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Dola Marie Simonson

October 18, 1917 December 6, 2011
Dola Marie Simonson
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Obituary for Dola Marie Simonson
Dola Marie (Schwartz) Simonson was born October 18, 1917 to Wilbert Clarence and Ruby Roletta (Reynolds) Schwartz in their home in Eureka Township, Wisconsin. Two years later, a brother, Donald, was born. Soon thereafter, the young family moved to a home in Milltown, Wisconsin. An infant daughter passed away shortly after birth.

Dola attended school in Milltown. She was an excellent student, who skipped the second grade. She also excelled as a piano student and briefly played clarinet. Dola graduated as salutatorian from Milltown High School in 1934 at the age of sixteen. Following graduation, she took a year of “commercial” classes, such as short hand and typing.

Dola worked for two years as the night telephone operator in Milltown. During this time, she considered the traditional career options for women—secretary, nurse, or teacher. When imagining herself as a teacher, she thought of teaching older students. However, it suddenly occurred to her that she could teach young children and thus began her call to primary education.

Dola attended college in River Falls, Wisconsin, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in primary education with a minor in art. She obtained a teaching position in third grade in Amery, Wisconsin. During her seven years of teaching there, she not only taught reading, (Palmer method) writing, and ‘rithmatic, she strove to develop a classroom community that mutually included children from the town as well as from the surrounding farm country. While in Amery, she lived with other young women and enjoyed their friendships.

She also developed friendships through a young adults’ church group that she attended. It was through that group she met Clarence Daniel Simonson, whom she dated during the end of college and while teaching in Amery. Dola resigned her teaching position in Amery and the couple was married October 16, 1948 in the Milltown Village home of Dola’s parents. The couple resided on the Simonson family farm where Dola assumed the many roles of a homemaker.

Dola served in the Milltown Baptist church as an organist, pianist, and Sunday School teacher. She was also active in the Milltown Women’s Club, which sponsored many activities that were often for children. She continued to pursue her interests in arts and crafts.

In 1955, their only child, Mary Beth, was born. When Mary Beth began elementary school, Dola returned to teaching as a substitute in the Unity School District. When Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 began, Dola became a reading teacher. In this position, she taught not only reading, but provided the tender loving care and attention that many students desperately needed for learning. She taught full or part time in this capacity until her 1982 retirement from Unity.

During their marriage, Clarence and Dola traveled extensively. In addition to attending annual state Postmaster’s Conventions, they attended National Conventions in such places as Hawaii, Puerto Rico, New York City, and Seattle. They traveled with tour groups to over 20 countries including destinations such as the Holy Land, Scandinavia, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. These travels were a source of fast friendships for the couple. They also visited Alaska, Missouri, and Texas.

They frequently traveled to visit their daughter and son-in-law, John Clark, in their homes in Boston, Massachusetts; Buffalo, New York; and Arlington Heights, Illinois. Their granddaughters, Marie born in 1981 and Jeanette born in 1984, were sources of enormous pride and joy for Dola. Marie and Jeanette also enjoyed visiting their grandparents and playing on the family farm.

In June 2007, Clarence suffered a heart attack and, after a brief stay in Willow Ridge in Amery for rehabilitation, the couple moved into their daughter and son-in-law’s home in Minnetonka, Minnesota. While living there, they observed their 60th wedding anniversary in October 2008. That November, Clarence passed away. Dola remained with the Clarks enjoying visits from her granddaughters, other family members, and friends as well as occasional trips to Wisconsin. She was an avid reader, particularly of daily devotions, an interested follower of her North Valley Lutheran Church family’s activities, a supporter of social services in Polk County, Wisconsin, and a prolific letter-writer.

This fall, Dola’s health condition appeared to decline. Attempts to intervene through outpatient, hospitalization, or transitional care were unsuccessful. Dola passed away December 6, 2011, at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Minnesota. She was preceded in death by her parents, Wilbert and Ruby Schwartz, an infant sister, and brother, Donald Schwartz. Dola is survived by daughter, Mary Beth Simonson Clark; son-in-law, Dr. John L. Clark; granddaughters, Marie Jean Clark and Jeanette Marie Clark; nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, great-grandnieces, and great-grandnephews; and cousins.

A visitation is set for 5 to 7 p.m. at Rowe Funeral Home, Luck, Wisconsin, on Friday, December 9, 2011. Visitation will also be from 10 to 11 a.m. preceding a service at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 10, 2011, at North Valley Lutheran Church, Centuria, Wisconsin, followed by interment at the Milltown Cemetery. The family prefers memorials in lieu of flowers.

Return to this website at for additional information or call Bruce Rowe at 715-472-2444.
Rowe Funeral H
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