Assisted Living Utah
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December 12, 2018

October Resident Spotlight: Dorothy Bladen

Assisted Living Utah

Summerfield Retirement

Assisted Living Utah

Dorothy Jeffery was born at home, in Delta, Utah on March 7, 1931.  She likes to say she “borned herself” because her father had gone to get the doctor and her mother was home alone when Dorothy made her debut. She was the 2nd child, and 2nd daughter, born to Orvil and Donna Jeffery.  Four brothers would follow Dorothy in the family. Finally, when she was 15, she excitedly welcomed a little sister, Judy. In addition to farming, her father owned and operated the local small-town grocery store. Dorothy grew up on the farm on the outskirts of Delta, but spent a lot of time at the grocery store where her mother worked in the office. She learned to work hard helping at home and in the family business.

Dorothy liked to sew, making many of her children’s clothes when they were young.  She also enjoyed embroidery work. These skills she passed on to her three daughters who, with supervision from Dorothy, sewed many of their own clothes, including dance formals, and, even a wedding dress.  She also enjoys tying quilts. Dorothy has made quilts for each of her grandchildren when they graduated from high school and when they got married. She has made “lots” of quilts.

Dorothy has always had a “lucky” knack for finding four-leaf-clovers and has had quite a collection of them.  Looking through her books, one will frequently come across a four-leaf-clover pressed between the pages.

Dorothy loves music and has a beautiful soprano voice.  As a teenager, she enjoyed being in the high school musicals. Although a bit shy by nature, she had the lead in the musical, “Martha” her senior year, after a friend convinced her to try-out. Dorothy also plays the piano some.  After graduating from Delta High School in 1949, Dorothy pursued her education at Branch Agriculture College in Cedar City where she was also involved in musicals. In her later years, she enjoyed singing and performing with a community women’s chorus, “Blue Notes”. Most importantly, she passed her love of music on to her children and grandchildren, many of whom are quite accomplished singers and pianists, as well as playing other instruments.

It was in Cedar City, while attending college, where Dorothy met and fell in love with her future eternal companion, Elwood Bladen. Elwood left for a tour of duty in Korea with the National Guard during the Korean War. Their romance grew through the letters they exchanged while he was overseas. He returned home in January and they were married June 4, 1952 in the St. George Temple. They spent their first “honeymoon” summer together working in Bryce Canyon. Elwood worked as a mechanic in the bus garage while Dorothy worked in the gift shop. They loved the Southern Utah mountains and canyons and many future family trips would take them back.

TV was a new invention about this time and Dorothy and Elwood moved to Chicago so Elwood could receive training in TV repair. The big-city was a new adventure for this small-town Utah girl who had never been so far from home or family.  After nine months in Chicago, they returned to Delta where their first two children, LuAnn and Tom, were born over the next 2 years. Then came another move, to Logan, so Elwood could return to school, this time studying electrical engineering.  Another daughter, Nancy, joined the family during the Logan years. Finished with school, and with Elwood working a new job, they moved to the Rose Park area of Salt Lake City to settle down, purchase a home and raise their family, which grew to 4 children in 1961 with the addition of daughter, Linda.

An activity Elwood & Dorothy found they really enjoyed together was bowling. They became quite the accomplished bowlers, lining the shelves of their home with many bowling trophies.  Dorothy still enjoys spending time at a bowling alley from time to time.

In 1965, after living in Rose Park for seven years, the family returned to Delta, this time to stay.  Dorothy’s father had purchased a furniture store next to his grocery store in Delta, and asked Elwood to come run the new business.  Dorothy was the bookkeeper and their children adjusted to having a “working” mom. A few years later, they purchased the franchise for the new Sears Catalog store that was coming to Delta. This became their new family business for the next several years. Dorothy and Elwood became very interested in health and nutrition, working as distributors for Shaklee Corporation, promoting and selling natural cleaning products and nutritional supplements.  They were also involved in selling mini-trampolines, water filtration systems, and other health related home businesses. They were very passionate about the good these products could do and enjoyed the many friendships they made through these business interactions.

Their 4 children grew up in Delta, then moved away for college and/or missions, got married and settled down throughout Utah, with one daughter in northern California. Dorothy’s parents also had a winter home in Mesa, Arizona. Elwood and Dorothy traveled up and down Utah and back and forth to Arizona and California visiting and helping their parents, children and grandchildren and “being there” for every family event. With 30 grandchildren (and currently 54 great-grandchildren), there were lots of events and activities and they didn’t want to miss any of them.  They enjoyed many vacations with family. Some of these took her to Washington DC, Disneyland, Hawaii, Nauvoo, Houston, South Dakota, Yellowstone, and the Oregon Coast. They also enjoyed picnics, camping and spending time in Southern Utah Parks.

Always involved in church callings and activities, Dorothy often had music callings, but callings to teach helped her discover new talents. One challenging calling was serving as a Gospel Doctrine teacher for 4 years. She studied hard and discovered that many people related to her simple teaching style. It was a wonderful experience, increasing her understanding of the scriptures and giving her confidence to share. Dorothy, along with Elwood, filled an 18-month service mission as the managers of the Delta Deseret Industries.  At age 84, she was called as the ward choir director in her new Orem ward, a calling she has had many times over the years, probably because of her great love for music and because she is very good at it.

In February of 2013, Elwood’s health failed and he was paralyzed and bedridden for 7 months. Not realizing how long it would last, but accepting his wish to stay at home, Dorothy’s children, sister, and Hospice helped her take care of Elwood until he passed away on August 27, 2013.

Dorothy stayed in her home in Delta for a year after Elwood’s death, then moved to an apartment in Orem to be closer to her children in August 2014. She moved to Summerfield in April 2017 where she has enjoyed the kind staff, activities, and many friends she has made.