Back in the Auction’s early days, there was no sign-up sheet for volunteers; they did what was needed in any given moment, according to longtime supporter Ed Darling. He says the late Doris Makely specialized at doing that—and more—without ever being asked.
“Whether it was getting food, keeping the room tidy, greeting visitors, making phone calls for more items—whatever needed doing,” Ed says. “Whether you asked for her help, or she overheard that you needed help, she did it. That’s the kind of person she was.”
A bundle of energy, Doris also had an ability to sense when other volunteers were frustrated or running low on energy. “She’d give them a hug and tell them a joke and snap them back into it,” Ed recalls.
Before she passed away in 2012, Doris was a tireless Auction volunteer for roughly a quarter of a century. An employee of Lakes Region General Hospital in her later years, Doris was also a city councilor in the early 1990s, and she was active in the Democratic Party, hosting Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter and Gary and Lee Hart at her home during their campaign bids.
She got involved with the Auction in its fourth year because she was an activist for children. “She knew a lot of people in the community, and she also knew a lot of the people in need, so she was able to help us if somebody made a contribution,” Ed says. “She knew who could benefit from it. She was an important source of information.”
In 2012 and 2013, the Doris Makely Sharing Smiles Scholarship was presented to a high school graduate in the Lakes Region. In honor of the infectious smile Doris was known for, and her do-anything attitude, the scholarship was given to a young person who exudes exemplary giving of time, energy and charisma to the fine art of volunteering.
Paul Daisy met Doris the first year he volunteered for the Auction, in its early days. Doris was his contact on the Auction floor. “She was in charge of the input area, and when I went and talked to her, she said ‘Hey, can you do this?’” Paul remembers. That’s how he began collecting Auction items from donors at the event and carrying them to the station where the data on the gift was imported and organized.
“Over the years, I stayed in that same area, which Doris was responsible for, and I had lots of experiences with her,” Paul adds, noting that in that area, volunteers filled out forms on each object’s description, and when an item was purchased, they’d call the high-bidder and make pick-up arrangements.
Doris also helped with new volunteers. “She was supportive, laughed off mistakes—an all-around good person,” Paul says. “I can’t say enough about her personality and how it contributed to the upbeat feel of the auction.
Paul and his wife, Gwen, became friendly with Doris over the years, and they had occasion to interact off the Auction floor. Paul remembers that even in trying situations, such as when Doris and Gwen were both battling cancer, Doris could employ her sense of humor to diffuse a situation.
“That sense of humor in the face of difficulty was classic Doris. She was very upbeat,” Paul says.
During the lunch break at the Auction, volunteers tended to leave to get something to eat. Because some volunteers were needed to assist bidders who were picking up their items on their own lunch breaks, Doris always stayed put.
“She was always there,” Paul says. “She was a good, good, good person. A happy person.”