A legacy gift to Truman State University commemorates the life of Doris (Pierce) Fuller,
a Truman alumna who was committed to lifelong learning. “She was an amazing woman, never at rest,” said her son, Charles Fuller. A planned gift made by Doris was designated to the Truman Endowment Fund, a permanent resource designed to provide funds for a variety of purposes, including student scholarships, professional development for faculty and students, technology, equipment and other needs.
Born in Shelbina, Mo., Doris earned a bachelor of science degree in education from the University in 1934. She then taught for two years. In 1936, she married Arthur “Bud” Fuller, a country doctor who served the farming communities. Since her husband’s job took him away from home for days at a time, Doris became his medical assistant and midwife so they could travel together. In one year alone, they delivered more than 300 babies and took care of many broken bones and the occasional at-home surgery.
In addition to their son, Charles, Doris and Bud had a daughter, Johnna. In 1964, the family moved to Colorado Springs, Colo. Charles remembers his mother saying, “No point in living in Colorado if you don’t know how to ski,” and at the age of 55, Doris took up snow skiing.
Doris became a strong advocate of her husband’s osteopathic profession, professional women and seniors, and she served in both leadership and supportive roles in the Osteopathic Women’s Guild, Women’s Club, Acacia and AARP.
Since she never had a driver’s license, Doris took the local bus into town saying that it allowed her to ride with “real people.” She was a dedicated volunteer, and up until her mid-80s, she took the bus each week to serve food at a local charity. Doris also sewed on buttons for elderly ladies, many of whom were 20 years her junior.
An incident that occurred when Doris was 70 illustrates her tenacious spirit. One day when she and a friend were hiking in the high mountains on the south slope of Pikes Peak, Doris slipped and fractured her ankle. It was late in the afternoon, and the friend had to walk three miles to the car to seek help. When help finally arrived after dark, they found Doris had splinted her own leg, found a stick for support and was walking out on a compound fracture. She said, “I couldn’t stay up here overnight or I’d freeze to death.” Nearly three decades later, Doris died at the age of 98.
Doris believed in having fun and enjoying life to its fullest. By including a provision in her will to boost the Truman Endowment Fund, she has provided a resource that offers the gift of knowledge for future generations of Truman students.