Topic: Doris Myrtle Williams (1923-2003)

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Doris Myrtle Williams was my grandfather's second wife's sister, but always known to me as Aunty Do [pronounced Dough] - Debbie McCauley (2012).

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Doris Myrtle Williams was born on 16 December 1923. She was struck down by polio and unable to walk for the first thirteen years of her life. Doris was taught to walk by Australian 'bush nurse' Sister Elizabeth Kenny (1880-1952) who had developed a radical new method of muscle rehabilitation to treat infantile paralysis; the Kenny Method.

In 1945 my newly widowed grandfather, Lennard John George McCauley, married his housekeeper Gladys Elsie Petchell (née Williams). Gladys was Doris's older sister who was born on 9 July 1921. After my grandfather died, Gladys remarried to a Mr Rush. Gladys Elsie Rush died on 13 July 2005.

Doris Myrtle Williams (1923-2003)

Aunty Do never married. She worked as a Karitane Nurse in Dunedin. In around 1972 she moved to Whakatane from Dunedin, working at the Whakatane Hospital and apparently helping out by taking me to kindergarten. She was also at the birth of my youngest sister, Karla. Aunty Do loved her roses and I remember that she owned an orange songbird and would always give me book-tokens on birthdays and for Christmas. One of her favourite pastimes was reading.

She drove a yellow Morris Minor 1000 or jelly-mould as we used to call it. Her nephew Lou adapted it with a hand throttle so she could drive it. When she was no longer able to drive she had an electric mobility scooter and lived in a council flat in Whakatane. Aunty Do was always well dressed and nicely spoken. 

Walking was difficult for her as she suffered from post-polio syndrome (PPS) which affects polio survivors in later years. She was a lovely woman and filled our ears with fantastic stories about her time cycling around the place as a Karitane Nurse.

Her father lost one arm during the war (most likely World War I). She also had a brother, Eric,  who used to work on the Auckland wharves.

Doris Myrtle Williams died from throat cancer on 1 May 2003 (reg. 2003/8962). She was buried in Taupo Public Cemetery.



Births, Deaths & Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Hunt, Vera & McCrystal, John (2011). Otiwhiti Station: The story of a hill county station and a pioneering polio hospital.

Ken McCauley (personal communication, 2013).

McCauley, Debbie (2012). The McCauley Family of Katikati, New Zealand: 1876-2012.

Zordia Mackie (personal communication, 2012).

this page was archived at perma cc February 2017

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Doris Myrtle Williams (1923-2003)

First Names:Doris Myrtle
Last Name:Williams
Date of Birth:16 December 1923
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:1 May 2003
Place of death:Taupo, New Zealand
Place of burial:Taupo Public Cemetery
Occupation:Karitane Nurse
Name of sibilings:Gladys Elsie Williams and Eric Williams