Cover photo for Doris Helen "Doris Hellen Rinell' - Brown's Obituary
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Doris Helen "Doris Hellen Rinell' - Brown

d. June 11, 2022

Doris Hellen Rinell (a.k.a, Holmquist, Brown) passed away on Saturday 11 June 2022 from natural causes at 93 years of age.

Doris was born in Qingdao, China and along with her brother Roy raised in the town of Jiaozhou, Shandong province. As a child she spoke Mandarin Chinese, Swedish and English.

Doris’ parents (Oscar and Hellen Rinell) and grandparents (Johan Alfred and Hedvig) were Swedish missionaries to China who along with their fellow Swedish missionaries built churches, medical clinics, schools and assisted in disaster relief in Shandong province.

During the three generations the family dwelt in China they lived through the Boxer Rebellion, the first and second Japanese invasions, a time of warlords, and fighting between the Nationalist and communist Chinese armies.

Every week during the second Japanese occupation Doris took a train from Jiaozhou to Qingdao to take lessons from her Swiss piano teacher. Passenger trains were not available during the war. Along with other passengers she rode in freight cars. Japanese soldiers sometimes rode the same train. The soldiers were fascinated with Doris’ golden blond hair and blue eyes.

In 1944 when Doris was sixteen years of age she began nurses training at Faber Krankenhaus, a German hospital, in Qingdao. WWII ended the following year. Not long afterward thousands of American marines and sailors arrived in Qingdao to oversee the repatriation of Japanese troops to Japan and fill the power vacuum left by their departure. Doris dated some of these Americans.

In 1946 at seventeen years of age Doris took a ship to Sweden to attend nurses training at the Red Cross School of Nursing in Stockholm. Nurses training ended abruptly when Doris contracted polio. After some months she recovered her health.

While in Sweden a marine she dated in Qingdao contacted her. One thing led to another, she took a ship to the U.S.A. and they were married in Chicago. Doris completed her nurses training in the U.S. becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) and later a Register Nurse (RN). During her long nursing career she worked in obstetrics, an Intense Care Unit (ICU), a Critical Care Unit (CCU), was an Emergency Room (ER) supervisor, and a Director of Nurses in a convalescent hospital.

Doris’ interests and activities were far ranging. When a student nurse in Sweden she was director of a string band in her church in which she also played the guitar. She played the piano and organ in churches and other gatherings throughout her life. She sang in choirs and harmonized beautifully. She was a traditional Chinese scroll painter, and painted in oil scenes of Sweden and China. She enjoyed cooking Chinese food (her specialty was gao-zi), and preparing a smorgasbord during Easter and Christmas. She loved the ocean and ships that sailed on them. She dearly loved her family and friends. She was loving, supportive, and loved to laugh.

Doris is survived by her four children Lennart (+Jill), Meilynn (+Steve), Carey (+Holly), and Carolynn, her grandchildren Josh (+ Jennifer), Jeremy (+ Jenifer), Kristofer, Davy (+Rayna), and Nicky, (her grandchild, Krysta, had passed away from leukemia), her great-grandchildren Liam, Ethan, Savannah, Mac, Hudson, Niklas, Emily, Evan and Serenity, her cousins Alice, John, Margie, John Eric (+Nancy), and Olle (+) and other dear family members including Elaine, Lynette, Don, Gene, Phylis, Eric, Laura, Megan, Steve, Ron, Kristina, Kevin, Ralph and Annli.

Doris, a.k.a, Mom, momo, mormor, farmor, Dollan, Dodo, Deedo, brought light and life into our world. She will be terribly missed.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Doris Helen "Doris Hellen Rinell' - Brown, please visit our flower store.


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