Focusing on fun—and family history

Dorothy KrogenDorothy has a Bucket List she’s working her way
through. The last big item is a hot-air balloon ride, and she’s determined to take that ride. She also vows never to go a day without having fun.

Raised on a farm in Killdeer, North Dakota, Dorothy graduated from high school in 1948 and then took a summer course at Dickinson College, a teacher’s college.

“They were so short of teachers back then,” recalls Dorothy, “that you could just take a summer course and teach in a country school.”

After she received her teaching credentials, a friend introduced her to the school board president of a small school. She was hired on the spot to teach five students: a
first-grader, a fourth-grader, two seventh-graders, and one eighth-grader.

That’s where Dorothy met her future husband. “It’s a funny story. This young man rode up on his horse and saw me standing on the porch in a blue dress. … The rest is a
long story.”

Dorothy married this young man in the spring of 1950 and moved to his farm. Together, they raised three children.

Traveling the world
After retiring, Dorothy and her husband enjoyed traveling. They visited many European countries including Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. They toured Australia and cruised through the Panama Canal.

They also traveled all over Canada and the United States, first with their own fifth-wheeler, then with bus tours.

“My favorite place was New York City. I’ve been there three times. I especially loved the Broadway plays. Australia was also a great trip, particularly when my brother was our tour guide.”

In 1981, Dorothy and her husband started making annual treks to Arizona to escape the North Dakota winters. They made many friends from all over the country.

“We had a wonderful life. My husband and I were married almost 60 years before he passed away in 2009.”

Moving to Touchmark
A few years later, Dorothy decided she wanted to move closer to family, so she moved into a Touchmark cottage in the fall of 2013, not too far from her daughter.

Now Dorothy is near six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, with another on the way.

She lives with Molly, a very talkative cat, who loves bringing in “live gifts” for the two of them to play with. Sometimes, Dorothy posts pictures of Molly and these gifts on her Facebook page.

“Touchmark doesn’t just feel like home, it is home. They offer you everything here. The house is wonderful. The people are nice. I just love it here. I can’t say enough nice things about Touchmark.”

Dorothy continues to go to Arizona in the winter months. “This will be my 34th year,” she says. “Molly and I fly down. I’ll keep going as long as I can.”

Every day is eventful “I sign up for everything that Touchmark has to offer.” She dances, takes riverboat cruises, goes on casino excursions, and visits different restaurants with friends.

She also plays pinochle every day. “I like to beat the boys,” she says with a grin.

“Do I work out in the gym? No, that’s not my favorite thing to do. My favorite thing to do is to write books on my family’s history.”

Dorothy’s lifelong passion
When Dorothy married in 1950, she began using her wall calendar to record daily notes on everything she and her family did. In 1960, she began writing a history of her
family, using those notes. She started out using a manual typewriter and pasting pictures onto the pages. “It’s like an autobiography with pictures,” she explains.

She has since exchanged her typewriter for a computer and now scans her pictures into her digital text document. “Oh my, this is so much easier and faster!”

Besides documenting her immediate family, she also researched ancestors. She traced her husband’s family back to 1534 and her own family to about 1746. “When I’d get little bits of information about their lives, I’d make a story out of it.”

Dorothy recently published her third book of family history, covering the years 2009 through 2013, and will soon start on her fourth.

“It takes a lot of my time, but it’s something I love to do. I will do this as long as I live; as long as I am able to do it.”

Philosophy of life
Like many people, Dorothy has a Bucket List. At 86, she still wants to take a hot-air balloon ride.

“I want to do what I want, and have fun every day for the rest of my life!”