.

She is survived by her children Gerald Dean (Faye), Cheryle Diane (Ernie), Connie Sue, Kathreen Lynn (Villa), and Christina Michelle (Jerel); 29 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great-granddaughter; sisters Sandy, Wanell, Mary and brothers Bill (Robin) and Dan; in-laws Bonnie and Rex Lewis, Claudia Stevens; and many nephews and nieces.

Funeral Service will be held on March 2nd, 2020 at 11 am at Atonement Lutheran Church, with an inurnment service at 2 pm at Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel, MT.

Heights Family Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.