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BIO: Kenneth M. Doane, President of the Doane Family Association of America, Inc.

October 9, 2012 Blog, Celebrities, Local, National Comments
Kenneth M. Doane

Kenneth M. Doane, of Vancouver, WA has spent all but seven years of his life in Washington State, a far cry from Plymouth where his ancestor Deacon John Doane landed in 1630.

Kenneth was the second child of Kenneth Irving and Nora O. Doane and grew up on Whiskey Ridge on the outskirts of Marysville, Washington.

“My interest in genealogy began at a very young age when I first attended grade school,” says Kenneth M. Doane. “The teacher asked the question, ‘where did your ancestors come from?’ My fellow first graders answered the question with England or Norway or Sweden (never a combination of the two), and a couple other places that I cannot remember. For me the answer was, ‘I do not know, but I will ask and tell you tomorrow.’”

That evening he got an answer, but it didn’t necessarily assuage his full curiosity.

“My parents laughed when I asked them where we came from. They told me, ‘Well, let us see, there is English, Scottish, Irish, Canadian, maybe Dutch, Italian, and there could be others also, so you should just tell them you are an American.’ So from then on, I was just an American.”

Doane is educated, married and raises family in Washington State
Ken-Doane_Wilma-Doane

President Kenneth M. Doane and First Lady Wilma,  Lummi Island, Whatcom County, 2011.

In 1952 Doane graduated from Marysville High School in Marysville, Wash., enrolled in Everett Community College in Everett Wash.,and met an elegant red-head in chemistry class – Wilma Armstrong, a graduate of Battle Ground High School, Battle Ground, Wash. Kenneth earned his A.A. degree, married Wilma in 1954, went on to study civil engineering at the University of Washington. After their first child was born, the couple moved to Vancouver, Wash. and two more children would follow. Doane was highly involved in his community participating in Jay-Cees and other volunteer groups and in 1968 he was awarded Vancouver Junior First Citizen of the Year for his many civic and church volunteer activities.

A few twists and turns took the family north to Bellingham, Wash., south into Oregon where they lived in Grants Pass, McMinnville, Warrenton and eventually Portland. In 1975, Kenneth M. Doane’s career brought him back to Vancouver where he became President and Manager of Land Title Company of Clark County, Washington. He was an avid member of the Rotary Club of Vancouver and served as President of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce. In 1999, he retired as the Clark County branch manager for Transnation Title Insurance Company.

That interest about where his family came from, however, never waned and he decided to pursue it wholeheartedlly. Doane’s research proved he was related to a 163- Plymouth Colony immigrant Deacon John Doane.

The Deacon has been a source of first class sleuthing and some head scratching for almost 150 years as many in the Doane family have sought to discover the origins of the man who established the present day family.

Non-profit started to formalize genealogy research

In fact, the Doane family is so serious about their research efforts that they began meeting as early as the mid-1800s, and although it was a friendly family picnic, of which pictures exist in the archives of Doane College, their mission has been a straight drive down a bumpy road of incredible discovery and dashed hopes as the family has, so far unsuccessfully, attempted to jump their genealogy over the Atlantic Ocean to England, where the Deacon is believed to have been born.

In July of this year, the family met for the 52nd time. Their biennial reunions are officially organized by a nonprofit, the Doane Family Association of Amercia, Inc., and usually occur in a venue that is of some significance to the Doane Family. Those venues are easily located as Doanes have had an impact on many places.

Doanes have established Doane College, Doane Academy, built Doane Trucks, invented Doan’s pills, created Doane Paper, held positions in government, news, entertainment, manufacturing, et. al., and always gathered around the family table – a picnic table in the summer for joyous – all across the country.

The picnic reunions grew into a nonprofit and today 965 members belong and contribute to the 501(c)(3) which administers two college scholarship funds. One fund awards educational dollars to descendants of Deacon John Doane, and the other is open to general students attending Doane College in Crete Nebraska – one of the top 50 Midwestern colleges as ranked by Forbes.com.

Doane Family Association chooses new leader

This year the ultimate historic reunion event took place in Plymouth, MA. The association provided historic tours of New England. Attendees visited Doane Rock – the largest ice-carried boulder on Cape Cod, wandered through the brush at the Deacon’s homestead, ate chowder, and elected a new president – Kenneth M. Doane.

What will Kenneth M. Doane do now that he’s running a national organization? Well, he’ll raise money to grow the college scholarship fund, publish a third volume in the family’s history, and administer the family’s DNA project, a joint program with Family Tree DNA.

“Through the DNA project, and other research that has become available online, we want to pursue the identification of Deacon John Doane’s parents who we believe came from England,” said President Kenneth M. Doane, still pursuing that first-grader’s interest in his family’s origins.

The Doane Family Association of America, Inc. is very inclusive, says Kenneth M. Doane. It welcomes those with surnames of Doane, Doan, Done, Donne, variations thereof, their spouses and descendants – as well as anyone interested in the family’s history which encompasses the notorious Doan Outlaws of Bucks County Pennsylvania which were featured on a segment of PBS’s History Detectives.

And that’s a (Saran™) wrap

The next national reunion will feature more historic tours, the latest on their genetic research, history presentations, family updates and lots of pictures. It will be held July 2014 in Michigan where the family will visit Dow Chemical and learn how a Doan brought Saran™ Wrap to life to keep our food fresh.

More information
National organization www.doanefamilyassociation.org

We’d like to tell your family’s story. Contact us to set up an interview, doanefamilyassociation@gmail.com.

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