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Dolores Moore Harlow Hirst


1930 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Dolores Moore Harlow Hirst Obituary
Dolores Moore Harlow Hirst

Bloomington, IL - Dolores Moore Harlow Hirst, widow of Rev. George Hirst, and resident of Bloomington, IL, formerly of Wyoming, IL, passed away on the morning of October 25, 2018. She was 88.

Dolores (Dodie to her friends and family) was born in Wichita, KS to Roger Moore and Sudie Belle Stephens Harlow on May 26, 1930. During the Depression, she and her mother moved to Sudie's family home in Natchitoches, LA while her father looked for work. They returned to Wichita in 1940, where Dodie went back to school. She graduated from high school a year early, and began taking courses at Wichita's Friends University in Voice, Speech, and Dramatics. In high school and college, she often took the lead role in many musicals. Friends University is where she met and married fellow student George William Hirst. George was called to go into the ministry, and the young couple moved to Chicago where he began studying at the Chicago Theological Seminary, and Dodie began raising their first son, Stephen.

George transferred to Augustana Seminary and took his first post at the Union Congregational Church of Moline, IL in 1950. In 1961, the growing family moved to East Peoria, where George was pastor at Fondulac Congregational Church. In East Peoria, Dodie was active in bridge groups, the Peoria Art Guild and the Peoria Players.

Dodie began taking courses towards a Master's Degree in Education at Bradley University in Peoria and in 1964 after a brief teaching stint in Peoria public schools, began teaching in the East Peoria school system. She taught kindergarten at Lincoln and D. D. Shute Elementary Schools, then junior high school at East Peoria Central Junior High. She commuted to East Peoria for several years after the family moved to Wyoming, IL, when George began preaching at Wyoming First Congregational United Church of Christ in 1971.

Upon retiring, she went into business as a florist in Wyoming. George retired from the ministry in 1986, and the couple remained in Wyoming. In 2010, the couple moved to Arizona near daughter Lisa, where they intended to try out the winters, and it was there George died on February 2, 2011. Dodie moved back to Wyoming to be near her friends and lived there until 2015, when her eyesight began to fail. She moved to Bloomington to be closer to her youngest son David and his wife Marcia. She died in Normal, IL at the McLean County Nursing Home.

Dodie was the rock on which George's family was built. She was his friend and the family business manager, and took many roles in the church as a musician and Sunday School teacher. She was always interested in the arts, and supported social justice issues and volunteered at the Resource House in Wyoming. In 2016, she won the Advocate of the Year Award for work with people with disabilities, from the Life Center for Independent Living in McLean County.

Dodie was a fiercely independent person, very social and a wonderful storyteller. She had a lively mind, loved a good argument, and was fun to be around. She loved to play bridge, and was a fanatical cryptoquote and crossword puzzler. She had a marvelous coloratura voice, which she shared with the churches and elsewhere on special occasions. Most memorable was her rendition of O Holy Night, which she sang sometimes as a duet with her sister-in-law Eva Hirst in many of the Christmas celebrations.

Dodie's survivors include her four children Stephen (Kristin), of Iowa City, IA; Kris (Ed) Nellis also of Iowa City; Lisa (Dan) Roger of Phoenix, AZ; and David (Marcia) of Bloomington, IL. She leaves her brother-in-law Allen of Hutchinson, KS, six grandchildren (Amy, Matthew, Kate, Aaron, Mason, and Rachel), four great-grandchildren (Augustine, Georgia, June and Nora), and dozens of cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as untold numbers of friends, former students and colleagues from her teaching days. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and her sister-in-law Eva Hirst.

Funeral services will be held Monday, November 5, at 11:00 a.m. at First Congregational United Church of Christ of Wyoming, with a visitation one hour preceding the service. Haskell-Hott Funeral Homes in Wyoming is in charge of arrangements. A Celebration of Life service will be held at a later date in Bloomington/Normal. Memorial gifts may be made to First Congregational U.C.C. of Wyoming or Life-Center for Independent Living (http://www.lifecil.org) in Bloomington, IL. Condolences may be left for Dodie's family on her tribute wall at www.haskellhott.com.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Nov. 2, 2018
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