Dorothy was born on the 12th of April, 1929, in the tri-state area of northwest Iowa, southwest Minnesota, and southeast South Dakota (specifically Larchwood, Iowa). This timing placed Dorothy’s childhood and family life squarely at the intersection of economic frugality and dustbowl farming. In this time and place she seemingly remained for the rest of her life, the bustle and convolution of the rest of the world largely passing her by.

Dorothy near the time of her graduation from High School in 1947

As a young girl she attended country school in a one room schoolhouse, which she attended through the 4th grade, being taught by Gladys Bakken, then she completed 4th through 8th grade at Beaver Creek School, and she finished her formal education through high school in Hills, Minnesota, where she graduated with the class of 1947. In Hills she found employment with the Exchange State Bank of Hills where she worked until she retired.

Gladys Bakken photographed near Garretson, SD, with Jerry Thorin and cousin, Leona Severson, circa 1935

Dorothy never married but it cannot be said that she never loved. The story is that she had fallen in love with a young man who was drafted to fight in the Korean War along with her older brother, Arnold. When the young man returned, however, he turned to alcohol to deal with his post war issues. This behavior alarmed the patriarch of the family, Joseph Arvid Thorin, that he forbid Dorothy from joining herself to the man in any way. Undoubtedly crushed in spirit, yet determined to do what she felt was right, she parted with the man and never dared to love another as long as she lived. Sadly, the irony was that the man soon after overcame his alcoholism and went on to successfully marry and raise a family.

Dorothy as a young woman, date unknown

Yet Dorothy’s life was not one of loneliness. All her life she was surrounded by family. She had 5 uncles and 3 aunts who more or less lived and spent their years in Hills, Minnesota, as well. She also had her parents and two older siblings (and one younger sister). With so many older relatives to look up to, all of whom were of the most wholesome and virtuous stock, Dorothy learned to cherish goodness and clean living, a hallmark of her personality and life that distinguished her for the rest of her life.

Dorothy spent her last years living in the Tuff Village, a senior facility for relatively unassisted living (she was fiercely independent, after all). She lived there with her older brother, Arnold, until he passed away in 2012, and then her younger brother, Jerry, moved in with her until she passed away in the early morning hours of September 3rd, 2019. She was 90 years old at the time of her passing.

Below is a movie created by her grandnephew (and author of this website) that was shown at her funeral:

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