DELAND, Fla. – Dorothy Widerberg, long-time resident of DeKalb, Ill., died peacefully in hospice care after a sudden illness Feb. 6, 2013, in Deland, Fla. Just five days earlier, her husband Will, suddenly passed away. Will and Dorothy were married 71 years and lived their lives to the fullest. Their family was so blessed to have them in their lives for so long.|
Born on July 26, 1922, in Chicago, Dorothy was 90 years old and still spunky, sassy and mentally sharp until her last days. Dorothy and Will met at a dance in downtown Chicago and continued to dance all their lives – a favorite pastime. After World War II, the couple moved to DeKalb so Will could attend Northern Illinois University. He became a teacher and an elementary school principal in the DeKalb schools and ended his career after 32 years.
Dorothy was a stay-at-home mom to five children and was actively involved in PTA, DeKalb Mother's Club, Girl Scouts of America, 4-H, Boy Scouts of America and the American Red Cross. She was very creative and enjoyed refinishing furniture, crafting and ceramics. She loved to help her kids with their assigned projects and was very talented at suggesting to them new ways of approaching the challenge. Most of all, she had a sharp wit and enjoyed making people laugh.
In her retirement years she continued her ceramics, making many pieces for all of her children and grandchildren. She also was a member of the Red Hats and enjoyed playing pinochle, penny poker and scrabble.
Will and Dorothy were celebrated with a joint memorial service in Deland and they will be buried in the National Cemetery in Jacksonville, Fla.
Surviving Dorothy are all her children: sons, Willard B. (Donna), Greg (Carol) and Mark (companion Heather), and daughters, Dawn Sauer (Bradley) and Lynda Hancock (Tony); five grandchildren, Jennifer Donner (Josh), Stephen Widerberg, Katherine Hancock, Laura Hancock and Ryan Widerberg; brother-in-law, Edward Kawecki; and several nieces and nephews.
Dorothy had an affection for "The Wizard of Oz," given she shared her name with the main character. She enjoyed collecting many of the characters over the years.
A quote from the story brings closure to Dorothy's wonderful life here on earth – "A place where there isn't any trouble … There must be. It's not a place you can get to by a boat or by a train. It's far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain."
Published in Daily Chronicle on Feb. 13, 2013