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Dorothy Mae "Dot" Boettcher

March 1, 1918 August 16, 2020
Dorothy Mae "Dot" Boettcher
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Obituary for Dorothy Mae "Dot" Boettcher

Dorothy Mae “Dot” Boettcher, a resident of Commerce Township and native of Royal Oak, Michigan, died on August 16, 2020 at the age of 102.

She was preceded in death by her husband, William “Bill” Boettcher, in 2003, and an infant daughter, Julia Margret Boettcher.
She is survived by her daughters, Marcia Boettcher, Jan (Gary) Bornemeier, Sally (Peter) Schmitt, Mary (John) Muller, and Lori Boettcher; grandchildren, Jody (Nathan) Reynolds, John Johnson (Caitlin Weaver), John Muller, Teresa Muller, and Jim Muller; great grandchildren, Evan and Owen Reynolds, Kensley Mae Johnson; sister, Phyllis Kersnick (the late Bob), and many nieces, nephews, extended family members and dear friends.

Woodrow Wilson was president in 1918, the year Dorothy Mae was born. He would be one of many names she would recite each night. You see, instead of counting sheep, Dorothy recited the presidents’ names to help her drift off to sleep. She witnessed countless wars, medical advances and the industrial revolution in her 102 years. Born to Edith and Ameil Peterson, she was the oldest of three beautiful daughters. She was born in Chicago, and raised in Manistique and Royal Oak Michigan. Although her formative years were during the Great Depression, she had fond memories of playing with the neighbor children, her mother's scalloped potatoes and reading poetry by her pollywog pond. She reported to have had two dresses and one pair of shoes during the depression, all of which would regularly be dyed different colors depending on the occasion.

Dorothy graduated from Royal Oak High School at the top her class, an athlete and class president. She worked for Detroit Edison in Pontiac until she married, because, in the 1940's a married woman didn't work outside the home. Dorothy lost her first husband, Bud, to World War II. She met her husband Bill of 55 years through mutual friends and married in 1948. Bill and Dorothy had 6 daughters, losing their last daughter, Julia, shortly after birth. They provided a loving home and magical environment filled with friends, swimming and outdoor adventures. A sharp dresser with a keen sense of style, Dorothy would ensure her five girls were all dressed and accessorized to the 9's. Bill and Dorothy were strong on education at a time when females were traditionally not encouraged to go beyond high school.

Dorothy loved to bird watch, garden, read and watch ice skating. During her winters in Florida, Dorothy practically weeded her entire retirement community. She had a talent for making things more beautiful.

Dorothy was an avid Scrabble player and taught many of her family members to be respectable players. She had a knack for winning the game in such a dignified way that her opponent was too impressed to be frustrated. Her favorite high-score word was quiz.

Dorothy had five grandchildren and three great grandchildren. She and Bill watched their grandchildren often during summers, giving them memories to cherish in the woods, at the lake and around the kitchen table. She would regularly get lost in the clothing racks of department stores, shopping for the grandkids’ back-to-school fashion necessities. At barely 5 foot in her prime, Dorothy was easy to lose, and more than once, department store personnel had to page her so her grandkids could retrieve her.

Dorothy exuded kindness and concern for everyone, regardless of background, color, socioeconomic status or any other defining characteristics. Dorothy wanted everyone to see the best in each other, and she wanted everyone to love each other the way she unconditionally loved everyone she met.

The sparkle and kindness in her eyes never dulled in all of her 102 years. She graced us all of us with her beauty, wit and wisdom. She will live on in our hearts and through the love we show to others.

A memory from her oldest granddaughter:
Grandma played solitaire every morning at the kitchen table to keep her mind sharp, and we can all agree that worked wonderfully! She taught me her solitaire tricks, which were really time savers more than tips for winning. Grandma explained, study the tableau before you begin, and look for two scenarios: A tableau containing all the same color, or a tableau with double numbers, such as two sevens. If you have either, re-deal and save yourself the time. Why? Because it’s extremely unlikely those hands will win, so why not move forward and give yourself a better chance at a favorable outcome? This lesson has followed me through life. It doesn’t mean to take the easy route. It doesn’t mean to give up. It means that, when you know a route is unnecessary and leads to an unfavorable, unpleasant ending, choose a different path! Write a new story that’s a positive one. Enjoy the best in everything.

A memory for her youngest granddaughter:
I lived with grandma for a little while in my undergraduate years of college. She offered me a place to stay when I had late work nights and early morning classes in Detroit. I often did not see her because she would be long asleep when I arrived, and likewise I left before she woke. Every time I came over I would come to find the same sight. An empty bowl lightly filled with a pink liquid sitting in the sink… the remains of an eaten bowl of Strawberry Ice Cream, her favorite. She always knew the days I came over, and yet she never tried to hide her indulgence. I would also come over to find a clean mug on the counter sitting next to a fresh tea bag. She would leave that out for me, knowing that I made myself a cup of tea in the morning. At the time, these seemed like funny and sweet little quirks, which they were, but in fact they were lessons that I will never forget. Grandma always enjoyed herself and did not deprive herself of what brought her joy, like dessert. She did what made her happy! However that wasn’t followed with selfishness. She never forgot to care for those around her and made sure that we too were enjoying life. She would tell us to “go live our lives! And stop spending so much time with a no fun, old lady like her.” She loved her family and always wanted the best for us. A true gem. 

A memory from her middle grandson:
I always remember my Grandmother being a kindhearted soul with a big heart. I am very grateful for the role she played in my life, and know that I will always be a better person because of her support and inspiration.

A memory from her middle grandson:

I always remember my Grandmother being a kindhearted soul with a big heart. I am very grateful for the role she played in my life, and know that I will always be a better person because of her support and inspiration.

Sentiment from oldest grandson
I loved Grandma’s relationship with Grandpa. They loved each other unconditionally. But they drove each other crazy with two polar opposite traits: Grandpa loved to keep things, but Grandma loved throwing them away even more. As grandkids, we would chuckle to ourselves… Did Grandma really throw that item away, or did Grandpa just forget where he put it?

Memory from her youngest grandson
Grandma was alway selfless to the point of usually telling us to go home because we've "done our duty" or because she "must be boring us" (good sense of humor) when we visited. However she was still pretty competitive if you got her into a game of Scrabble; she'd always pull out the best words at the worst times, for the rest of us, like it was nothing. For my own ego I'd have to wonder if she was cheating sometimes, but I know she was just too sharp to lose.

A Private Graveside Service will be held at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, in Southfield.
For further information please contact Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, Milford, at 248-684-6645 or visit


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