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The Paul Mortuary

390 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA

OBITUARY

Dorothy Marie Owen

January 17, 1932March 24, 2020

Mrs. Dorothy (Sullivan) Owen, widow of Dr. William E. Owen of St. Ansgar, Iowa, age 88, died peacefully in her sleep on March 24, 2020, in Pacific Grove CA.

Born January 17, 1932, on a farm east of Osage IA, Dorothy was the third child of Harold and Marie Sullivan. She attended nursing school in Sioux City and Mason City IA, receiving her diploma as a Registered Nurse in 1965. After several years of practice in her profession, including serving as the Winneshiek County (Iowa) Public Health Nurse from 1965 to 1971, she studied at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN becoming one of the first Pediatric Nurse Practitioners in the United States. She was also certified as a Physician Assistant.

Following graduation from Mayo in 1972, she joined Dr. William E. Owen in his medical practice in St. Ansgar IA, where they worked as a team to provide medical care to the northern Iowa, southern Minnesota community until their retirement in 1984. They married in July 1975 at Sacred Heart Church in Meyer IA, and were married for 27 years.

Dorothy was a long-time resident of Iowa until 2004 when she spent one year in Kentucky providing nursing care to impoverished Appalachians, then moved to Pacific Grove CA where she continued to provide private nursing care for people with health limitations. Her love of public health and service to others gave her great joy. Dorothy was a tremendous mentor and role model who only aspired to the highest and most exemplary of standards. Her Catholic faith gave her enormous comfort through much adversity.

Dorothy is survived by her dear daughters, Joan M. Hastings of New York City and Dr. Marie (Robert) Tolsma of Lakewood CO, son-in-law William Varner of Naples FL, granddaughter Bridget (Lance) Varner Morel of Westport CT, grandson Nicholas (Juliana) Varner of Cleveland OH, grandsons Dr. John (Paige Alfonzo) Tolsma of Zurich, Switzerland, Dr. Thomas (Brie Slam) Tolsma of Lakewood CO, Aaron S. Tolsma of Denver CO, and great-grandchildren William and Camila Varner, and Taylor Tolsma Greene. Also, surviving are step-sons Dr. William R. (Cynthia) Owen of Wausau WI and Dr. Richard (Paula) Owen of Rochester MN and grandchildren Dr. Amy Owen, Sarah Owen, and Ann and Susan Owen. She has one surviving sister, Mary Clausen of Des Moines IA, beloved sister-in-law Carol Sullivan of Osage IA, special goddaughter Lisa (Keith) Sullivan Cockrum of Osage IA and proudly mentored niece Colleen (Josh) Sullivan Byrnes of Osage IA, like-daughters Susan (Reynold) Jensen Sacquitne of Maple Grove MN and Tricia Tolsma of Lakewood CO, and numerous wonderful nieces, nephews, cousins, and beloved friends including Katherine Vogel, Mary Ann Cusenza and the Cusenza family, and Darlene and Lee Hunt – all of the Pacific Grove CA area, as well as Duane and Marlene Fenstermann of Decorah IA.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband Dr. William E. Owen in 2002, her daughter Patricia Varner in 2003, granddaughter-in-law Dana B. Greene in 2020, her parents, her beloved brother John Sullivan and dear brother and sister-in-law Mark and Helen Sullivan, and brothers Keith and Jerry, step-daughter Patty Owen, grandson Ryan Donovan, and niece Anne Sullivan Laing.

There will be no memorial service though a mass for Dr. and Mrs. William E. Owen will be offered as able to arrange. Dorothy will be cremated with a private family celebration of her life at a future date. Those wishing to send memorials may send mass offerings to St. Angela Merici Catholic Church in Pacific Grove CA.

  • DONATIONS

  • St. Angela Merici Catholic Church

Services

No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

Dorothy Marie Owen

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Darlene Hunt

April 3, 2020

Dearest Dorothy,

There are no words to describe how much you meant to myself and my family or how grateful we will always be for the love, kindness and compassion you showed us.
You are truly one of my favorite human beings. Your faith, humility, wisdom, strength and work ethic were second to none. You lived by example and your spirit will always be an inspiration to me.
So many good memories.....All those big pots of homemade vegetable soup you happily shared—“It may not taste good, but it’s good for you!” as you liked to say. Well, it always tasted good.
It was an honor and a privilege to know you, Dorothy Owen.
You touched so many lives. I’m so blessed to have been one of them. Thank you.
I love you and I miss you.
Darlene Hunt

Nick Varner

April 2, 2020

Dear Grandma, I will miss sharing my life with you in person but the lessons Dr. Owen and you taught me are with me. No amount of time ever feels like enough with someone as special as you. I am so happy that you were able to meet my children in December in Texas, your Great-Grandchildren...and that I was able to see one last time in March. I will tell my children how you never thought about yourself first and put those less fortunate first. You never complained about your lot in life. You woke up every day and did your best to make the world around you a brighter place. You taught me to appreciate what I have and to be gracious and thankful. As you leave, I think of the times we had together like fishing with Dr. Owen on the river in St. Ansgar, picking Rhubarb together, Dr. Owen and you reading Huckleberry Finn to me, talking to you on the phone, texting you pictures of my kids, and the great walks along the ocean we took together in Monterrey. To me, the world is a darker place now that you are gone. God took an angel from us in you. When my mom passed away, it was hard to put one foot in front of the other. I was in a daze. You were someone I could turn to that could help me through a tough time and I hope I helped you some too.

Grandma, I love you! You did so much for so many people including me and we will do our best to carry on your legacy.

We Love You and thank you!

Nick, Juliana, William and Camila

Bridget Morel

April 1, 2020

Trying to think of a favorite memory of my grandmother is impossible because there are so many! I can still hear her reminding me, “now Bridget, you are my only granddaughter”. I always felt it was a privilege to come from a line of such strong women. Never afraid to break away from the pack and do what they thought was right. I will treasure the memories of our visits to Monterey to see her and to pamper her. She always resisted, but we always won. I think she started to like the pedicures after a while too! We hope that everyone who mourns this special woman will find comfort in the Bible’s message. (Revelation 21:3,4) As for now, we cry, sad to have lost such a giving and loving person. And our comfort comes knowing that we honor her when we imitate her. May we all be as kind and self sacrificing as was Dorothy. We love you Grandma!

Jim and Giovanna (Gigi) Cusenza Rossman

March 31, 2020

Thank you, Dorothy, for being such a dear friend and integral part of our Cusenza family. You lightened and enlightened the spirits of everyone you met.
Here are some of my fondest memories of you;
- coming over often to borrow our largest pot to cook your delicious soups and always return it with enough soup that we could enjoy too.
- Walking our dogs, Spike and Sophie, practically daily at 6 AM making sure they got enough exercise. I was asleep, but Jim was awake
- coming over for dinner on Saturdays with my Aunt Evelyn and joining us in all of our family holiday parties.
And lastly
- Telling me that you were “going to say a nightly prayer for me” when you thought I needed one (which was quite often)
Well, dear friend, I miss you very much and I hope all those prayers for me work because I sure hope to see you again in heaven someday.
All our love, Gigi and Jim

Jim and Giovanna (Gigi) Cusenza Rossman

March 31, 2020

Thank you, Dorothy, for being such a dear friend and integral part of our Cusenza family. You lightened and enlightened the spirits of everyone you met.
Here are some of my fondest memories of you:
- coming over often to borrow our largest pot to cook your delicious soups and always returning it with enough soup that we could enjoy too .
- walking our dogs, Spike and Sophie, practically daily, at 6 am making sure they got enough exercise. I was asleep, but Jim was awake
-coming over for dinner on Saturdays with my Aunt Evelyn and joining us in all of our family holiday parties.
And lastly
- telling me that you were “going to say a nightly prayer for me “ when you thought I needed one (which was quite often)
Well, dear friend, I miss you very much and I hope all those prayers for me work, because I sure hope to see you again in Heaven some day.
All our love, Gigi and Jim

John Tolsma

March 29, 2020

Dear Grandma, I remember 'running away' from daycare when I was like 6 or 7, and with my younger brother Tom. I drew a map in crayons for how to get back home, not more than a mile. You were so mad at me when I got home (you were staying with my dad in Maine while my mom was in the navy reserves for two weeks, to help with us three boys). Then I remember after my punishment (probably having to stay in my room or something) you took me aside and we went through the newspaper and you taught me about stocks and investing. I love and miss you Grandma, you will always be in my thoughts, and I'm a much better person because I was lucky enough to have you in it. Love, John

Joan M. Hastings

March 28, 2020

I love you so much my wise & beautiful, most caring Mother ~ How Blessed I am to have had you as My Mother ~ I Know You went straight to Heaven & You will be with me always ~ Say hello to Dr. Owen & Patty ~ It's not goodbye Momma ~ Its see you later ~ GOD BLESS YOUR SWEET HEART ~ Joanie

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY