Dorothy Lou Willardson of Gowrie, passed away Thursday, June 23, 2022 at the Paula J. Baber Hospice house. She was 13 days shy of her 99th birthday.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 AM Monday, June 27, 2022 at the United Methodist Church, Gowrie with Pastor Susan Rohden officiating. Burial will be in the Gowrie Township Cemetery. A visitation will be 5:00PM to 7:00 PM Sunday, June 26 at Palmer Funeral Home, Gowrie. Memorials may be left to the discretion of the family.
Dorothy Lou Smith was born July 6, 1923, in Eagle Grove, Iowa, to Thomas Jefferson Smith and Eldora Myrtle Smith (Overholt). The family moved to Fort Dodge when she was young and she attended Fort Dodge schools and graduated from Fort Dodge High School. During high school she played in the band and was very proud that she was first chair trumpet. Dorothy had a love of music that followed her through her life.
In 1946 Dorothy married Lawrence Willardson. They started by farming in Duncombe and then managing the Rosedale Farm Dairy. They soon began their family, and eventually they moved their growing family to Gowrie where they remained for the rest of their lives. They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary prior to Lawrences passing in 2012.
After the birth of their 5th child in 1964, Dorothy went back to school and earned her BA int teaching from Buena Vista University. She worked for Prairie Community School District as a Title 1 reading teacher for many years, retiring in 1987. After retirement she taught private classes to people helping them earn their GED. She believed that education was a necessity.
Dorothy and Lawrence were active members of the Gowrie United Methodist Church for over 50 years where Dorothy’s love of music continued as the choir director for many years. In her lifetime she had many hardships but her deep faith carried her through. Her strength and perseverance were not reflective of her small stature. Dorothy deeply loved her family and they were always her priority.
Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband, Lawrence Willardson, her parents, her daughters Nancy Essink and Janet Culver, her son James Willardson, her grandson TJ. Willardson, and 8 siblings.
She is survived by her sons David (Jodi) Willardson of Knoxville,IA, Terry (Lisa) Willardson of Gowrie, IA, Warren Olson (Emilie) of Marengo, IA, Grandchildren, Erica Andrews (Troy), Robin Culver, Tricia Harrison, Kim Wright (Joe), Andrea Duntly (Donnie), Jeff Essink (Nicole) April Parker-Hanson (Dan) Angi Schiltz, Kelsey Willardson Roland (Cole), Brooke Willardson (Nate), Lindsay Olson (Kyle), Tyler Olson(Sydney), Cheri Fruits (RJ), Tom Willardson (Jill), Travis Booher and Taylor Willardson as well 30 great grandchildren.