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Grand Rapids,, MI
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Life Story / Obituary
Dorothy Peller had a long and very blessed life, enriched with family, friends, and an active social life. A talented class act, Dorothy had an impeccable eye for detail that was evident in her dress, home decor, and the way she took care of herself. More importantly, Dorothy was sweet and fun natured, spending the majority of her days creating memories of time spent with family and friends.
By 1919, the end of World War I marked a time of great change in America. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution was established, prohibiting the sale of alcohol anywhere in the U.S. The dial telephone was introduced, and the pogo stick was a favorite of children all over. In the Michigan city of Grand Rapids, Clarence and Nellie (DeHollander) Beasecker welcomed their baby girl Dorothy Elaine on March 30, 1919 into their loving arms.
She had four siblings and described herself as "Daddy's little girl".Young Dorothy's father worked as a mechanical engineer and had a patent for a folding and convertible baby carriage and designed other inventions too. Her mother remained at home as a homemaker and loving mother to her children. Her family home until she was 5 was in Sparta, then they moved into Grand Rapids and a couple years later, built a home in Godwin Heights.
At the age of three, Dorothy had the misfortune of getting her thumb caught in a washing wringer while helping her mother with laundry, resulting in a portion of her thumb removed. She used her experience to create a lifelong joke to the children that if one sucks their thumb too much, it would end up looking like hers! The little, meaningful things in life became treasures as the Great Depression created struggle and hardship for most. Because of her fathers career though, her family was able to enjoy many memorable days at their cottage on a lake
As a child, Dorothy liked to swim, fish, play softball, marbles, and skate with her friends, and in school, remembers studying birds and belonging to the Audobon Society. She also remembered spending time playing cards, hop scotch, sewing clothes for dolls, knitting, listening to the radio, and once a week getting a treat of an ice cream cone.
Unfortunately, Dorothy lost her father at an early age as a pre-teen when her father was killed after being hit by an automobile as he was crossing the road. This was a very difficult loss in her life as she had many memories of how loving he was and "she was daddy's little girl". She remembered him fondly and his love of growing roses and cooking.
Dorothy graduated from Godwin Heights High School in 1937 and was a frequent attendee of the class reunions. During high school years, she served as secretary, was in the Senior play, Auditorium, Commercial, and Glee Clubs, Orchestra, Basketball, and a cheerleader where she began her life long love of watching football. During her teen years, she spent a lot of time with an extended family at Bostwick Lake enjoying many days boating in the Summers.
Her mother married again, and then when Dorothy was 19 on New Years Eve, 1938, she married for the first time and had her only son Dennis Dale Alber on March 23, 1941. She always found time to spend with family and friends, having spirited gatherings in each other's homes, at a cottage, beach, or on a boat.
As a young adult, Dorothy worked as a secretary in the school offices and in a factory. She remembered getting a bonus for an "invention" she created to funnel hot metal sparks away from burning the workers. She also did secretarial work at Michigan Tractor (Catepillar Equipment Company) while she was a single mother. It was at this office where she would meet a man who changed her life forever.
John Peller was a handsome gentlemen who had ownership in the Michigan Ball Bearing Company. He would frequently visit the offices at Michgian Tractor where he befriended and eventually swept Dorothy off her feet. They married and moved out to the country where they owned a home on a beautiful property with fruit trees and gardens. Dorothy's son Denny, his 1st wife Judy, their kids Kathy and Curt had many fun visits there. John would take the grand kids on tractor rides, make homemade ice cream, and on Easter, hide eggs all over their beautiful property. Dorothy and John would eventually move back into Grand Rapids on the North end of town.
Dorothy was now a full time homemaker and enjoyed expounding on her talents. She was a good cook and really loved making delicious meals for her family and many friends they entertained in their home. In her free time, she liked to sew & knit cloths for her granddaughter, shop for new decor to redecorate her homes, take classes in ceramics, water color painting, and play her keyboard.
Dorothy and John became members of Greenridge Country Club (now Egypt Valley Country Club), where they were long time members. Dorothy was an avid card player and met her dear friends atleast once a week at the club to play cards and socialize. Dorothy and John also shared their love of travel to California, Florida, Hawaii, and also spent some Winters out in Phoenix where she could visit her son Denny, his 2nd wife Jean, and grandson Curt. One of their favorite Michigan destinations as Charlevoix where they spent atleast a week each Summer vacationing with close friends. They had many blessed and active years together.
Dorothy had four great grand children, Logan, Skylar, Dustin, and Thyra who she loved dearly. She looked forward to creating memories with them taking them to the movies, playing cards, spending birthdays together, and attending their celebrations throughout the years. She spoiled them with big presents every Christmas and looked forward to challenging the kids to Wii bowling on their holidays together.
Dorothy's husband John passed in 1997 and she lived alone for over a dozen years, but continued to remain independent and busy with her social life and hobbies, and even continued to drive and go out to shop until she was 89 years old. She reluctantly moved into an assisted living apartment at Heron Manor a few years ago, but quickly adjusted and met many new and dear friends. She attended many activities there, especially bingo and Wii Bowling. She also met up with a group to play cards nearly every evening. She remained active going out atleast twice a week with her granddaughter to appointments, lunch, hairdresser, and grocery store until two weeks before her passing.
Dorothy had a class all her own, a generous heart, and a love of life. A real sweetheart, Dorothy lived a full and rewarding life with no regret. She will be deeply missed by those who knew her best, but will live on in their hearts forever.
Dorothy E. Peller, age 96, of Grand Rapids passed away Wednesday, December 16, 2015. She was preceded in death by her husband, John Peller and son, Dennis Alber . Dorothy is survived by her daughter-in-laws, Judy Alber and Jean Alber; grandchildren, Kathy (Scott) Ferguson, Curtis (Ronda) Alber; great-grandchildren, Logan, Skylar, Dustin and Thyra; nieces, nephews and cousins.
A service to celebrate Dorothy’s life will be held at 2:00 PM on Monday, December 21, 2015 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield NE in Grand Rapids, MI. Visitation for family and friends is Monday from 12:00 PM until the time of the service. Contributions in Dorothy’s memory to Emmanual Hospice are appreciated. A special thanks to the staff and all her friends at Heron Manor. Also thanks to Emmanual Hospice for their excellent care. To read more about Dorothy’s life, sign her online guest book, and to leave a memory of her, please visit her web page at www.lifestorynet.com.