Dorothy Virginia Walker Wadsley was born Oct. 3, 1915, in Mound City, Mo., the fifth of five children. Her parents were Rev. J. H. and Lora Hennessey Walker. The family moved to Danbury, in 1917 when Dorothy was 2 years old. In subsequent years, she moved with her family as her father served churches in Dayton, Rolfe, Sioux City, and in Early, where Dorothy graduated from high school in 1931. She attended Morningside College in Sioux City, majoring in English, and she graduated from there in 1936. Following graduation, she taught school in the Eden Township Country School between Schaller and Storm Lake for one year, and then she taught 7th and 8th grades and 4th grade geography for three years at Lone Rock.
On May 25, 1940, Dorothy married Ivan Wadsley in her parents' home in Gowrie. They came home to a farm between Early and Nemaha, where they raised five children and lived for 57 years. They moved to Oak Terrace Estates in Sac City in 1997. Ivan moved to Park View Care Center in 2000, where he died in 2005. Dorothy moved to Park View in 2006. Becoming the wife of a farmer had its share of challenges for Dorothy, but she liked to be outdoors and she quickly learned the fine points of such things as herding cattle, driving the hay lift tractor, and walking beans. She also spent many hours washing eggs and packing them into crates. Dorothy loved to have company, and was delighted whenever relatives, friends, and even strangers dropped by the house for a visit.
Having grown up as the daughter of a Methodist minister, becoming involved in church work as an adult was natural to her. She was a charter member of the Women's Society of Christian Service, in which she held several offices, and she taught Sunday school and Bible school. She also belonged to the Early Women's Club and for several years belonged to the Nemaha Women's Club.
The family took many long trips, and through the years, Dorothy and Ivan traveled to all of the 48 continental states except Rhode Island and Vermont, and to most of the Canadian provinces. They also took two trips to Europe.
In recent years, Dorothy often commented that she had lived the life of which she had dreamed. In an essay she wrote in second grade, she said that what she wanted when she grew up was to marry a nice man and have a bunch of children. She realized those dreams.
The English language was always an element of importance to Dorothy. She was a skillful writer, she gave clever speeches at meetings, she taught her children to use the language well, and she was an expert at working crossword puzzles. She also read, and she was well-informed throughout all her life. When the children were young, Dorothy sewed for the family, and after they were grown, she spent her time crocheting afghans and making quilts. Many people were the recipients of her beautiful handiwork.
Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents; her siblings, Ruth Steele, Rev. Harvey Walker, Charlotte Baker, and Marjorie Mason; and by her husband, Ivan, who died on Dec. 19, 2005. She is survived by her children: Virginia Wadsley of Des Moines; Barbara Willett and her husband, Gary, of Jefferson; Mary Wadsley of Staten Island, N.Y.; Joe Wadsley and his wife, Julie, of Early; and Carol Wadsley of Storm Lake; grandchildren, Brent Willett and his wife Liberty, of Perry; Karmen Gruhn and her husband, Jason, of Belle Plaine, Minn.; and Jason Wadsley and his wife, Beth, of Belle Plaine, Minn.; and great-grandchildren, Trevor, Derek, and Tyler Gruhn; Jeanette and Ivan Willett; and Landon Wadsley.
Funeral services were held Monday, July 26th at the United Methodist Church in Early. Burial was at the Early Union Cemetery under the direction of the Farber & Otteman Funeral Home.