Dorothy Marie Oliver, a long-time resident of South Bend, passed away on May 11, 2022. Dottie was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, the second child and only daughter of William H. and Violet [Kratovil] Oliver. In 1929, the family moved to Detroit, where Dottie began elementary school. The family moved to South Bend in 1931, where Dottie completed her education in the first graduating class of John Adams High School. She lived the remainder of her life in South Bend.
Dottie began her work life in the 1940s as a photographer’s retoucher at several different studios, among them McDonald Studio, which is still in business today. Eventually, Dottie became an accomplished photographer herself. Her photos of early scenes at Martin’s Super Market are featured as murals at the entrance of the Mishawaka store on Grape Road.
A woman ahead of her time, Dottie was an entrepreneur who often had more than one business going at once. In addition to retouching, she bought and sold antiques and collectables at flea markets. She also started her own thriving landscaping business on the strength of her expertise, creativity, and strong work ethic. Dottie also could solve almost any gardening or landscaping problem, whether how to treat an unusual plant disease or deciding which tree would thrive in a particular spot. Throughout her career, her own yard was a showplace for her talents. She worked well into her 80s, not wanting to disappoint the loyal clients who depended on her.
Dottie loved wildlife of all kinds, from songbirds to wild critters to her pet cats Sidney and Kelly. She was a strong supporter of the South Bend-Elkhart Audubon Society Wildlife Sanctuary, and she bought birdseed by the 20-pound bag to feed the wild birds in her yard. She could recognize any songbird by sight or by its song.
One of Dottie’s greatest gifts was her ability to put others at ease. She had a natural gift for engaging strangers in conversation. Her family and friends got a kick out of her dry wit. Even the youngest members of the family delighted in her ribbing and learned to dish it right back to her!
Dottie is preceded in death by her parents; her beloved brother and sister-in-law, William W. and Margaret Oliver; her niece Rebecca Oliver Callaway, her nephew-in-law Ken Anderson; and her devoted, life-long friend, Ruth Davis. She is survived by a large and loving family: nieces Cynthia Fiefer (Gil) of Fountain Hills, AZ; Mary Anderson of Independence, MO; Susan Conrad (Allan) of San Antonio, TX; Janet Oliver of Washington, DC; and nephew Tom Oliver of Charleston, SC; as well as five grand nieces and nephews, and several great and great-great nieces and nephews. She also leaves behind dear friends who showed their unfailing devotion to her in many ways in recent years and throughout her life. The family wishes to thank all those who cared for Dottie in the last two years of her life when we could not be with her: the nurses and aides at StoryPoint Granger; the nurses and aides of Traditions Health hospice; and the amazing people of Amber’s Pampered Pets, who have taken such good care of Dottie’s Kitty Kelly.
[A memorial service is pending.] You are invited to sign the guestbook and check back for more details as they will be provided at a later date on Dottie’s page of the Palmer Funeral Homes website, palmerfuneralhomes.com. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Humane Society of St. Joseph County, the Audubon Society, or Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend.
To send flowers to Dorothy's family, please visit our floral store.
Humane Society of St. Joseph County
2506 Grape Road, Mishawaka IN 46545
Potawatomi Zoological Society
500 S. Greenlawn Avenue, South Bend IN 46615
South Bend - Elkhart Audobon Society
PO Box 581, Mishawaka IN 46546