|Date submitted: September 17, 2007|
|Gift: Brick Paver - large|
|Location on plaza map: B4|
|Dolores Frances Olcott was born to Charlotte Buczko on March 3, 1926, in Norwood Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.|
Dolores lived with her mother, but mostly with her grandparents and their 10 children. Her biological father was killed shortly before she was born. Her grandparents had immigrated from Poland and her aunts and uncles became her siblings. Life was difficult in Chicago’s “Back of the Yards” for a large, poor family.
Dolores met John Olcott, from Mott, North Dakota, when she was 14 and working part-time in the YMCA Hotel cafeteria in downtown Chicago, where her mother worked. John was training at Great Lakes Naval Training Center. They were married in Billings, Montana, on October 19, 1943, and left by bus for San Diego, where John was attending torpedo school. Dolores was 17 and John was 20.
After World War II, they lived in an apartment upstairs from Dolores’ mother and her husband in Chicago. In 1949, with their children Dianne and Tim, they purchased their first home in Hometown, a new duplex community adjacent to Chicago. John worked two jobs at times and Dolores stayed at home to take care of her children. The 1950’s were idyllic times in this country and Dolores modeled her family life after what she saw in advertising – and what she did not have as a child. Dolores was a fabulous cook, entertained frequently, and was a volunteer at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Chicago. She volunteered with paraplegics one day a week. Her home was well organized, well decorated and lively. Her family life included family game nights, extended outings to museums, state capitals, and visits North Dakota to see John’s family, and to her mother’s cottage in Wonder Lake, Illinois, with dozens of her family members.
John was a cost accountant with John Morrell & Co., a meat-packing company in Chicago. He was transferred to Ottumwa, Iowa, in 1962. Ottumwa was then a community of about 30,000 in Southeast Iowa and Dolores thrived there. Since she did not drive a car, she took the bus to downtown, became active in Newcomer’s Club and redecorated a lovely 2-story home that was welcoming and comfortable. John was transferred to St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1967, and Dolores was sorry to leave Ottumwa. By that time, Dianne was married with a newborn son, Scott, living in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and Tim was a student at the University of Minnesota.
In 1969, Dolores and John purchased a home in Edina, Minnesota, a Minneapolis suburb. Dolores decorated their new home and made an active life there. Her life revolved around taking care of John, her home and their social life together. Although both Dolores and John had some health issues, they remained active and traveled frequently. Eventually, however, their relationship deteriorated, and they separated. Their dissolution of marriage was final in 1988.
At that time, she still did not drive and had never handled finances and investments. After three attempts, she gained her driver’s license at the age of 62, and managed her investments wisely. She purchased a condominium in Edina and threw herself into volunteer work and travel. After she recovered from the divorce, she told her family that she was not happy, but that she was content. She found comfort in her volunteer work at Normandale Lutheran Church, Hospice of Minneapolis, The Edina Senior Center, and Fairview Southdale Hospital. She created an active social life with many friends. She was active, nurturing, and devoted to grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In 2004, Dolores’ health was failing, and she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, to be near Dianne. She became a resident of Maple Knoll Village, a continuum of care community there. Dolores lived at Maple Knoll Village until 5 days before her death, when she went to Hospice of Cincinnati. She died peacefully at 1:30 AM on April 27, 2007.
She is survived by Dianne Olcott of Cincinnati, and her children Scott, Heather and Sarah; and by Tim Olcott of Tucson, and his children Alison and David.
Dolores rebuilt her life many times in 81 years. She had the courage to “go on” and create life’s next stages with energy and integrity. She gave to others what she had: her smile, kind words and warmth.
Timothy A. Olcott