So often when we say “Goodbye” to someone on their voyage from this life, we think of them as they are or have been in the final days, weeks, and years of their mortal existence. We only offer scant recollections of some of the things they did or accomplished during their time on this mysterious blue ball we call Earth. We use general platitudes to define the nature of what is often a complex life, and person. We leave so much unsaid.
How can we possibly understand and celebrate a person without examining the entirety of their life? We are, after all, a culmination of experiences and lessons learned from the beginning to the end. That dash between Dorothy Addie Maske’s birth in 1924 and death in 2023 encompasses much more than we often consider.
Dorothy Addie Maske was born into an affluent home in Iona, Minnesota to Addie Hurlbut Rusho and Edward Rusho on February 12, 1924. Upon her birth, Dorothy was greeted by twin brother Edward and sister Edna, born on April 4, 1921. Born on February 6, 1923, an older brother Stanley Ellis passed away on February 24, 1923. Later, she would be joined by a brother Robert born on April 17, 1927. A little sister Clara Jeaniva was born on August 8, 1928, but passed away on January 8, 1931, at two and a half years.
On October 24, 1929, the stock market crashed. With debt payment called in and an inability to pay, Dorothy’s family lost everything. Her mother and father moved the family to Ocheyedan, Iowa to live in an old house without running water or indoor plumbing.
Dorothy’s mother required all the children to do chores which included fetching water from the well, doing housework, gathering cobbs for the stove, and cleaning the privy. The girls learned to cook and sew.
Dorothy had lots of friends. They went sledding and ice skating in the winter. They played softball, loved to ride their bikes, and roller skate in the spring, summer, and fall.
Dorothy came from a musically inclined family. Dorothy and her friends favored the big band music of the day. They loved to sing and dance at the Ocheyedan Depot which had a radio, and in Dorothy’s mother’s cousin’s parlor which had a phonograph. As they got older, they took their dancing skills to a dance hall in Lake Park, and the Roof Garden at Okoboji.
Dorothy was an excellent student; she loved the arts. She and her friends used to write plays, and then perform them. Dorothy’s joy of performing carried over into high school. She participated in choral groups that often received state recognition for their performance.
Following high school graduation in 1941, Dorothy and Siene Dykstra made their way to Chicago where they spent a year and a half working for Zenith making airplane parts for the war effort. Chicago led to San Diego, and eventually Seattle for Dorothy. It was in Seattle following World War II that Dorothy and Bob began courting. On August 29, 1948, Dorothy and Bob were married at Lake Okabena in Worthington, Minnesota.
Following their marriage, Dorothy and Bob made their home in Seattle while Bob completed his B.A. Degree at Seattle University. Upon returning to Iowa in 1954 for Bob’s first teaching and coaching job in Ashton, their family included Dave, Bill, and Dan
In 1955, Dorothy and Bob moved to Peterson. During their first year in Peterson, Jody was born to complete the family of four boys. For the next two decades, Dorothy served as a caretaker, nurturer, and disciplinarian. Dorothy always remained steadfast and devoted to her boys.
Dorothy was a true do-it-yourself person. She painted or put wallpaper on the walls. One time while in her 80’s, Dorothy moved dressers around by herself and stood on them to paint the ceiling. Dorothy thought she was invincible.
Dorothy was a skilled seamstress, and she made and mended clothes when necessary. She learned to repair and upholster furniture for her home.
Dorothy was a marvelous cook. Every Sunday, her family gathered for a meal of Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Green Beans or Corn, Bread, and Butter. Dorothy often baked homemade bread, pies, and cakes. Her family’s favorite was Fried Chicken and Apple Pie.
From early on, Dorothy learned what it meant to be a coach’s wife. Over the years, she shared in the joy of victory and remained stoic in the face of the strong criticism her husband sometimes received.
Dorothy grew up in the Ocheyedan Congregational Church where she performed many solos for the church services. Dorothy saw to it that her family were members of the Peterson Congregational Church. Her son David often sang for the church. Dorothy always said with great pride, “Nobody could sing “O Holy Night” better than Dave.” Throughout her life, Dorothy took pride in being a member and leader in various church organizations.
Bob and Dorothy made many wonderful and lifelong friends in Peterson. Dorothy loved to play cards. She was an excellent bridge player. She enjoyed playing Five-Hundred, Canasta, Tripoli, Rummy, Pitch, and Thirty-One. She was very competitive and took her card-playing seriously.
When her boys were younger, she was a Cub Scout Den Mother. When they played Pee Wee Baseball, she took the lead on many projects to raise money including running the concession stand for home games.
While Bob was teaching and coaching and her boys were engaged in fine arts and athletics, Dorothy kept it all together. Raising a family and maintaining a loving home is hard work, but Dorothy was always up to the task.
As her boys got older and exited high school, Dorothy found employment at the local hardware store and a grocery store. In time, she took the position of head cook at the Peterson School. Dorothy took great pride in this position, and she found joy in working with school kids, teachers, and support staff.
For years Bob ran a trapline with the boys, however, eventually Bob and Dorothy were partners in the trapping enterprise. After retiring from the school, Bob and Dorothy spent the next twenty years enjoying life with a camping seasonal at Lake Shetek near Slayton, Minnesota. In 2007, Bob passed away.
Dorothy loved the outdoors and the water. She was a camper at heart. She enjoyed the night sky while sitting around a campfire. She cherished any time on a boat especially while fishing for Walleye. She marveled at the mountains and the majesty of the far west. She liked the open road and all the places it could take you.
After fifty-nine years of marriage, Dorothy found herself on her own. For the next sixteen years, Dorothy lived independently until she fell and broke her hip in late April. Seven and a half months after breaking her hip and battling COVID-19 in August, Dorothy passed away in her home of sixty-five years.
As the years passed, her family grew to include four sons (Dave, Bill, Dan, Jody), three daughters-in-law (Linda, Carole, Deb), eleven grandchildren (Joel, Chris, Janet, Abe, Jeremy, Robert, Tiffany, Jessica, Justin, Josh, Niki), and thirty-two great-grandchildren. Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Eddie and Robert, sister Edna, son David, and Husband Robert.
As the curtain of her life drew to a close, Dorothy had the dedication, sacrifice, love, and care of her family. This writing only encapsulates a small portion of this incredible woman. Every person who knew her has testimony and stories that could fill volumes. One thing is true. To all those family members who loved and cherished her, she will always be known as Annie the Magnificent. It is a title she would reject, but that is what makes her so magnificent!
Let me tell you about my Grandma, Dorothy “Annie” Maske. She was one in a million, one of a kind, tougher than nails but deep down the kindest soul you’ll ever meet. She was the GOAT (greatest of all time) as my teenager would say. She lived life the way she wanted, and she was ready to go home. At 99, almost 100, she lived a long and full life. She was sassy, independent, and amazingly beautiful in so many ways. I loved hearing her tell me about her life in Seattle and waitressing at Pike’s Market in the early ‘50’s. I loved perusing the “annuals” up in the closet from the ‘50’s to the ‘80’s and asking her and Grandpa all kinds of questions about those school days. I remember once when I was struggling in my 20’s, she wrote me a letter that was incredibly encouraging and inspirational. I had not seen that side of her often and I was deeply moved. Her heart was so pure. I loved catching up on all the Peterson stuff when I would visit the last few years, even if I wasn’t sure exactly who the names were. I loved her apple pie, her hot dish, her gravy, and her almond bark puffs, among other things. You could not go to her house without eating something! Not acceptable! She was such a go-getter, even just a few years ago I stopped by and she was shampooing her carpets. Moved furniture and everything by herself. She didn’t let anything stop her from doing what she wanted done! 🥰 I can’t wait to see her someday in Heaven and have her give me a golf cart tour and see her whip me in a game of 31. Never ever forgotten and always loved. RIP Grandma Maske, 1924-2023.
Written by Jessica "Maske" Ruddell.