Doris Browning Depp, 88, long time resident of Columbia, Kentucky left this earthly life on April 28, 2020, surrounded by the love of her family and the presence of a loving God who welcomed her home. Doris lived a full life as a beloved daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and friend who left a lasting impact on her family and community through her love, dedication, and service.
Her life was defined by her faith, family and community. Born on July 26, 1931 in Columbia, she was raised in a Christian home and was baptized into the Columbia Baptist Church in her youth. She lived her life with an unwavering understanding of the right way to do things and was quick to express her opinion when any situation wandered from that clear path — even if it were an instance of an incorrect verb tense or a dangling preposition, as her children will attest. She lived with uncompromising standards grounded in her faith and values, as she strived to live a principled life.
Through service to neighbors, students, family, and friends and by consistently putting the needs of others above her own, Doris quietly and visibly expressed a faith that was foundational to her life.
True to her upbringing as an authentic Kentucky girl, Doris had a fondness for horses that led her to the love of her life, Phil, through their shared interest in saddlebred horses. A chance meeting at a horse show led to a life together spanning forty-one years. Twenty-five years her senior and symbolic of her determination to live life on her own terms, Phil provided her with a lifetime of love and companionship. They married in 1965 and welcomed three children into the world who would become the center of their lives. Her unconditional support paired with her motivation to maximize the gifts with which they were blessed, enabled them to build meaningful lives with the comfort of knowing they were deeply loved and supported by her. Over the course of their long union, Doris and Phil watched as their kids found love, built families and experienced life. She enjoyed the blessings of six grandchildren, Josh, Madi, Sidney, Easton, Sawyer and Davis, who knew them lovingly as DeeDee and Pa Phil. In 2006, Phil left this world at age 99 with Doris by his side having cared for him to the very end, with a sense of duty that characterized her life. Her family moved her to Louisville, Kentucky and then to Avon, Indiana so she could be the recipient of the love and care she provided to others throughout her life.
Doris spent the majority of her life in Columbia, Kentucky which she lovingly referred to as “home”. Columbia was the place where family, friends, neighbors and community became central to her existence. After receiving degrees from Georgetown College, and subsequently the University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University, she invested thirty-seven years in a teaching career at Adair County High School that influenced the lives of hundreds of students. Her family was repeatedly blessed by strangers who, upon learning they were her children, shared that Mrs. Depp was their favorite teacher — usually followed by an unexpected anecdote of zaniness or caring that was consistent with her identity as a dedicated educator. She was known to rule her classroom with a high expectation of discipline and a surprisingly humorous personality that allowed her to connect with students from any background. She believed in the value of education and inspired her students to aim high. Her commitment and support for the Adair County band program spanned decades and was grounded in her belief that the arts are central to a well-rounded education.
Her sense of duty to family and community extended to her oversight of the Haven Hill Cemetery where she strived to maintain a beautiful setting for neighbors whose family members had passed. She labored for hours outside of her teaching career to personally maintain and later manage the upkeep of the cemetery. Her empathy and service to grieving families in consulting with them on the purchase of burial plots and memorial stones was consistent with her dedication to the community. Her love and connection to the local farming community was evident as she continued to oversee the management of her deceased father’s and husband’s farms as long as she possibly could. Columbia was the background of her existence and her loving friends and neighbors were adored by her.
Doris was preceded in death by her husband Philip “Pa Phil” Ray Depp, mother Margaret “Mimi” Cundiff Browning, and father Frank “Pop” Pierce Browning.
She is survived by her three children and their spouses, Philip Browning Depp and Virginia Lane Depp, Robert William Depp and Ansley Howell Depp, Dona Depp Wright and Kent Wright; and six grandchildren Joshua Lane Depp, Madison Ann Depp, Sidney Rae Depp, Easton Bradford Depp, Sawyer Browning Depp and Davis Browning Smith.
Doris’s life and love were gifts to her family and while they grieve their loss, they honor the blessing of her life. A private family service is scheduled. The family will extend an invitation to the community for a celebration of her life in the near future.
Grissom-Martin Funeral Home in charge of arrangements www.grissommartin.com