Dorothy Lillian (Ritter) Pearson, age 90, of Spearfish, S.D., passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on March 4, 2012.
Dorothy was born on March 30, 1921, near Dupree to the farm family of Edward and Margaret (Comstock) Ritter. She grew up on the family farm and attended a nearby country school. While working at the Stroppel Hotel in Midland, in 1945, she met her future husband, Palmer Pearson.
Dorothy and Palmer were married March 2, 1946, and made their home on their ranch north of Philip. To this union five daughters were born, Donna, Karen, Kathy, Paula and Betty (who died in infancy). They made their home on the ranch for 30 years. During this time, Dorothy was an active member of the Hilland Lutheran Church, the Hilland Lutheran Church Women’s group and the Get Together Extension Club. She was also greatly involved in supporting the Elbon Country School that her daughters attended and was a leader of the Haakon County Farmer’s Union Youth Program. She received honors for this work.
In 1976, Dorothy and Palmer retired to a small acreage north of Spearfish. During the next 20 years they traveled extensively and Dorothy thoroughly enjoyed having a large garden and sharing produce with family and friends; as well as continuing her tradition, from the ranch years, of cooking and serving large and delicious meals to the numerous friends, relatives and neighbors who were frequently stopping by to visit and spend time playing cards. She was known by all who knew her as a wonderful cook and baker.
In her later years, Dorothy lived in Spearfish and became a founding member of the Our Savior’s Lutheran church quilting group. Quilting was a passion of hers and everyone in her large extended family and their children and grandchildren have “Grandma Dorothy” quilts. In addition to these gifts, she made many quilts to share with folks who needed them. In cooperation with the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Program, she made more than 200 quilts that were given to shelters and women and children in need across the United States, Russia, Canada and Scandinavia – the message being that everyone has a gift that can make life better for someone else.
Dorothy loved to travel, play all kinds of card and board games and the light of her life was her family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Grateful for having shared her life are her children, Karen Pearson, Kathy Willuweit and Paula (Rick) Farley; grandchildren, Keith Quick, Kirby (Jessica) Quick, Josh (Sacha) Farley and daughter Sophie, Jared (Katie) Farley and children Zakaryah, Zaiden and Zandria; step-grandchildren, Amber Willuweit and sons Christian and Will and Corrinne (Dan) Temple and daughter, Autumn; sisters, Ella (Duane) Erickson and Esther Miles; sister-in-law, Florence Glassgow; brother-in-law, Emil Magnuson; and numerous nieces and nephews and their families.
Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband, Palmer; daughters, Donna Quick and Betty in infancy; her sister, Alice Escott; and brothers, Floyd and Bob Ritter.
Funeral services were held Tuesday, March 6, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Spearfish with Pastor Karen Matuska officiating.
Graveside services followed at the Masonic Cemetery in Philip.
Memorials in honor of Dorothy may be given to the Quilting Group at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Spearfish or to the Palmer and Dorothy Memorial Scholarship fund at the Philip High School.