Dorothy Irene Rasan Menke, 97, of Tacoma, Washington, formerly of West Point, Iowa, passed away on May 13, 2022, in Tacoma, Washington.
Dorothy Irene was born on May 10, 1925, in Hazelton, Pennsylvania.
Dot was a women of generous spirit, an energetic worker, creative artist and musician, positive personality with a buoyant sense of humor. Most importantly she was a devoted wife and mother and person of devout faith.
She was a coal miner’s daughter, growing up with her two sisters and their Lithuanian parents near the coal mines around Hazelton, Pennsylvania. She distinguished herself in Hazelton High school as the artistic director of the yearbooks, a majorette, first chair violinist in the orchestra and an excellent student. Her teachers and fellow students chose her to be one of the top 20 students in their senior class.
Graduating from high school as WWII was beginning, Dot enrolled in a registered nursing program at King’s County Hospital in Brooklyn, NY.It was during her final year that she had one of her proudest opportunities, to play her violin with a nurses ensemble at a luncheon for the visiting first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.
Following graduation, she was one of a select group of nurses sent to an army hospital in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.While there, she met and fell in love with an army technical training specialist, Richard Menke, from West Point, Iowa. When WWII ended the young couple had to decide on marriage or separation. They drove to Hazelton, PA where they were married and then drove to Rick’s home town at West Point, Iowa, and began setting up their home. Rick and Dot owned a Plumbing and Heating company in West Point and raised five children there. Dot always proclaimed, “Rick and I are a great team.” Rick and Dot instilled in their children the love of music, art and education.
Dot devotedly nursed her husband, Rick for many years before his death in 1994. Then she became a leader and energetic worker in St. Mary’s Catholic Church and School. She supported the community concert series and the Southeast Iowa Symphony. Many of her art works won awards in local competitions.
When Dot’s children brought her to Tacoma, Washington in 2005 her indomitable spirit continued as she delighted in entertaining her poetry group, playing cards, and attending church and concerts.
Dot’s love of organizing fun entertainments with music, skits, and artistic touches will always be remembered fondly. Her loving, generous spirit will is deeply appreciated and sorely missed.
Dot’s children and their families: Barbara Ann (Bami) Pinckney (Ron Pinckney); son: Christopher Garratt, wife: Angela; grandchildren: Aidan, Hudson and Leighton; Beth Ann McCabe (preceded her in death); son Sean McCabe and wife Gloria; Deborah Ann Cornick (Doug Cornick); son: Heath, wife, Kate; grandchildren: Dean and Nora; daughter: Heather Gathuru; Matthew Menke (preceded her in death); Lynn Ann Crozier (Rick Crozier); Daughter: Kari Dutcher; stepchildren: Justin Crozier, wife Stephanie; children: Camden and Piper, Eric Crozier, partner Amy. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, October 15, 2022, at Saint Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in West Point, Iowa, with Father Dan Dorau as celebrant. Burial will be held in Calvary Cemetery in West Point, Iowa. A memorial has been established in her memory. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.schmitzfuneralhomes.com Schmitz Funeral Home of West Point is assisting the family with arrangements.