Dorothy Kuhlman

Monday, December 5, 2016 6:07 pm

Dorothy Kuhlman, 104, died of natural causes at the Aase Haugen Nursing Home Oct. 31, 2016, where she had been a resident since 2010. She was 36 days short of her 105th birthday at the time. A memorial service is Dec. 10, at 11 a.m., at First Lutheran Church in Decorah.

Dorothy Louise “Dee” Kuhlman was born Dec. 6, 1911, in Oak Park, Ill., to Charles and Martha Schiller.  After her father lost his commercial laundry at 815 Forquer Street in Chicago in a tragic ?re, the Schillers moved to a home on Maple Avenue in Oak Park. Following “Dee’s” education at Emerson School and Oak Park High School, she began her career as a sales clerk at Sears and Roebuck Company in Chicago.  During the Great Depression she became the principal support of her family, which included brother Charles, her parents and paternal grandparents. She took a job as secretary to the president of the Chicago and Great Western Railroad, and in the mid-1930s, became chief of the Pass Bureau at the company.  This position afforded her opportunities for many trips on the great luxury passenger trains of the day. In 1941, she married Wilbur William Kuhlman at Saint John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Forest Park. She and “Wil” drove their new 1941 Ford Coupe to Guadalajara, Mexico for their honeymoon. In the mid ‘40s, they became parents of two sons, Charles and William and lived in a “two ?at” with Dorothy’s parents in Forest Park. In 1950 they moved to River Forest, Ill., and Wil pursued his career as executive vice president and treasurer of the Rockwood Company insurance brokerage house in Chicago, where he was a partner for 40 years. Wil and Dee had a great passion for travel and made numerous trips throughout Europe, Central America, the Caribbean and Scandinavia over their 58-year marriage. Dee was an active member of Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest, and served in many volunteer capacities in church and community during those years. She was a “stay-at-home” Mom, an elegant entertainer and an extraordinary cook. In 1974 Wil and Dee moved to Decorah, where they were happily retired until Wil’s death in 2000.  During her active Decorah days, she continued to entertain and socialize vigorously, and participated in many activities at First Lutheran Church as well as serving as president and long-time member of “Luther College Women’s Club” and other local organizations. She greatly enjoyed her residencies at the Arlin Falck Senior Living at the Eastern Star Home, and later at Aase Haugen Senior Living. Happy to the end her mantra was “no complaints!” She continued to be her fun-loving, über-gregarious self throughout her life and “knew no strangers. “Dee” is remembered for her loving devotion to Wil and to her two sons, Charles of Montclair (Margery), New Jersey and William (Yvonne) of Decorah.

She is survived by ?ve grandchildren: Kristin Smith (Timothy) of Russellville, Ark., Sarah Johanns (Christopher) of Minneapolis, Martha Kuhlman (Alex Moffett) of Providence, R.I., Clara Solomon (Jeffrey) of Queens, N.Y., William A.F. Kuhlman of Cambridge, Mass., and six great grandchildren: Noah Smith, Maximillian and Katarina Johanns, Nicholas Moffett, Nadia and Bella Solomon.

Her parents Martha and Charles and her brother, Charles L. Schiller, preceded her in death.

The family is asking for no flowers. Memorial gifts may be directed to Aase Haugen Senior Living or the First Lutheran Church Decorah music endowment fund.

Online condolences may be directed to the family at under Obituaries.

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