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Out of the thirteen children born to Vincent and Lillian (Heitkamp) Guettler of Fort Pierce, Florida, Dorothy Florence came almost in the middle – five older siblings, seven younger, including a set of twins.
Both of Dorothy’s parents were Minnesota natives; Vincent was born in Cologne, while Lillian came from the nearby town of Carver. They met at a Firemen’s Picnic in Cologne. Lillian came from a Lutheran family and, knowing her father would never permit her to marry a Catholic, moved to Florida when Vincent and his family did. She worked for a year, converted to the Catholic faith, and on November 18, 1926, the two were married. In time, in addition to Dorothy, Betty, Gerald, Paul, Patricia, Jeanie, Edward, Dolores, Bernard, Margaret, Teresa, Kathleen and Karl came into the family.
Vincent worked in the family business, the Peerless Ice Cream Co., which was co-owned by his father, himself, and two of his brothers, for some twenty years until the factory was sold and he became a citrus grower. As for Lillian, she was an excellent cook and baker, especially noted for her skill in making kuchen, the traditional German cake. She passed her household expertise on to her children, and much more besides: “My mother’s qualities of gentleness, patience, risk-taking, courage and deep faith were given to her children,” Sister Dorothy wrote in her autobiography.
Read more about Sister Dorothy (PDF)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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