Dorothy Brown, 94, former Homer Homemaker of the Year, died peacefully June 20, 2015, in Fargo, N.D., from stroke complications. She is survived by numerous offspring, including 12 of her 15 children and several great-great grandchildren.
Born May 29, 1921, Dorothy Katherine Schulte, the youngest of an extended German Catholic farm family of 22 children from Golva, N.D., Dorothy had a natural affinity for babies. She came to Alaska in 1941 with her husband Ralph Slone, a radio operator for the Civil Aeronautics Agency (now FAA), stationed in Anchorage. Evacuated with her two infants in 1942 when the Japanese invaded the Aleutians, she returned in 1944 to join Ralph at his new station in McGrath where she was a homemaker for 10 years, adding children, until the family transferred to Homer. In 1959 she was selected as Homer Homemaker of the Year. Shortly thereafter Ralph and a younger son drowned while commercial fishing in Cook Inlet.
Dorothy relocated the remaining 12 children to Valley City, N.D., where they could attend a Catholic school and where she subsequently married a local electrician, Loren Brown (deceased), and had two more children. With her children grown, Dorothy devoted the last half of her life in Valley City to cooking for the local hospital staff and patients, ultimately having prepared tens of thousands of meals for them and her own family. As always, Dorothy’s apparent greatest pleasure was from the presence of her children and grandchildren, especially at picnics where she could prepare the food to energize their excited activities.
Afflicted in late life from numerous physical ailments after a lifetime of labor in the service of others, and with her house empty of children, Dorothy was finally persuaded to move into an assisted-living apartment in Fargo, finishing life in the company of her own generation while also enjoying visits from her adult children and grandchildren.
As a product of the Depression, raised by a family inured to work, sustained by a lifetime faith in God, buoyed by a natural serenity and sense of acceptance, Dorothy always bobbed back to the surface after enduring her allotment of life’s ordeals, taking great care to maintain her appearance and dignity until the very end.