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She started teaching career 70 years ago

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Longtime Manteca teacher Doris Landreth holds the finger puppets she used in kindergarten with her students at Lindberg Elementary School some 70 years ago.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin/

POSTED February 1, 2018 1:25 a.m.

Doris DuMoulin Landreth taught three generations of Manteca students.
The retired elementary school teacher — who taught at both the Lindbergh, Golden West, and Shasta campuses — was born in her parents’ home 90 years ago. They lived along South Main Street across from where the Walmart store is located today.
Ed and Jessie Dumoulin later moved to a home on South Lincoln Avenue near Moffat Boulevard with their four daughters. That’s where Doris’ mom and dad both worked as the local plumbers at a shop that would later be operated by Ed Pitts – a son-in-law who would eventually become the mayor of Manteca.
Doris’ sisters included Joann Woods, Mary Helen Pitts and Mildred Jean Fox.  Both Doris and Mary Helen wrote girls’ sports stories for the Manteca Bulletin during World War II.  Mildred served in the military as an Army nurse.
Doris still talks of her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Anna Simminger, who she said taught 38 students in her morning class and another 37 in the afternoon.  She said she was very impressed as a youngster with her persona and her use of songs in the classroom. Doris later used those same songs when she taught kindergarten
Manteca Elementary School District Superintendent Neil Hafley placed Doris in Marion Jacobson’s class at Lindbergh and moved her to Golden West School when it opened its doors.
“I told Mr. Hafley that I didn’t have a teacher’s credential and he said, well, he would see about that,” she remembered.  “I wanted to teach reading and passed the testing of a two-year course.  I knew how to do it and I loved teaching from the get-go.”
She also remembers teaching Head Start classes during summer school and was on board the initial year the program was offered in Manteca. Doris taught in Manteca schools along with serving as a reading specialist for more than three decades.
“They told me to get two teachers to teach kindergarten and I got Jim Brown and Dave Green.  I thought men teachers would be great for the Head Start Program,” she noted.  “Jim was a great Head Start teacher and would later become a very successful football coach at Manteca High and later at East Union.”
Head Start classes were limited to 15 students.
Delmer Derrick who would eventually become the principal at Shasta School was introduced into the kindergarten curriculum by Doris. She said he was among the new teachers added when she was the assistant principal at Shasta.
When Doris married Dale Landreth, it was Pat Murphy of the Manteca Bulletin who helped her get dressed.  Husband Dale was instrumental in the formation of the Manteca Fire Department. He had been its fire chief in those early years working with Sam Hanna who eventually became the department’s longest serving fire chief.
Doris and her husband lived for many years on South Powers Avenue near one of her sisters and near Sally Williams who served as the secretary at Shasta Elementary School.
She said the most challenging aspect of her position was the home visits associated with Head Start and kindergarten where she would have to go into the Manteca Hotel apartments at the corner of Yosemite Avenue and Sycamore Street in the downtown.
She said she would get her two sons to accompany her on her teacher home visits in the darkened hotel rooms where the children would scatter any time they saw police officers enter the hotel.
She remembers a family visit in recent years when now retired police chief Nick Obligacion and his wife Sallie and two daughters Ann Marie and Ariel walked into her retirement home on Louise Avenue to pay her a visit.  It was eight at night and one of the care givers rushed to her room and said “the police are here – you better get out of your night gown.”
Doris asked her if he had a woman with him – it was his wife Sallie and she told the caregiver it was alright, they are friends and they are “neat people.”
Doris and her husband had three children, Candyce, who had married the late Tom Murphy and later Steve Smally; Steve Landreth, owner and operator of Landreth Roofing in Ripon; and Tom Landreth, who has retired from Franzia Winery in Ripon on Highway 120.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email


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