Dorothy Ann (Reinartz) Zender, 79, of Rose Creek, Minnesota, died peacefully with family at her side, on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, at the Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys Campus in Rochester, Minnesota, She lived her last 23 days with a broken heart, after Peter, her beloved husband of 51 years, had passed away on Dec. 23, 2016.
Dorothy was born July 9, 1937, in Austin, Minnesota, the daughter of Carl and Harriet (Reetz) Reinartz. Dorothy grew up in Rose Creek, attended St. Peter’s School, and graduated from Rose Creek High School in 1955. She grew up working in her parents’ business, the Reinartz Café, in Rose Creek. It was there that she met the love of her life, Peter Zender, who was making a delivery from his family’s business, Zender Wholesale, of Austin. Dorothy was playing pool and Peter asked if he could join her. The couple married June 5, 1965.
Dorothy attended Austin Junior College, worked at Kingswood, and then in the office at the Adams Review newspaper in Adams, Minnesota, which Peter owned and operated from 1961-1966. Excluding a few months as a newlywed, Dorothy lived in the same house in Rose Creek throughout her entire life. She was a pillar in the community. When Dorothy’s mother passed away in 1966, Dorothy and Peter became the guardians of Dorothy’s sister June who had a developmental disability. They cared for her as their own until her death in 2003.
Dorothy enjoyed her 30-year career as the administrative assistant at Southland Elementary School in Rose Creek. She loved the teachers, the staff and most of all, she loved “her kids.” In her retirement, she taught music at Sacred Heart Catholic School and worked at Stateline Veterinary Services, both in Adams. She was an Avon representative for many years, and she relished the opportunity to help “her kids” by coordinating the annual Avon fundraiser for Southland High School.
Dorothy was a loving advocate for her sister and all those with disabilities. She was a founding board member of the Cedar Branch D.A.C. in Adams in 1978 and continued to serve on its board of directors until her death. Dorothy was always very active at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, most recently serving on the Finance Committee.
Dorothy’s most precious time was that spent with her family. Nothing made her smile like hugs from her two precious grandkids, who lovingly referred to her as “Nana Roses.” She was happiest when cooking a meal for the family, especially her annual Thanksgiving feast. Dorothy loved phone calls with friends and playing along with TV game shows. She was a lifelong caregiver – from the kids at school to her children and grandchildren, her sister and her husband. All who met her learned quickly that she had a heart of gold and a generous spirit. She will be missed dearly.
Dorothy is survived by her daughters, Jody (David) Allen of Maple Grove, Minnesota, and Jill Zender of Rose Creek; two grandchildren, Ben and Jordyn Allen; other relatives and wonderful friends. She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, June Reinartz; and husband, Peter.
Interment - St. Peter’s Cemetery.
-Austin Daily Herald Online, January 20, 2017
Peter George Zender
June M. Reinartz
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