For Dorothy, the dash was a long and winding line


Funeral services for Dorothy D. Lawien, 95, of Timber Lake and Mobridge will be held at 10:30 a.m., MDT, on Monday, June 4, 2012, at the United Parish Church in Timber Lake.

A prayer service will be held at the church at 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 3. Visitation will be at Kesling Funeral Home on Sunday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. CDT, and at the church starting at 6 p.m., MDT. Pastor Ken Hunt will officiate. Arrangements are under the direction of Kesling Funeral Home of Mobridge.

Most of us know the story of the dash in the middle. The poem is about the little line between when a person is born and when they die. For Dorothy, the dash was a long and winding line that started three years before the end of World War I and four years before women were allowed to vote.

Dorothy was born to Mell Doran and Lulu Clark Doran on Sept. 23, 1916, at the family ranch near Ericson, Neb.  Growing up in the Sand Hills of Nebraska, she was 19 when the first effects of the Great Depression were beginning to grip the nation. She saw many of her childhood friends pack their belongings to leave the great dustbowl of the Midwest.

She was 22 when she received her elementary teaching degree and began teaching at a one-room school in rural Holt County, Neb., for $55 per month. She was the only woman teacher with a degree for three counties in any direction. She knew firsthand how difficult it was for a woman to be taken seriously as a professional.

Throughout her life she would encourage the women around her to strive to be all that they could be. Dorothy enthusiastically met adversity head on. When America was deep into World War II, she enlisted in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). Dorothy served as Stores Keeper, Second Class, with responsibility to oversee procurement and delivery of supplies to the troops overseas.

She learned to fly an open cockpit Stearman airplane. Nearing the end of World War II these were the only planes left to train the women shuttle pilots who delivered the bombers and other planes. Dorothy said on several occasions that she wished she could have flown one of the big ones. She was 27. All of her life she loved to fly. By the time the war ended and women could “go back to the kitchen” Dorothy had tasted independence and liked it.

Returning to her family and her roots, she continued her teaching career. She taught nine-month terms, then attended summer sessions. During the winter months she would earn additional credits by correspondence courses. She started her educational career in a one-room schoolhouse and ended it teaching at a business college in Omaha, Neb.

By the late 1950s she was 41 years old, Mrs. Brookshire, a widow raising a young son. Dorothy and son Roger spent several summers visiting her parents, who had moved to the Timber Lake area to raise Arabian horses. She and Roger moved to Timber Lake in 1962 to be closer to her parents and a sister, Margaret Alderson, and her husband Cleo. In August of 1968, Dorothy married Albert “Fritz” Lawien, who adopted Roger as his own. She was employed by Moreau-Grand Electric Cooperative from 1962 until her retirement in 1977.

Dorothy loved to travel. After her first retirement she would pick a place she liked and work a bit. She chose Lincoln, Neb., Denver, Colo., Portland and Lincoln City, Ore., and then Mobridge, where she loved working at the Wrangler Motor Inn.

In 1984 she returned to Timber Lake, the community she had grown to love. She purchased the Prairie Stationers from Jim and Mary Byington, renaming it the Variety Store. She was proud of her little store and her town. Dorothy served on numerous boards and organizations, was a 4-H leader, assisted in the organization and activation of the Dewey County Fair, was vice-president of the School Booster Club, and president of the Better Timber Lake Association. She was active at the state level including the Advisory Board to the Department of Education and Cultural Affairs and was a lifelong Democrat.

Living in Timber Lake afforded Dorothy the opportunity to watch her granddaughters, Beki and Ashley, grow.
In 1989, at the age 72, she decided to hang up her merchant’s apron and retire once again.  She lived in Arizona, Nebraska, and Oregon and traveled to Ireland to find her roots.

Settling in Mobridge, she helped care for her first great-grandchild, Beki’s son, Tysen Kraft. Four additional great-grandchildren, Ryder and Kannin Wald and Haylee and Macy Bohnet, later brought her years of joy and laughter.
In the last years of her life, Dorothy lived in Timber Lake and Mobridge, always staying as close to her family as possible.
When asked where she was from, Dorothy would answer, with extreme pride, “My home is Timber Lake, South Dakota.”
On July 4, 2008, Dorothy moved to Prairie Sunset Village Assisted Living in Mobridge.  After residing there for just two weeks she informed her family that this was the best decision she had made in years and the people and the staff were her new friends and family.

Dorothy stayed very active and was known for her jovial spirit and the kind words that she shared with the residents. She had an Irish message board posted outside her apartment where she would write daily messages or a “thought of the day.”  The staff of the Mobridge Regional Hospital and the residents of the Prairie Sunset Village loved to swing by her door and check out her daily inspiration.

Her final message, posted on Saturday, May 26, read, “Godspeed, my friends. I am off on a new adventure. Be kind to each other. We will meet again. Peace and Love – Dorothy.”

She passed away later that day at Mobridge Regional Hospital.

Dorothy is survived by her son, Roger (Kris) Lawien of Timber Lake; granddaughters, Beki (Matt) Wald of Billings, Mont., and Ashley (Clint) Bohnet of Volga; and five great-grandchildren, Tysen Kraft, Ryder and Kannin Wald, and Haylee and Macy Bohnet.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her siblings, Jack Doran, Gail Doran, Patrick Doran, Virginia Sullivan, Margaret Alderson, Betty Holle, and Jean Gormley.

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