Elizabeth Wilhelm Dake
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Asheville - Elizabeth Wilhelm Dake, known to her friends as BJo, passed into her next and biggest travel adventure in the morning of March 29, 2014. She was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on January 21, 1928 to George and Zulina (Severa) Wilhelm. BJo is survived by three children: Lisa Oberreuter of Asheville, North Carolina; JoAn Mann of Bend, Oregon; and Bob Dake of Charleston, West Virginia. There are four adored grandchildren: Mark and Amie Oberreuter of Houston, Texas; Dr. Chris Mann of Austin, Texas; and Alex Mann of Boston, Mass.
Being raised in Cedar Rapids gave BJo a solid Midwestern grounding of values and community involvement. However, a move to Mexico City where she graduated from the American High School ignited her life-long passion for travel and learning. Returning to Iowa, she graduated from Coe College in 1947, married Norman Dake, and other than brief stays in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oakland, California stayed there until 1977 when they moved to Santa Barbara, California. Always active in any community, her efforts in Cedar Rapids revolved around her creative spirit - the Community Theatre, the Cedar Rapids Symphony, Junior League, The Cedar Rapids Garden Club, and her most memorable role as Playtime Poppy where she welcomed thousands of school children to the Children's Theatre. BJo was the first woman elected to the Salvation Army Board, where she served for over a decade. She served on the Coe College Board and was a staunch advocate of education for all.
In Santa Barbara BJo was a docent at the Botanic Garden, a member and then president of the UCSB Associates Board, a board member and shop manager of Lotusland, and a daily swimmer at the Montecito YWCA. Her grandchildren loved visiting her as she took them camping, to zoo camp, on beach walks and shopping throughout coastal California. Her beloved church, All Saints by the Sea Episcopal, gave her dear friends and a family, since hers was scattered throughout the country. As much as she adored Santa Barbara, she left with great frequency as she travelled throughout the world. Her jaunts included 5 visits to China and many Elderhostel vacations. Several of these trips utilized her skills at teaching English as a second language.
In 2009 she moved to Asheville, North Carolina and the Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community. Her passion for genealogy was given free rein and she traced her family back to Bohemia and the 8th century in Wales and Europe. Researching, learning the ins and outs of computers, and traveling to England to see family origins occupied her up until the final months of her life. Deerfield was her community and she threw herself into friendships and involvement in their committees. Her awe of and enjoyment of the employees, management, and fellow inmates continually renewed her spirit.
There will be a memorial service at St. Giles Episcopal at 3:00 PM on Thursday, April 3rd with a champagne reception following. In lieu of flowers you may remember and honor her spirit with donations to either the Deerfield Community Residents Fund or CarePartners Hospice or any other local charity doing great community service.
Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian is assisting the family and a memorial register is available at www.grocefuneralhome.com.
Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
1401 Patton Avenue Asheville, NC 28806
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Apr. 1, 2014