Dorothy Elizabeth Delegard
Delegard, Dorothy Elizabeth aka Jake, aka Dot, aka Mom, aka Granny, left this world in the waning hours of Sunday, Nov. 15. She lived in Minneapolis virtually her entire life, all 79 and a half years, and loved this city and state to the marrow, even though she had seen some of its roughest sides. She loved the winter, she loved the summer, she loved the North Shore and the State Fair and Ingebretsens and the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and the Minnesota Orchestra, Guthrie Theater, Minnehaha Falls, Gooseberry Falls, the Dakota, the Monte Carlo, Convention Grill, Cafe Latte, Punch Pizza and the lakes, all of them. Most of all, she loved the people, from the juvenile offenders she counseled to the right path, to her friends in the countless groups and clubs that kept her in constant motion and her family, which was always at the center of her life. Sleep was often optional, and inconvenient. Born to Eric and Annie (Hagstrom) Jacobson, two immigrants from Sweden, she learned to hold her own against her four brothers as the only girl in the family. She grew up swimming and skating at Lake Nokomis. While attending Roosevelt High School, she shocked her family by announcing she was applying to college, and got a full ride to Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. She eventually obtained a master's degree from the University of Minnesota and embarked on a career in social work. She married Curt Delegard, a fellow Roosevelt grad, and though they were divorced within a few years, their union produced a daughter they named Kirsten, who would be a focal point of Dorothy's life. Dorothy was always focused on people, and making and keeping friendships. Over her life, she accumulated friends by the hundreds, all the while staying deeply involved in the lives of her brothers and their growing families. If she sat on a park bench, she would soon know the life story of the guy sitting next to her. Even in Dorothy's final days at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, the nurses changed their shifts so they could keep caring for the terminally ill woman with the flowing white hair, because she was so interested in their lives. That faith in people served her well in her career as a social worker, first with Lutheran Social Services and then Hennepin County. She worked for years as a juvenile probation officer, and treated her clients as young people who could be straightened out by contact with a compassionate adult. She visited homes of the city's most troubled families, and took some of those young people on camping and canoe trips to northern Minnesota. While she couldn't help everyone, she often got calls at Christmas from people who had been on her caseload who told her she was the only grownup who cared about them. She eventually moved into the court system as a mediator in custody determinations. Upon retirement, she only got busier. She embraced her role as Granny with a vengeance. She took Annika and Malachi everywhere, and when they got older, went to every performance, game and school ceremony. She shivered as the only one in the stands of the Northeast Ice Arena as the Minneapolis Storm C team Pee Wees ran their drills. She took her granddaughter to Sweden, Denmark and England. There was no bigger fan of Gopher women's basketball and hockey. There was no more dedicated volunteer at the American Swedish Institute. There was no one who could play more bridge, read more books, attend more classes at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She had a dream of going on safari, so in her early 70s, she could be found in the gondola of a hot air balloon, floating over herds of wildebeest on the Serengeti. She did not keep her political beliefs to herself. Though she wouldn't be around to see the inauguration, Dorothy was relieved to know that Joe Biden was elected the next president. Dorothy is survived by her daughter, Kirsten Delegard (James Eli Shiffer) of Minneapolis; granddaughter Annika Shiffer-Delegard and grandson Malachi Shiffer-Delegard; brothers Robert (Arlene) Jacobson, Dale (Cathryn) Jacobson and Lee (Shirlee) Jacobson; and countless beloved family members and friends. She was predeceased by a brother, Roy Jacobson. For a Memorial, she has ordered up a real wingding of a party at the American Swedish Institute as soon as this stupid pandemic is finished. Donations in her honor can be made to Gustavus Adolphus College.
Published on November 25, 2020
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