Dorothy Fjerstad Dallas, 95, Kasson
Dorothy Elaine Fjerstad was born at her parents’ home at 201 NW 5th Street, Kasson, the second of two children of Olai B. and Ida C. (Sanvik) Fjerstad. She was baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Kasson. Her parents, the first generation born in America, spoke only Norwegian at home. Dorothy and her older sister Bernice, were bilingual in English and Norwegian, until schools told parents in about 1930 to ‘stop speaking your language at home, or your children will not learn in school.’ Her parents complied, then speaking Norwegian only with other adults. Dorothy and Bernice soon lost most of their Norwegian fluency. Dorothy’s grandparents, Norwegian immigrants, all had parents, siblings, cousins and extended relatives living on farms close to Kasson and S. Zumbro Lutheran Church. Her grandparents and great grandparents helped to build and establish that church. She often spoke of visiting those relatives every weekend.
The Depression made work scarce, and Olai found carpentry work in Rochester. Dorothy’s school years were all in Rochester. She was confirmed in Rochester at Zumbro Lutheran Church. She graduated from Rochester High School in 1941. Dorothy spent a year taking courses at Rochester Junior College. She was soon offered a position to become a certified Lab Technician with Mayo Clinic, and she accepted their training program.
Dorothy worked for Mayo in Rochester until 1943. Bernice had married Cleon Holland, M.D., who was transferred from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska during WWII, to the U.S. Army Hospital at Carlisle, Penn. Dorothy accepted an offer from the U.S. Army to run their lab in 1943. She often said it was the first big adventure of her life. While at work, in 1946, she met 1st Lt. Dois Dallas, who was sent to the Carlisle Hospital to teach some classes. They became engaged, and married October 28, 1948, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Clovis, N.M., where Dois was working towards his master’s degree at nearby ENMU.
In 1950, Dois graduated from ENMU. They moved to Rochester and lived with Dorothy’s parents, where Dois found summer work driving truck for the Jolly Green Giant. Linda was born in Rochester. That fall, they moved to the U of M in Minneapolis where Dois began working towards a doctoral degree in math. Dorothy continued her career, working in a lab.
Dois was interested in a career in oil, and in 1952 the young couple moved to Williston, N.D., where Dorothy ran the labs for all of Williston’s hospitals and clinics. Dois worked in the newly discovered oil fields in Williams County, N.D. Monica, Cynthia and Debora were born in Williston.
Dois’ career called for a move to Tioga, N.D. in 1959. Dorothy continued running the Williston labs, commuting for a full year. She then ran the lab for the Tioga Clinic, and eventually trained the lab techs to run the Tioga Hospital lab, where she continued working part-time. Mark was born in Tioga.
Dois accepted the offer from the U of Alaska to start their petroleum program in 1974; and the family moved to Fairbanks, A.K. in 1975. Dorothy worked for the State of Alaska CETA program, travelling to rural villages in small airplanes. Later, she became a licensed real estate agent. They both retired in 1985.
Dorothy and Dois traveled extensively in their retirement years, not only visiting relatives but also Europe, Mexico, Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand. In 2000, she and Dois took their 5 children and all their families to Norway to visit the 4 farms where Dorothy’s grandparents were born. Their favorite winter vacation was Mexico. In the 1990’s they purchased time shares in Pto Vallarta and for many winters vacationed there, and later Pto Penasco.
They moved to Anchorage in 1999, and to Casa Grande, Ariz. in 2008. Dorothy died with family at her side, at her residence in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Aug/20, 2019, at the age of 95 years and nine months. She was a life-long member of the ELCA Lutheran church. She was preceded in death by Dois in 2011; her parents; and her only sister, Bernice. She is survived by her five children and their spouses, seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Memorials may be donated to S. Zumbro Lutheran Church, or the non-profit of choice.