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Dorothy Blecha - May 13, 2012


Dorothy Deane Peterson Blecha was born Aug. 18, 1924 near Haigler, Neb. She died May 13, 2012 in Holyoke.

Her parents were Alex Mathew Peterson and Lena Mae Robb. She was the youngest of eight children, having five brothers and two sisters. She spent her early childhood north of Haigler. She attended a one-room schoolhouse through eighth grade and graduated from Haigler High School.

Although wealth diminished the Peterson family, they had many happy and unforgettable days in the sandhills of northwest Dundy County. Some of the most memorable times were spent hunting arrowheads, playing softball and riding horses, as much from necessity as for pleasure. Many joyful nights were spent dancing, and oftentimes she was brought home by her trusty horse, Old Nick.

Following high school, she attended Kearney Teacher’s College, where she received a teaching certificate and taught the next fall. When not teaching, Dorothy enjoyed watching her brothers play baseball.

Romance and baseball seemed to go together for the Peterson family. At any rate, Dorothy took a liking to her brother Carl’s handsome friend and fellow baseball player, Harry Blecha. The liking was mutual, and they were married on Oct. 16, 1943 in St. Francis, Kan. They lived north of Haigler on the home place where their first child, Beverly Sue, was born. Sixteen months later, their first son, Gary De­wayne, was born.

In 1948, the young family moved to Yuma County after purchasing the “Right-Type Stock Farm” in the Wauneta community north of Wray. There, David Stuart and Kelly Lou were born. Not only was Dorothy a full-time mother, she was a full-time teacher in one-room schools, was a 4-H leader, was an original foster parent to high school students and boarded other teachers.

In the early 1960s, she accepted a position as the Wray High School librarian until her retirement in 1979. During this time, she spent summers completing her bachelor’s degree in education at Colorado State College in Greeley.

After retirement, she enjoyed teaching her 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren many of the crafts she loved. They loved coming to the farm to spend time gardening, quilting, painting, sewing, crocheting and embroidery work, as well as many other arts and crafts activities. She made each of her 11 grandchildren a quilt, a Swedish weaving quilt and a painted gourd for their Christmas trees.

She was a member of the National Gourd Society, the Wauneta Quilters, the Wauneta Extension Club and was a charter member of the Calico ’n Cactus Family and Community Education Club. Dorothy displayed her artwork as an Artist of the Month at the Wray Recreation and Rehabilitation Center in November of 2010.

She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Harry; daughter, Beverly Newbanks and husband Parker Jr.; son, Gary and wife Gayle; son, Stuart and wife Dee; daughter, Kelly; 11 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. She will be missed by her family members and many friends.

The funeral service was held May 18 at Wray United Methodist Church, with interment at the Haigler Cemetery.

Memorials may be sent to Wauneta 4-H or to the Wray High School Library.

Spellman-Schmidt Funeral Home in Wray was in charge of arrangements.