Doris (Otto) Embry

May 11, 1922 ~ July 28, 2021 (age 99)


Doris Embry 1922-2021

Longtime Brown County resident Doris Embry died in her home Wednesday morning, July 28. She was 99. Doris was a link between the old Nashville and the new. Nashville was both a haven and a community for her.

Her life had two chapters: before and after moving to Nashville. After growing up on the south side of Indianapolis where her parents ran a gas station, she lived in the Irvington neighborhood where she raised her four children. Her grandparents were from Brown County and her favorite Aunt lived here, and as a child she spent summers here. In 1969 at age 47 she was able to move here and begin the second part of her life.

Doris always worked; her jobs enabled her to live with the independence that was so important to her. During WWII she was secretary to a commander at the military base in Riverside, California, where her husband was stationed. Returning to Indianapolis after the war she worked at Harbor Lumber Company. At various times she was a flower arranger, dress designer, and tailor. She worked for the radio/television station WFBM where she was responsible for programming all the advertisements on the air. She was good at keeping track of the slots but was eventually replaced when the station computerized.  Management thought that at 46 she was too old to learn to use a computer but it ended up taking four people to do what she did with a typewriter.

When she moved to Nashville, she first worked at IU and after a few years was able to move from her apartment on Artist Drive and buy a home of her own. She pooled with three others and bought a building downtown on W. Main St. where she opened the Bittersweet boutique (in the location currently occupied by Brozinni’s).

Her last jobs, which she held from age 67 to 87, were in the patient admission and accounting departments at Bloomington Hospital. It turned out she could operate a computer after all. In many ways these were her best and most rewarding jobs because she was so valued and respected by the people she worked with.

The common thread in her life was her devotion to art and music. She was known as an artist specializing in watercolors and pencil drawings but her contributions went beyond her own work. She understood that art and music could bring people together. She believed that they touched something inside us and helped us see the world in a better way. That’s why she didn’t have a favorite genre of music. From Frank Sinatra to Frank Jones, if it made you tap your feet and snap your fingers it was her kind of music.

She was a member of several local arts organizations including the Brown County Art Guild, Brown County Art Gallery, Brown County Artisans, and Indiana Heritage Arts, which was notable for including the arts broadly speaking. In addition to her work with these organizations, Doris constantly supported local musicians, artists, and businesses. Her favorite hangouts included the Muddy Boots Café, the Fig Tree, Frank and Kim Jones’ restaurant, and more recently the Heavenly Biscuit, Common Grounds, and the Bird’s Nest Café but the fact is she patronized and supported just about every restaurant and music venue in the area. She didn’t just go to these places; she was part of their culture and if needed she would bus tables and help out! Her normal tip at places she liked was 50%.

True to the spirit of Brown County she was there for people with support or consolation. “It will get better,” she often said.

Doris had the original social network and was on the go all the time. No account of her life would be complete without mentioning that she loved to drive. She knew every road in the county and always had a shortcut. As her vision declined, people learned to get out of her way!

Doris was preceded in death by her son, Ross, and is survived by her children Jeanne (Josh), Bruce (Laurie), and Annette, daughter-in-law Marika, seven grandchildren, and thirteen great-grandchildren. She never forgot a birthday or graduation and her grandchildren especially loved her hand-drawn cards and carefully wrapped packages. As one of her grandchildren said, “She was so good at making everything feel special with her imagination and creativity. I think about her lime tree with the plastic limes on it on the back deck all the time. It’s honestly my number one inspiration.”

Doris never regretted her decision to move to Nashville. She loved the town and its people. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes the support of a community to see people through to life’s end. She helped countless people in the community and countless people helped her stay active and engaged. As her health declined, the help of friends and neighbors made it possible to fulfil her wish to live and die at home.

A celebration of her life will take place at the Fig Tree: 4865 Helmsburg Rd. in Nashville, on Saturday, August 14 between 1:00 and 4:00.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Meredith-Clark Funeral Home Cremation & Personalization Center in Morgantown. Expressions of caring and kindness can be made to the family at


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