By FHS president Ken Tamke
I first met Dottie Blain in 2005 when I joined the Fallasburg Historical Society Board of Directors. She was a strong, resilient, country woman cut from the same cloth as my grandmother. They knew each other, as did most residents of the close-knit communities of Vergennes and Lowell. She was also a Dorothy like my mom, shortened to Dot or Dottie with those who were close. Dottie and I hit it off immediately.
As I plunged in at FHS to assist with the Covered Bridge Bike Tour, and Christmas in Fallasburg, I quickly realized Dottie was a main organizational force behind our signature events. “Chief cook and bottle washer” was a humorous way to characterize her participation, yet her involvement went much further.
Anyone who ever attended our Christmas In Fallasburg “Pot Luck” in the Fallasburg Schoolhouse, sampling the various culinary offerings set out around the room owed their sigh of satisfaction to Dottie’s cooking. Her Swedish Meatballs were legendary! Cooking aside, her coordination of other contributors; cookie bakers and salad makers, table setters and supply go-getters, kept everything running smoothly. If we were lucky, there’d be leftovers to take home after the party.
The Covered Bridge Bike Tour presented many, many challenges, but that didn’t faze Dottie. We never really knew how many riders we would attract each year. Anywhere from 100 – 250. While they’d all set out at roughly the same time, they returned to Fallasburg Village piecemeal and want to be fed. Dottie’s Country Style Italian feast, meatless or vegetarian with grilled garlic bread would be waiting, piping hot, whether 11:00AM or 2:00PM. And, then of course, there was dessert-Strawberry Shortcake. Never mind the various rest stops along the different cycling routes. Dottie had them stocked with home baked cookies, fresh fruit, and Gatorade. A logistical nightmare to be sure, but Dottie always had the situation well in hand. FHS owes the longevity of the Covered Bridge Bike Tour, 25 years, in no small part to Dottie.
Dottie took great pride in preservation of Fallasburg Village by virtue of her Lowell roots and longtime friends. She attended Lowell High School where she met Larry Martin, a fellow FHS Board Member, and architect of the Covered Bridge Bike Tour from the cycling side. Larry was the great-grandson of Edwin Fallas, great-grandson of John Wesley Fallas-founder of Fallasburg Village. Dottie and Larry shared similar temperaments, senses of humor, and their appreciation for the remarkable historic district of which they were stewards.
One of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do was inform Dottie on the morning of the 17TH Annual Covered Bridge Bike Tour, Larry Martin had been hit and killed on a bike ride the afternoon before as fate would have it. While grief-stricken that a kindred spirit had passed, her strength of character somehow got her through the day where many would have broken down.
The Fallasburg Historical Society mourns the passing of our colleague, but moreover our dear friend. Dottie Blain, Rest in Peace.
Ken Tamke, Fallasburg Historical Society
Blain, Dorothy 12/12/1940 – 1/5/2021 Lowell Blain – Dorothy A. Blain nee Pearson, age 80, passed away on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. She was preceded in death by her parents, John Pearson in 1964 and Joanne Bittle in 1990. Dorothy is survived by her children, Sheila (Tim) Aalsburg and Kenneth Blain; granddaughters, Chloe and Maya; youngest sister, Frances “Fran” (Rick) Rowell of Louisiana; childhood friend, Addie (Orison) Abel. Dorothy will be remembered for her generosity and hosting large family gatherings. She grew up in southern Michigan and graduated from Lowell High School in 1959. She married and raised two children. Through the years, Dorothy worked as an upholsterer, a realtor, school bus driver, and a greeter at Meijer. Per Dorothy’s request, cremation has taken place. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Fallasburg Historical Society. To share a photo, memory and to sign the online guestbook please visit www.stegengafuneralchapel.com
Featured photo: FHS volunteers at the Lowell Expo in 2017: Dottie Blain, Mike Organek, Addie Abel.
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