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Dorothy Bokemeier, 89, passed into God's hands on Friday, January 11, 2013. She had enjoyed life from her beginning in Mobridge, S.D. on May 3, 1923.
Dorothy often spoke of how she was a premature baby and that her parents, Otto and Ruth Steinke, brought her home in a shoe box and she had to sleep in a chest-o-drawer until she was big enough for a crib. Although small, her heart was as big as the outdoors. Growing up in a house full of love and compassion helped them make it through the Great Depression. Dorothy and her family members moved west to Washington during the early part of World War II. There she met and married John Hodge and had a daughter, Marcy. A few years later in the Pacific Northwest, Dorothy met her true love and companion, William (Bill) Bokemeier. These two enjoyed a great life together that focused on family and friends, often surrounding their dining table enjoying a good meal and a good bottle of wine.
Dorothy's greatest joy came from her daughter, Marcy L. (Jeff Ross) of Portland, OR and son, Matthew G. Bokemeier (Diana T.) of Salinas, and their grandchildren: Dylan Krech, Rebekah Krech and Matthew E. Bokemeier. She was very proud of being a part of their formative years. Through her life she made many friends and kept in contact with them by writing letters, birthday and Christmas cards up until her sudden passing. Dorothy loved children and loved to give them "a little something" when they came to visit. Many people will remember the handmade popcorn balls she gave out at Christmas time. Often an ornament picked especially for each child was included with the popcorn balls. During her years as secretary for the City of Salinas' Mayor and City Manager, she always had a candy jar full on her desk just in case a child came by to see their parent(s).
She always had a kind word to say about people and was very polite. After her retirement she kept active by walking or riding her stationary cycle watching morning news shows and reading on the patio. When her husband Bill passed away suddenly in 2008 she made the decision to stay in the house they had built. Her fierce independence and stoicism helped her to adjust to living on her own until just before her death. She often commented on how she "did not like to cook and that she had been spoiled by Bill's cooking". Dorothy focused even more on keeping up with her younger grandson Matthew's activities during these years, watching him play rec basketball, perform in music concerts and making him cookies for lunch each week. Dorothy enjoyed special gatherings with friends and nice Sunday dinners with Matt, Diana, Matthew and her favorite dog, Pepper.
California and the Salinas Valley is "the Greatest Place on Earth" she often said. She did not like snow, cold weather, humid weather or even a lot of rain. Regarding rain she would comment: "I know farmers need the water, but I hope it stops raining for a while so I can hang clothes to dry." The family would often go for a drive down the Valley just to marvel at all the different crops and the beautiful scenery.
She greeted each day with hope and admiration for life. Although she had "aches and pains" she never complained or let them get her down. At the end of each day she would write in her journal just before going to bed commenting about the events of that day, ending each entry with "Life is Good".
She will be missed immensely by her family and Pepper. Her kind words and positive attitude always had a calming effect on those around her. Her family members and of course Pepper were always in her prayers. Dorothy dearly loved and respected her doctor S. K. Ashokkumar (Kumar) for being such a strong advocate for her independence and the medical treatment she received from him.
The family would like to acknowledge the support from friends throughout her last days and the outstanding care and compassion Dorothy received from all the 4th floor nurses and staff at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, Dr. Kumar, and especially Dr. Matthew Katics for all his devotion and compassion. Thank you.
Dorothy's wishes were to be cremated and have no funeral service. She did not like funerals. What she did like was people having a good time and being happy. So have a nice glass of wine and enjoy your family, friends and pets, too.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that contributions be made to such charities as Wounded Warriors, SPCA,
, American Lung Society or
Funeral arrangements by Struve and Laporte Funeral Home. Online condolences to www.struveandlaporte.com
Struve and Laporte Funeral Chapel
41 West San Luis
Salinas, CA 93901
Published in The Salinas Californian from Jan. 18 to Jan. 21, 2013