Dorothy M. (Pohlad) Dolphin
Dolphin, Dorothy M. (Pohlad) Age 87, of Minneapolis, passed away Saturday, July 14, 2007. Dorothy was born on February 15, 1920 in West Des Moines (Valley Junction), Iowa, the fifth of eight children (Helen, Francis, Carl, Velma, Dorothy, Harold, Jean, & Joan), all born to Mary and Michael Pohlad. Dorothy graduated from Valley Junction High School in 1938. After graduating from high school, she moved to Hollywood, California where she, like many of the younger generation of that era, went to become a movie star. After a few years in Hollywood, she moved to Ohio where she enrolled at Ohio State University, majoring in dramatic arts. She then transferred to the University of Miami (FL) where she continued her studies for another two years. Before graduating from the University of Miami (Florida), she left for New York in pursuit of her acting dreams. In New York, Dorothy enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. During her stay in New York, she would visit Minneapolis frequently where a number of her sisters and her brother, Carl, resided. During one of her visits to Minneapolis in the late 1940's, she met William (Bill) Dolphin, a handsome WWII Navy fighter pilot. Bill encouraged Dorothy to move to Minneapolis, and take a job with the Northwest Sports, Travel and Boat Show. Dorothy moved to Minneapolis and took the job, becoming one of the star performers with her trained Black Labradors. Later, she decided to give up her acting ambitions in favor of marriage and starting a family. Dorothy and Bill married in 1950 at Visitation Church in south Minneapolis. Over the next nine years, they had three children: Thomas, Gregory and Kathleen. In 1960, at the age of 39, Bill died from a long-standing service related illness. Bill's death left Dorothy a widow with 3 children of the ages nine, six and one. Adversity forced Dorothy to become a pioneer in Women's Entrepreneurship. Dorothy invested what little life insurance proceeds she received on Bill's death in small rental properties. Over the next three years, she worked simultaneously as a Tupperware home salesperson, a jewelry department store manager and an advertising salesperson for KUXL radio. Most important, Dorothy finally found her future business niche as a receptionist at a temporary staffing company known as Employers Overload. Dorothy worked at Employers Overload (EO) from 1963 to 1969. As if being the family bread-winner as a single woman wasn't hard enough, she got the news that her daughter, Kathy, was suffering from a rare and incurable skin/muscle disease later diagnosed as Dermatomiositis. Dorothy spent endless hours at hospitals and doctors' offices in search of a cure for her little girl. In 1969, with Kathy given 5 years to live, along with the diagnosis that she would never walk again, Dorothy left her position at Employers Overload to begin her own staffing company. She took this leap after learning that a male branch manager was making more money than she was despite the fact that she had the highest producing EO branch office in the country. Today, Dolphin Staffing is one of the largest and most prestigious staffing companies in the Twin Cities. Employers Overload is no longer in existence. Dorothy's drive and perseverance not only brought her financial success, but using her own regimen of prayer, exercise and activities, she brought Kathy from near-death to a complete physical recovery from her horrific disease. Dorothy recently served as Board Chair of Dolphin Holdings, a diversified collection of mercantile ventures including Dolphin Staffing, a full service staffing organization, Dolphin Fast Food, a multi unit Burger King franchisee, 21st Century Bank (the 18th largest bank in Minnesota) and various real estate holdings. Throughout her career, Dorothy served on numerous business, charitable, civic, and educational boards of directors. Those boards include: Metropolitan State University, National Catholic Educational Association, National Kidney Foundation, National Hearing Foundation, United Way, Sister Kenny Institute, University of Minnesota Children's Foundation, The National Conference of Christians and Jews, The Greater Minneapolis Girl Scout Council, March of Dimes, Boy Scouts of America, St. Paul Winter Carnival, Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, Minneapolis Downtown Council, Minneapolis Women's Rotary Club, Twin Cities Metro Development Company, Minnesota Women's Economic Roundtable, University of St. Thomas Entrepreneurial Advisory Council, St. John's Art Center, St. Paul Technical Institute, International Language Villages of Concordia College. Dorothy was most proud of her long service on The University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business - Business Council and the University of St. Thomas Board of Trustees. Dorothy has been honored with the Arthritis Foundation Annual Award, University of St. Thomas Entrepreneur of the Year Award, KARE 11 & Twin Cities Business Monthly Women of Distinction Awards, Sales and Marketing Executives - Executive of the Year Award. She received an honorary degree from the College of St. Catherine's and has been a guest lecturer at the University of Notre Dame, the University of St. Thomas, and Metropolitan State University. She was also a member of The Minneapolis Club, The Minikahda Club and The Minneapolis Woman's Club. Dorothy reveled in the role of inspiring people to achieve beyond what they thought they could through hard work. As she always said, "Why pay a psychiatrist $100 an hour when work is the best therapy? There is no greater feeling of satisfaction than that from a job well done. You feel good when you achieve." Dorothy echoed this theme in her appearances throughout the country. (continued, next column)
Published on July 15, 2007
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