Dorothy Deardorf Willer

Honored by:Charles Heggen
Brick location:F:1  map

Born: August 4, 1897 – Tipton, Iowa
Died: May 15, 1969 – Tipton, Iowa
Married: Russell Willer - 1921 – Tipton, Iowa

I remember my grandmother as a slight, shy, soft-spoken woman of great energy and spiritual strength. Though I knew her a relatively short time, my grandmother left a lasting impression on me.

Grandmother and her family believed in education as an avenue to personal growth. She attended Cornell College in Mt. Vernon Iowa; then due to her interest in drama and the arts, she went to Boston Massachusetts and graduated from Leland Powers School of Dramatic Arts.

Grandmother taught briefly, then moved to the Willer farm at Tipton, Iowa, after marrying my grandfather. She passed on these early interests in the arts to her children and grandchildren by encouraging them to pursue music interests and modeling her own appreciation for beauty and art through her roses and love of color.

Grandmother was an integral part of the working of the farm, where she spent most of her adult life. I remember her stories of cooking for work crews during the threshing season and of maintaining the house and garden for her active family. She worked to make her house a home--a place of welcome and acceptance, a gathering place for family and friends, a place of fun and security.

Grandmother was a service-oriented woman. As important as work on the farm was visiting the sick, visiting and helping those in need, and remembering those alone or in nursing homes. I remember riding next to my grandmother in the old farm truck as we went to deliver food and other items or to provide comfort or a listening ear to others. I also remember the respect with which these were given and the gratitude by which they were received.

Grandmother was a strong, insightful leader who willingly provided leadership to the many organizations to which she belonged. Looking back, I realize she was a role model for other women and her young granddaughter. She demonstrated that a woman could be well-educated, raise a family, and make valuable contributions to her community with the talents she possessed.

Grandmother stressed to us the importance of spiritual faith and family bonds and friendship. The first she demonstrated through quiet example. The second was demonstrated by maintaining life-long friendships and by encouraging her family to share in each other's lives. Family gatherings were eagerly anticipated events; and though my aunts uncles and cousins lived in Chicago, Grandmother saw to it that we saw each other regularly and shared each other's interests, accomplishments, and disappointments. It was because of the nurturing of these family bonds that our families have been able to support each other through the losses and the joys we have experienced over the years.

My grandmother was a woman of faith quiet, leadership and strong convictions who encouraged and nurtured those whose lives she touched. To me, her life was that of a true, everyday heroine. Grandchildren:
Wendell B. Willer
Marcia A. (Willer) Heggen
Craig P. Willer
Stan R. Willer 5/29/95