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Life Story / Obituary
Dorothy Flach was a vibrant and generous woman to know and to love. She modeled a life rich with hard work, putting others first, and being a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. Dorothy had a real knack for cooking and baking and could turn any ingredients into a tasting treat over the years. Her warm personality, cheerful demeanor, and nurturing ways will be lovingly remembered by her many special friends and loved ones.
The Thirties were being marked by tough economic times, yet the decade also saw an expansion of new technologies. Aviation, radio, and film were making great strides. In 1936 for example, Kodachrome was invented and remained a leader in both cinematography and still photography for many years. Bringing great joy to their world, Frank and Mary Raith welcomed home their newborn baby girl, Dorothy Mae, on February 29th in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Born on leap year, her birthday was always special. She was later joined by her three younger brothers.
Dorothy lived a typical childhood of the times. Her father was a first-generation immigrant from Germany who worked for the Sutherland Paper Company and her mother was a wonderful homemaker. Her parents instilled in her the value of pitching in around the family home as well as a strong foundation of faith. Studious as well as ambitious, Dorothy graduated with the Class of 1954 from St. Augustine High School. After she graduated high school she worked at Michigan Bell Telephone Company as an Switchboard operator. She and her sweetheart, Gerald Flach, joined in marriage three years later on June 29, 1957, at the beautiful St. Augustine Cathedral in downtown Kalamazoo. Together they raised six wonderful children; five sons and one daughter.
As a mother, Dorothy loved to dote on her children. She was well known in the neighborhood to serve up the most delicious homemade baked goods which drew many of the local kids swarming into her kitchen from time to time! She loved children and her home was always a welcoming place for her kids’ friends to gather for many of their developing years. Dorothy also kept a large garden and loved to share food from her garden with friends and neighbors as well as serve up the fresh vegetables at dinner time! Her kids savored her homemade pizza, dumplings, and her special Christmas cookies. Nearly each and every Sunday, the family spent time at their grandparent’s home visiting and sharing a meal together.
There was never a dull moment in the Flach household! A close-knit family, in addition to their frequent trips to Ramona Park for swimming, they spent many years camping and boating together in the summers and snowmobiling in the winter months. Gerald and the kids would enjoy hunting and fishing together and whatever they brought home, Dorothy was sure to turn it into something marvelous! Her faith was so very important to her that even on their camping trips, Dorothy always made sure they never missed Sunday mass and she never left home without her Rosary. As a matter of fact, Dorothy’s faith was unshakeable. Even in the midst of life’s many trials including the painful loss of her daughter, Mary in 2000, she never gave up hope in her Lord’s promises. Above all, she instilled in her children the value of a hard work ethic and to live their lives with honesty and integrity.
Dorothy shared many special pastimes in her life. Proud of her German heritage, each and every fall, she held a long-standing tradition of attending Frankenmuth’s Oktoberfest with her brothers. She enjoyed a taste of cold beer, but more than anything, she went for the Polka music! Dorothy was known to dance the Polka with any willing partner! In addition to Polka, she loved to square dance in her earlier days. When she wasn’t dancing, she was planning another trip to the next garage sale. She loved a good bargain and taking her time browsing the many items that people put out for sales. Much of the time she loved to reflect back on the memories that unique or antique treasures stirred in her.
Holidays were always a special time for Dorothy. She never missed an opportunity to spoil her loved ones with special gifts she picked for each of them. When grandchildren joined her family, she was filled with joy! She looked forward to their visits and was sure they never went home hungry! Described as a wonderful person who selflessly gave so much of her time and resources to the family she loved, Dorothy leaves behind a beautiful collection of happy moments and special memories to be cherished for generations to come. Sure to be deeply missed, may her loved ones always feel her special presence each and every time they are gathered together.
Dorothy Flach, age 84, of Scotts, Michigan, passed away at Sue’s Loving Care on May 4, 2020. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Gerald, and her daughter, Mary. She is survived by her children; Robert (Dawn) Flach, Dennis (Donna) Flach, David (Heather Gorning) Flach, John (Pam) Flach, Steve (Susan) Flach; ten grandchildren; thirteen great-grandchildren; her brothers; Gerald Raith, Franklin (Marti) Raith, Richard (Julie) Raith. Private services have taken place. A Memorial Mass will be held at a later date at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Kalamazoo. Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Please visit Dorothy’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook. Memorial Contributions may be made to St. Mary’s Catholic Church or to The Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis.