Dorothy Rose Mendelke passed away peacefully on January 22, 2021 at age 87 as the last of her generation. She is preceded in death by her parents Peter and Mary Slove, her eight brothers and sisters, husband Julian, and sons Joseph, William, and John. Dorothy was a mother to Susan (James) Souder, Barbara (Lawrence) Grunwald, Robert Majewski, Jean (Daniel) Christensen, and mother-in-law to Debbie (John). She had 23 grandchildren in total, 9 grandkids, 12 great-grandchildren, as well as 2 great-great-grandchildren.
Dorothy was raised in an orphanage from the time her father died until she turned eighteen. As a child she was described as dependable, sincere, and very protective. As a mother, she was known for feeding the neighborhood, volunteering in the PTA, working from home overnight, and encouraging her kids to draw on her during the day so she could sneak in naps knowing they were safe. She broke up gun fights using nothing but the power of her voice, earning her respect throughout the community. She served the Chicago Police Department as a beat representative earning a citizenship award in recognition of her efforts to stop gang violence. She was courageous, resilient, and the strongest person anyone knew.
Dorothy lived her life fully expressed. She was a published poet, constantly cracked jokes, and thrived in the spotlight. Throughout her life she loved the thrill of dressing up and getting into character. You might know her as Yankee Doodle from Uncle John's restaurant, the biggest Chicago Bears fan you've ever met, or the lady who made signs to celebrate every occasion. Naturally, Halloween was her time to shine. With decorations so extravagant, she drew in hundreds of trick-or-treaters each year and coverage from news stations all around Chicago, continuing the tradition in Belvidere.
Her favorite role, though, was that of being the matriarch of the family. As a grandmother, she instilled values of integrity, creativity, and playfulness. She brought divinity to this role by holding each new baby and welcoming them into our world. The warmth of her heart was felt by everyone. She had a way of seeing the light in others, even when they didn't see it in themselves, reigniting our flame so we, too, could carry on the mission of radiating love in the face of pain. In honor of her life, remember who you are. You are someone special with unique gifts to "welcome to our world".
She hated when people wore black, so celebrate her life with us by wearing something GREEN to honor her Irish pride!
Visitation and Funeral Mass information:
Friday 4:30-7:00pm &
Highland Garden of Memories
9800 IL-76, Belvidere, IL 61008
Saturday 11:00am Mass
Saint James Catholic Church
402 Church St, Belvidere, IL 61008
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dorothy R. Mendelke, please visit our floral store.