Dorothy Irene (Bliss) Matthew was born in her grandmother’s home in Scranton, North Dakota Aug. 22, 1928. She passed away at home with her family in Anaconda, Mont., Oct. 10, 2017.
She was the first child of Irvin H. and Kathryn (Schoen) Bliss. Her mother Katie died when she was five, and Dorothy spent her early years helping raise her two brothers, David and Ralph, on the family farm amidst the struggles of the Great Depression. Her father later married Esther Otto, giving her two beloved half-sisters, Ruth and Leona. She attended a rural, one-room school house where she was the only student in her class, and then boarded in town to graduate from Scranton High School in 1946.
Her father wanted her to be a teacher like her mother, so she earned her teaching certificate at age 18 and started teaching in one-room school houses on the North Dakota prairie, warmed by potbellied stoves, haunted by skunks, occasionally snowbound, serving as her own janitor and surviving on a salary of $140 a month. She returned to college to earn her full certificate and then taught winters in Bridger and Terry, Mont., while working summers full of fun and friends in Yellowstone National Park.
In 1953 she met William R. Matthew, a fellow teacher, in Terry. They married for a lifetime on June 13, 1954. They built a home in Big Timber, Mont. where their two children Roger and Karen where born, and where Bill started a career with the Montana Fish and Game. They lived in state fish hatcheries in Big Timber, Great Falls and Anaconda. Dorothy taught at Morningside Elementary in Great Falls, and Dwyer and Washington Elementary in Anaconda.
Upon retiring, Dorothy pursued a love of reading, travel, book clubs and activities centered around the American Legion Auxiliary, Retired Teachers Association and Delta Kappa Gamma. She golfed with Bill and played with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was a talented quilter, sewer and embroiderer. She was a lifelong Lutheran, with nearly 50 years membership in Hope Lutheran Church.
Dorothy was proceeded in death by her parents, step-mother Esther and her nephew Lyle Bliss.
She is survived by her siblings David (Sharon) Bliss, Ralph (Clara) Bliss, Ruth Newcomer, Leona (David) Ensign; her husband of 63 years Bill; her children Roger (Susan Reisch) Matthew and Karen (Duane) Solberg, and her grandchildren Jessica (Chris) Anderson, Emilie (fiance Billy) Solberg, Jesse Matthew; great grandchildren Bryer and Jase Anderson; and many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.
Services were held 10:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 at Hope Lutheran Church, Anaconda, Mont. There a one hour of visitation prior to the service.
Memorials may be sent to American Legion Auxiliary – Girls State, P.O. Box 1118, Anaconda, MT 59711; Hope Lutheran Church, 1506 W. Pennsylvania, Anaconda, MT 59711; or Anaconda-Pintler Hospice, PO Box 596, Anaconda, MT 59711.
Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral & Cremation Service is entrusted with Dorothy’s funeral arrangements. You may pay your condolences at www.longfellowfinneganriddle.com.