Doris Carolyn (Parrish) Kelso

Feb. 4, 1943 – Dec. 13, 2022

Doris Carolyn (Parrish) Kelso, 79, passed away on Dec. 13, 2022, in Basin, Wyo., after a long battle with Parkinson’s. She was born on Feb. 4, 1943, in Humboldt, Tenn., to Otis and Audie Mae Parrish. As an infant, she moved to Michigan, where her mom worked in a factory to support the war effort, first meeting Otis upon his return from World War II. Doris completed high school in Trenton, Mich., and attended Eastern Michigan University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in education and was a member of the American Association of University Women.  She later went on to receive master’s degrees in reading and administration. Doris was a voracious reader throughout her life and loved to learn. Even in her later years when her eyesight failed, she loved listening to audio books.

On Aug. 16, 1969, she married her best friend, Jim Kelso, in Chugwater, Wyo. They met in church when Doris came to visit Wyoming on a grand adventure, living in Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole, Wyo.  Doris and Jim were married for 53 years and had two children together, Matt and Julie Kelso. The family moved to many different places over the years, and she lived in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Arkansas before moving to the Big Horn Basin in 2007. She and Jim loved to explore and fish in the Big Horn Mountains.  She loved to read on these trips, but would sometimes agree to fish. For many years, she enjoyed spending the winters in Florida. She took her role as Nana very seriously and loved her two grandchildren, Carolyn and Otis, with her whole heart.

She loved being a teacher, and taught school in Rock Springs, Wyo., and Billings, Mont.  She was a stay-at-home mom for 20 years, and came back to education first as the director of agriculture in the classroom for 4-H clubs in western Nebraska, and then as a principal at Haig School in western Nebraska.  She transformed this K-8 country school, increasing enrollment from 35 to 85 students. Soon her school was the place to be, and a waiting list for town kids had to be developed. 

Doris was involved in church service and leadership throughout her life. She was director of a Christian Women’s Association, a member of the P.E.O., and a Bible school teacher. She and Jim served together as Directors of Senior Fellowship for their church in Nebraska, and together made sure every elderly church member felt loved and included. Parkinson’s took many things from Doris over the years, but it could never take her loving smile, her sparkling eyes and her adorable snort laugh. 

Doris was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Otis Leroy. She is survived by her husband, Jim Kelso of Basin, Wyo.; her two children, Julie (Cory) Kelso Heggem of Billings, Mont., and Matt (Shannon) Kelso of Charlotte, N.C.; and her sister, Elizabeth Parrish Williams of Austin, Texas. She is also survived by her two grandchildren, Carolyn (named after Doris) and Otis (named after Doris’s father) Kelso Heggem.

A memorial service was held on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Basin, led by Pastor Aaron Gesch. In lieu of flowers or memorials, a contribution can be made to a charity of your choice. Spreading of ashes and perhaps some fishing will take place in the spring somewhere near a mountain lake. Arrangements have been entrusted to Atwood Family Funeral Directors.