Delores "Dee" Volle

January 17, 1931March 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.


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Delores "Dee" Volle

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Kay Wilson

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.

gwen edwards

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

Kristi McGraw

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.

Andrea Monninger

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!

Susie Volle

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.

Kristi Nichols

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

Steve Schroeder

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.

Kim Mcgraw

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!!

Mike Matejka

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.

Kathy Kerestes

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.