Doris Riemann, matriarch of the well-known Riemann family of South Mississippi, died Friday. She was 95.
Riemann was born in 1921 in Ovett, a small logging community about 30 miles northeast of Hattiesburg. Her father, Chester Walker, was a country doctor, and she lost her mother, Ina Magnum Walker, when she was very young.
The Riemanns are best known for their family business, Riemann Family Funeral Home.
The loss of her mother prompted Riemann to fill the family’s matriarchal role. It was a role she managed quite well, her son Ted Riemann said.
Doris Riemann was an excellent caretaker who cooked, cleaned, kept up with the house and helped her father in raising her younger siblings.
Those siblings went on to do great things and hold successful careers. Her brother Fred Walker was both a doctor and a lawyer; brother C.A. Walker was a dentist; and brother Harry Walker — paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair most of his life — became chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, Ted Riemann said.
Ted Riemann said his mother was a very devout Christian and multi-talented artist with a passion for creating beautiful gardens.
“Her faith was her rock in life,” he said. “She was an artist, a painter, a good sculptor, and she really loved flowers and gardens and herbs and spices.”
Doris Riemann had a passion for gardening and designing gardens, for which she won many local and national awards.
Ted Riemann recalled a time when he was growing up and he watched how his mother tamed a wild fox into becoming a friendly and frequent visitor to the family’s back yard in Gulfport.
“For years, mother had a pet — or what was almost a pet — red fox,” he said. “Every morning, she’d put out raw eggs and sit in the garden and watch the fox come in and take the eggs.”
One thing she did not quite excel at, baking bread, has left a warm and funny impression on her son. He said his mother always forgot to remove the bread from the oven at the right time. The family ate it, nonetheless.
“When I was growing up, we had family meals at the dinner table,” Ted Riemann said. “For some reason, she would always burn the bread, so I developed a taste for burnt bread and burnt toast.”
His acquired taste followed him into adulthood. He now prefers his mother’s recipe for bread — burnt.
“To this day, I still eat burnt toast every morning,” he said, laughing.
The funeral service at 1:30 p.m. Mondaywill be at Gulfport’s Trinity United Methodist Church, with a visitation for family and friends from noon until the service. Burial will follow at Floral Hills Memorial Gardens in Gulfport.
Riemann Family Funeral Homes in Gulfport is in charge of arrangements.