A Tribute to My Wife

By J. Kenneth Doty

(I have never given a complete, single talk dedicated to my wife, but on many occasions I have given brief tribute or compliments to her. I have often given recognition to her for her support of me and for her influence on our children. I have tried to recapture these vignettes and compile them into this one complete tribute to her. As of this writing we have been married 55 years)

There is a popular song that goes: “How do I begin to tell the story of how great a love can be?” This is a good picture of my feelings when I attempt to describe the influence that Corinne Andrus Doty has had on me, my life, and the lives of our children and grandchildren.

I once served with a Temple President who used to love to joke to young couples coming to the temple to be married. He would like to say to the groom, “Well, I can see that you have married above your station.”

I have known from the outset that Corinne was and is my superior in many important ways. In retrospect, her expectations of her husband rising to hers has been the greatest event in my life. I can only say that it pays the greatest of life’s dividends to marry well! And I married very well!

I first saw Corinne at the Ucon Ward Sunday School in the fall of 1947. She was playing the piano. And she was certainly most beautiful and lovely to look at. That was the beginning of my “‘great love.”

I quickly learned that she was not only good looking, but that she was very talented, very smart, and very dedicated to the Church and its standards. When I asked her to marry me, she immediately placed an important condition on the question of marriage. “Will it be in the temple?” she said.

Now, at that time I was not real active in the Church, nor had I been over the last 3-4 years. Three years in the Navy during WWII and a year of work in the oil fields of Wyoming had led me to little church attendance. But knowing the importance of the marriage I now wanted, I went to work on qualifying for a temple recommend. When I could say yes to her question, then she said yes to mine. We were married June 10, 1947 in the Idaho Falls Temple.

It was with her encouragement and assistance that I completed my college studies, even while bearing our first three children. She never hesitated to go where I went or to allow me to work where I wished to work. But she did assume that we would go to church and accept callings to serve in the church. When I was called to be the Sunday School chorister I was terrified and suggested to Corinne that I couldn’t do it. She simply showed me how it was done. She encouraged my study of vocal music and quickly assumed the role of my accompanist. She has always ben and still is my partner in my music – our music – and we have made beautiful music together.

Her talents are many. Music of course. She has always had time to play the piano and the organ (which she taught herself to play) and to accompany many soloists, choirs, and other singing groups. Her knowledge of the LDS Hymns is phenomenal and inspirational. In addition, she has accepted calls to serve in many church positions: Teacher, counselor in the Primary and Young Women’s organizations, and organist, both in ward and stake callings. She served for five years as ward Relief Society President. And, while serving there, she always went to Girls’ Camp in spite of her lack of enthusiasm for camping.

On three occasions I had the greatest of all experiences: to serve with her in church callings. First we were “volunteers” in the church social services programs, particularly with the un-wed mothers in our stake, which we did for four years. Then, after becoming a sealer in the temple, I was called to be the supervisor of the Sealing Department in the temple. Corinne worked with me as the coordinator of that department. We did that for five years. We also served as co-directors of the stake family history center. That went for four years.

She was always seeking for ways to magnify our callings, to do more, to do better, to do it well and if possible, to do it faster. What great blessings this created for me.

She never hesitated to support me when callings came to me. I soon learned that she would accept and support anything the Lord wanted me, or us, to do. And she expected me to perform well in those callings.

Six children have graced our lives. A girl, we named Linda; then four boys, Mike, Steve, Todd, and Kevin; and another girl, Lori Ann. At their mother’s example and expectations, they have all become good people: good parents, good citizens, good members of our church and willing to serve in the work of the church.

Cleanliness, order, and appearance have always been important in her life and so it became important in mine and the family’s. The house was to be kept clean and orderly (as orderly as it could be with six children about). She also felt the same way about the outside of the house and the yard. She insisted upon neat and clean clothing and that it should be appropriate to the occasion. The children had school clothes, church clothes, and play clothes, and she would never allow improper substitution.

Education was always important. Books abound in our home and reading is a common hobby to the both of us. Her children learned to read at her knee even before public school. She was involved in their learning at all levels: at home, at school, and at church.

When the boys began to show interest in sports, especially football, Corinne said she didn’t know much about the game. But she learned and cheered at every game they played in. Her daughters became cheer leaders, and since she had once done the same thing in her high school, she was excited and never missed one of their performances.

One incident that reflects the influence Corinne had on her children is summarized in the following story. Our youngest son, Kevin, serving as a bishop in the Bothel 2nd Ward, was interviewed by visiting general authorities in connection with a pending change of the Stake President in the Bothel Washington Stake. When he was introduced as Bishop Doty to these two Seventies from the Area Presidency, their response went something like this: “Doty? Last week we were in the Tualitin Oregon Stake south of Portland where we met a President Doty and mid week we were in a committee meeting with a President Doty from the Portland Oregon East Stake. Would they be related to you?” Keven responded by simply saying, “They’re my brothers.” The elders looked at him for a moment and then said, “Tell us about your mother.” Kevin, in relating this incident, said he was not prepared for that question but quickly stated, “She’s a saint.”

Faithfulness, fidelity, and loyalty are the outstanding virtues of her life. She is the epitome of the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31:10-31, from which I quote selected portions that fit her:

Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She worth willingly with her hands…she riseth early and giveth meat unto her household.
She stretcheth out her hands to the poor and the needy.
Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but she excellest them all.
A woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised… and let her own works praise her in the gates.

These attributes describe my wife, Corinne, perfectly and I consider myself the most fortunate man in the world to have had the privilege to have her as friend, partner, and exemplar for most of my life.

My greatest appreciation is for her willingness to accept me with all my frailties, faults, and failings; and to know that she still loves me and supports me. She is my best friend.

I have kneeled with her in prayer and heard her pray. Sometimes with tears in her eyes and sobs in her voice. She talks with God as if He were very near. And I feel that He is near when she prays; for her children, for her grandchildren, and for her great grandchildren. Praying for their health, for their success, and that they will always stay close to and be involved in the Gospel.

Her deep and abiding faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, indeed mark her as one of the saints. It is my constant prayer and continual labor to become worthy to live with her throughout all eternity.

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