Doris Wilson was born in Smithfield, North Carolina, on August 28, 1920. She graduated from high school in Burgaw, North Carolina, in 1937, and for eighteen months worked jobs through the National Youth Administration. She then attended business school in Wilmington, North Carolina, and worked at the Cape Fear Hotel. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Wilson began volunteering in the message center of the filter center in Wilmington.
Wilson enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) in July of 1942, and was inducted at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in October. She completed basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and returned to the filter center in Wilmington, where she trained new recruits. She completed Officer Candidate School at Fort Des Moines in May of 1943, reenlisted in the WAC (Women's Army Corps) and was sent to Fort Devens, Massachusetts, where she worked in the base library for three months while awaiting assignment. Wilson was then stationed at Hamilton Field, California, where she helped start a passenger station for shuttling people to the base. In the spring of 1944 she was transferred to the Officer’s Promotion Unit in Washington, DC. In November of 1944, she married Stanford Lee Hoye.
After her discharge from the WAC in 1945, Wilson moved to West Frankfurt, Illinois, with her husband. They ran an appliance store there before moving to Anna, Illinois. After their divorce, Wilson returned to school and earned her master’s degree from Southern Illinois University in 1960. She taught at the Illinois State Mental Hospital before beginning work as a professor in family relations at Bradley University in Illinois. Wilson earned her Ph.D. in home economics from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1971, and returned to teaching at Bradley. In 1982 she retired from Bradley after twenty-one years and began part-time work as curator of the Peoria Historical Museum. In 1989, she moved to Halifax, North Carolina.