Delores "Dee" Volle
January 17, 1931 – March 14, 2020
Dee was born Jan 17th, 1931. Her given name was Delores Jean Cushman. She was born in Bloomington to very young parents, Olive and Vincent Cushman. They lived with Vincent’s parents and his three brothers. They moved from the Welsh Community of Rewey, Wisconsin after a house fire. They were grocers, which was helpful during the Depression. Her mother Olive played piano for the Christian Church where they worshipped. They eventually got their own house. When Delores was 10 yrs. old, her sister Sherry was born. They moved to different houses and finally settled in the house attached to the Miller Park Store, north of the zoo. By this time Delores was 20 years old and a student at ISNU. Her second sister Judy was born to Olive and Vincent. When Delores was 14, she contracted Polio. The prescribed therapy was swimming. As a student at ISNU, her extracurricular work was diving. Coach Pop Horton was impressed with her diving skills. She helped celebrate the opening of numerous public pools in Bloomington. In the summer, she interned at a summer camp for disabled children at Lake Bloomington. She met Frank Volle through college friends. They eloped in 1953. They honeymooned in New York City. Frank and Delores moved to Washington State where he received his Masters in Psychology. From there, they moved to Denver where he earned his Ph. D in Clinical Psychology. He co-founded the Denver Mental Health Center. Delores was working there part-time administering tests to his client children. Their daughter, Susan was born in Denver, in 1963. Delores maintained a special friendship that began in her college days. Her best friend of many years was Liesha Stein. From Liesha, she learned about Jewish culture. She also learned how to make awesome Jewish Rye bread. The Jewish teaching carried over to Susan’s upbringing where she spent her extracurricular time at the Jewish Community Center and Summer Camp. Delores and Frank did not attend worship services. They lived in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood in Denver. Susan attended weekly Catholic Mass with her friends and future Godparents, next door. Frank and Delores had friends and colleagues in the Psychology world. They hosted an annual sing-a-long party with their friends and colleagues from Univ. of Denver. They hosted Thanksgiving dinner every year with friends from University Hospital . Delores made her famous oyster stuffing. Delores was a generous person, in Denver. When Susan brought her friend Charlie to her because he had no shoes, Delores bought him a pair of shoes. When Susan’s Nana could no longer eat because of dental problems, Delores arranged and paid for her to have dentures. She did many other things for friends and neighbors. In 1977, the family moved back to Normal. Frank had authored a couple of books and became a faculty member at ISU. Susan attended U-High. After Susan graduated in 1981, she returned to Denver to be with her Godparents and attend college. During this time, another important woman came into Delores’s life. A former professor from ISNU, Ana Keaton. She became part of the family. Frank and Delores divorced in the 80’s. Delores moved into Ana’s house on Hovey and adopted the name “Dee”. Dee and Ana only had a few years together when Ana had a stroke Dee insisted on bringing her home so she could take care of her. Ana died at home. Dee inherited the house. Ana introduced Dee to volunteering at United Methodist Church where Ana was a member. Dee loved to volunteer “anywhere and everywhere”. She was a member of Friends of the Library at Milner and countless other organizations. Art and music were very important to Dee. Not many people saw the inside of her house which was full of art. She had an eclectic taste for music. She listened to anything from classical music to opera. As a young mother she played Spanish guitar and piano. She always believed Thank You notes were important. She started taking clippings out of them paper and sending them to those who were mentioned. It was a charming gesture which was appreciated by many. Letters to friends had become her primary connection to the outside world.
- Faith in Action
Delores "Dee" Volle
January 31, 2021
The photo of Dee was the day the kids from St. John's Lutheran church came to paint her house. She was so excited, even more when she got to pick out the color. What a glorious day it was for her. She had to know where they were from, and what they were going to do after school, what college.
I first met Dee at Tamara's estate sale about 15 years ago. She always had her hat on, what a cute sight. Dee had so many stories about her life, which were all true. Through the years at different times i would help her clean, mow her yard, take her for groceries, get medicine. I always made sure she had a cherry tomato plant on her back porch.
On her 87th birthday i went over to take her out, she wasn't home. I knew she was at the driver license to get her new license. In I go, at the counter talking with 2 men clerks is Dee. They were so enthused with her story, they never heard me walk up. Oh my the jokes she had to tell, she had them chuckling.
I have so many memories of times with Dee, such a very special lady. She taught me things no one else ever did.
That my ideas even though they might work and be good ones, that others ideas just might work & be better.
Don't insist for people to do it only your way!!❤❤
Always send a thank you card!❤❤
I finally found your grave, such a beautiful place and plaque!!
My wish for you Dee, is you didn't suffer in your passing, you didn't die alone. ❤❤🙏🙏
I shall see you in Heaven one day dear friend. We will look for those butterflies together!❤
For those that want to contact me.
January 17, 2021
Dearest Dee ... Happy Heavenly Birthday, my dear friend. Today, we would be baking your favorite noodle kugel and gathering our gifts to bring to your door. All the loving thoughts about you written before today are so very true. Your generous gift of encouragement to all who knew you was legendary. (I have saved most of your notes!) You used to say, given half a chance, most people are kind -- so true -- and those sentiments express your humble heart, as well.
When we first moved to town some seventeen years ago, we met at the Bloomington Library and spent time at the Book and Socrates Clubs. We shared many thoughts and enjoyable evenings with all of the wonderful members. You graciously introduced me to the women in Home Sweet Home Women's Auxiliary and the Women's Club. Anytime we would meet in town, you would take the opportunity to introduce me to whomever you were with. Being miles away from family, you said you'd be happy to be my Aunt!
Selfishly, I miss our hours long conversations where you would begin with a hello and a story and then say: "Your turn!" I'd be so wrapped up in your tale that I would not be prepared for my turn quite so quickly! Your mind was fertile ground for discussing faith, history, science, and a topic that took up gobs of time -- forgiveness. When your friends became ill and passed on, you would say how grief is work. It surely is. It's taken me this long to be able to sit down and write to you without tears flowing.
You kindly asked about each member of my family everytime we spoke and talked so much about leaving behind stories of our lives for our loved ones! (I must get started!)
We were all so happy when you could join us for a birthday here or a supper there; but, my favorite day was tea with you in your dining room. What is dear to me about you will remain in my heart forever. May our dear Lord shine His Light upon you till we meet again. I love you, Dee! 17 January 2021
Ruth Ann Lipic
December 17, 2020
I just learned of Dee’s passing when my Christmas card was returned. So checking the obits I see we were driving back from Florida at that time in March as the world shut down. Oh Dee.....you are a dear. I am so glad I told her many times over. What a lady! I have many notes from this angel. Now you can rest —- but I know you are still caring and loving and praising others sharing heaven with you. I will never forget you. You taught me to try to be a better, more loving person —like you, sweet angel. We will miss you still. Ruth Ann Lipic
October 23, 2020
I just learned of Dee's death today, which saddens me. She died on the day Normal Public Library shut down for COVID, and I was out of town during those months and did not see the obituary. Dee was one of my favorite patrons. Her interests were vast and varied, and I always enjoyed tracking down information for her. When she learned that I sing in a choir that performs primarily folk music from other countries and traditions, she asked me about it every time we spoke. I think she even went to Champaign to attend a concert, and bought a CD. I was the recipient of many of her news clippings. When she was no longer able to get out to the library, we had many interesting phone chats when something popped into her head that she just had to know! We had a long-standing agreement that we would meet at Green Gables some night for hamburgers -- alas, it never happened. She was a wonderful character in the best sense of the word. My sympathy to her family and friends.
May 15, 2020
Dee was such a special lady!
We met through the Red Hat lunch days, Woman’s Club and other gatherings, but we grew to be just plain friends.
She was so knowledgeable and I loved hearing her stories of this area!
She always wanted an update on my children and grandchildren!
Her memory always amazed me!
I loved her and I really miss her phone chats and notes.
She never let on she was ill!
God just received another Angel!
May 11, 2020
Susie sorry for loss of your mother, Dee, she was one of a kind with her stories and then I would have to tell a story. I met her about 3 years ago. Transporting her home from advocate a few times and we became friends. I’d do errands for her, help her clean and organize whatever she needed. Oh I took my grandson over a few times. She loved holding him. Mostly. Sit and talk, then get postcard or note a day later. Ha. I went weekly. I feel like I know you Susie. She spoke of you a lot. If you need anything let me know
May 5, 2020
Dee was very vocal about her love of the non-profit Faith in Action of Bloomington-Normal. As mentioned in the obituary, Dee was very generous with thank you notes to our office. Some of the thank you notes were followed by a phone call. Who wouldn't want to talk to Dee?
What a ray of sunshine!
My mother, Sabina Funk, taught art. Dee and Sabina were good friends.
May God wrap his arms around Dee and comfort her.
Sherry McGraw McGraw
May 1, 2020
MY big sister, Delores, was indeed one of a kind. SHe was very talented in many areas, generous to everyone she met,
Was such a good role model to her family & friends. There was nothing she wouldn’t do to help another in need. If you ever had a problem, she was such a sympathetic listener. I was fortunate to grow up in a family w her as someone to always count on & admire. She will never be forgotten & leaves loving memories to all who were to be friends w her. I miss our years of growing up together...& so happy I was able to call her my “big sister.”
March 20, 2020
Dee was both a caring and an eccentric woman. She was a very private person and I learned more about her after reading her obituary than I ever knew before. While I was caring for my late husband Tom, who had dementia, she would stop by from time to time without any notice to take me out to eat and to stop at a garage sale or two. I am sorry to say that I never treated her to lunch. If an article about anyone in my family appeared in the local paper, she would write a note and enclose it, along with any photo in the envelope. She would never answer phone calls but we exchanged letters this winter twice and she seemed very sharp even then. Her kindness and her unique personality will be missed.
March 20, 2020
Dee was unforgettable to me. Met her in NPL Book Club years ago, until Xmas she never ever forgot me or my family. Notes, letters, books, magazines, a most special special friend, always. I miss you already, Dee. much love, Gwen
March 20, 2020
I’m so sorry to hear of Aunt Delores’ passing. I have a special memory of your Mom, Susie. As you know, she was passionate about the arts. One Christmas at Grandma Cushman’s house, Aunt Delores presented me with a deluxe painting set... I remember all the watercolor paints, canvas and brushes.... the works. And I remember her explaining to me how important expressing our creativity is. I like to think I’ve continued with that creativity throughout my life. I’m confident she’s looking down on all of us from above and smiling, knowing the impact she made on us at different times in our lives.
You will continue to be in my prayers Susie.
March 19, 2020
I met Dee through the local camera clubs. She was supportive when I was just starting out. She said she could recognize my images by their style-something I was still learning to grasp. She once invited me into her home and I was amazed by the books and art she had. She was truly an amazing woman. God Bless Her!
March 19, 2020
Thank You Kim and all of my family. Love you all.
What sweet stories I'm reading about Mom's friends! They bring me much comfort.
March 18, 2020
I met Dee at a gas station where I worked, I had helped her top off the oil in her car. From there on she would visit me on Sunday nights, I would put out a chair and we would talk and she would charm all of the customers. We often went to Dennys for a late night breakfast; we talked for hours-she had the best stories. She would also visit me at my other job at ISU. She loved talking to all the students, and she knew so many of the faculty. I learned so much from my friendship with Dee; she was one in 3 million. I love you Dee
March 18, 2020
I met Dee as a spicy funny lady in a hat at Bloomington 101. The firemen dressed her up in gear to spray the fire hose. That was classic!! Months later I noticed that a tree had fallen on a house by my home. I stopped to offer to remove it. It was Dee's house. She trusted me to sit and visit on her front porch. We did that endlessly in the past two years. We grew quite close. I didn't want to see an older lady with no one to talk to. I now see she had many friends. I began taking her trash to the curb for her every other week. That is now over but I'm happy that I will be reminded of her every week for the rest of my life. I miss you my Friend. Yes you are a Survivor and always will be.
March 18, 2020
Sue, I am so sorry for your loss. I am enjoying reading these memories. Please let me know if you need anything. We love you!!
March 18, 2020
Dee was a special & delightful friend. She often picked up books or art for me and would call me to come by her home. We were "postcard buddies" - I would send her postcards while traveling, often receiving one from her when I returned home. She also often sent little notes with clippings. With a special needs daughter, she had a great concern for our family and was always inquiring, but always with much praise for us as parents. We often met at community events -- we always had a hug, kiss & a big smile. She was not afraid to dance and to celebrate life in all of its dimensions. She was a community treasure we dearly loved and will miss.
March 18, 2020
Dee was much more than a kind and giving woman. She was my friend! I’ll miss her terribly.! While the past few years were very difficult for her she was a survivor, as she reminded me many times, and did not complain of her situation. Always independent and strong she respected everyone else’s opinion. A true academic. Her Honesty and integrity were foremost .
Susie, please let me know if you need help.
March 17, 2020
Dee was a wonderful influence on our lives with her love of humanity and her love and compassion for animals. when we were losing our 8 year old girl Doberman (Morgan) to Wobbler's syndrome, Dee met her at a yard sale we were having that Summer. She was so affectionate to our little girl, caressing her and talking to her. After we lost Morgan a month or so later, Dee heard about it and found our address. She sent a lovely card with a kind note to us. That was such a marvelous thing...thank you dear Dee. We love you.
March 17, 2020
Dee and I met at Crossroads Handcrafts of The World. I was a shop volunteer and Dee was a customer who soon became a friend. I treasured the notes and clippings she sent to me at the store, and even more, I treasure the memory of lively, insightful, conversations we shared. She was an always interesting and generous-spirited woman. I will miss her.
March 17, 2020
My kitchen cupboard has a corner filled with notes from Dee and clippings from the past 25 years. She had a gift for spreading love, appreciation and instilling confidence. Dee was a treasure and I will miss her. 💜
March 17, 2020
I'm sure Dee is reorganizing where ever she is. Dee had the ability to make a person feel so important and what they were doing was so important. I cherish my time with her and my memories.
March 17, 2020
Dee was a real joy and a jewel in our community. She took an active interest in many causes from A to Z For is it was supporting Ambucs and the zoo. We and many others will miss her spirited wit.
Deanna Frautschi and Alan Bedell