Dorothea E. Dalton, age 95, left us on July 1, 2018, after a long life spent nurturing a family while pursuing her interests in music, art, history and politics. Born in Omaha, in 1922, Dottie grew up in northern Indiana as her father pursued his career as a civil engineer, having previously spent 18 years in San Francisco designing steel structures after the 1907 earthquake. During her school years, she played violin in the high school orchestra and clarinet in the band.
The start of WWII interrupted her education at Ball State Teachers College, but provided her life-long partner, Melville Dalton. After the war she was able to finish her degree in Fine Arts at Kansas University, where her husband had joined the faculty. During this period Dottie created many paintings, sculptures, and ceramic pieces which her family members retain.
When husband Mel's career took the family to UCLA, a new home was established in Santa Monica, California, where Dottie lived for the next 49 years, raising two children; Lois and Dirk. Her many skills included sewing and she created all of Lois's dresses for school dances as well as all Halloween costumes for her children and grandchildren. She loved making the yard bloom year round with colorful flowers. She helped neighborhood kids learn to play instruments, piano primarily, but also clarinet and guitar.
Her many talents included home design. She realigned the Santa Monica house, adding two bathrooms, a bedroom, family room and a remodeled kitchen. After Mel's diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease she spent the next 14 years as a caregiver. A few years later she designed and had built a guest residence behind the house with all amenities. This is where the nurse lived who assisted during the last 12 years of her husband's failing health until his death at 71.
After Mel's death, which left an emptiness, she took a position in the Admissions Office of the local college. She was beloved by all who knew her. She got on well with everyone, was always helpful, and had an engaging smile. She maintained her music interests, playing piano duets with a friend, participating in a string quartet on viola, and joining with others in a recorder group.
She maintained throughout her life, an interest in politics and had hoped to see a woman elected president, but agreed, philosophically, that women had certainly seen a great many gains.
In 2002 she moved, along with her son, Dirk, to Nebraska to be near Lois and did not regret the return to her birth state. She loved the sunsets, clean air, friendly people, and beautiful trees. She also found a new string quartet to delight her later years.
She is survived by her daughter Lois Dalton, and grandchildren: Sabrina Nelson and Scott Nelson, all of Lincoln, step-daughter-in-law Marilyn Dalton, step-grandchildren: Jeff Dalton, Kevin Dalton, Leslie Salo and Matt Dalton of Ohio and step-granddaughter Cindy Dalton of Maryland, also nephews and nieces in Indiana, Missouri, Illinois and Wisconsin. She was preceded in death by husband Melville Dalton, son Dirk Dalton, and step-son Bruce Dalton.
Cremation, Aspen Cremation & Burial Service. Celebration of life reception: 2-4 p.m. Sunday, July 22, at Wyuka Cemetery 'Stables' Reception Hall.