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Dorothy Mae Budolfson
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Obituary for Dorothy Mae Budolfson

Our music was silenced when Dorothy Mae Lindberg Budolfson, 99, died Sunday, June 11, 2017, in Ames, Iowa.

Dorothy Mae was born August 6, 1917 on a farm south of Odebolt, in Sac County, Iowa. She was blessed with the gift of music and could play the piano by ear. Her brother, Dennis, was given piano lessons but didn't like to practice. Dorothy Mae would listen to him play, then sit down at the piano and practice his lessons. Her mother thought Dennis was practicing until Dorothy Mae's grandfather told her parents the wrong child was taking piano lessons. When Dorothy Mae was 6, her father woke her up and told her she had a new baby doll downstairs. Excited, she ran downstairs and was disappointed to find a red, crying baby in her mother's arms. It was her new baby sister, Jane, not the doll she wanted. Even with the six year difference, the sisters were very close. Dorothy Mae and Jane often performed at church and other social events in the community. She took Jane to her marimba lessons and helped Jane haul her heavy instrument. Dorothy Mae attended rural school until the family moved to Encino, California, to help her grandparents run a family service station and grocery store. She was so advanced, the school promoted her two grade levels. In eighth grade, Dorothy Mae was May Queen of the Encino May Day Festival. She returned to Iowa during high school, graduating with the Odebolt High School Class of 1934. Dorothy sang with the Lind Trio (Lindberg, Lindquist, Lindskoog) for years around the area. Her first job teaching job was at Wheeler No. 5, a one room school located near the family farm. Each month she gave her pay check to her father as it was the only money the family had had during the depression. Dorothy Mae taught during the school year and attended college in the summer at Iowa Teacher's College (UNI) in Cedar Falls. She earned and taught on a 1 year, 2 year, and eventually 4 year teaching certificate, taking a total of 11 years to complete her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and Music. Instead of student teaching for a third time, she set up TC's speech program and was featured in an Iowa magazine.

One summer during World War II, Dorothy Mae moved to California where she worked for the Office of Price Administration in Los Angeles. The OPA was in charge of rationing items in short supply due to the war. She recorded all the used cars sold in Los Angeles County. She taught briefly in Randall, Iowa, where her contract required her to sing in the church choir on Sundays. Dorothy Mae moved to Ames in 1943 to teach elementary school and music classes at Welch and Crawford Schools. She was past president of the Ames Education Association where she was instrumental in obtaining health insurance for the Ames teachers. On April 8, 1951, Dorothy married Chris Budolfson. They met at the College Savings Bank in Campus Town where Chris worked and Dorothy Mae did her banking. Chris liked to joke that he asked Dorothy out because she knew how to balance her checkbook. The couple planned to marry in the Arthur Baptist Church, a small country church in Ida County, but the week before their wedding the gravel road washed out, and they were forced to relocate the wedding to the First Presbyterian Church next door to her parent's home in Odebolt. Chris and Dorothy had to obtain a new marriage license in Sac County. The Budolfson’s settled in Ames where Dorothy Mae continued to teach until they started their family. In those days, pregnant women were not allowed to teach and women were paid less than the men. She became a stay-at-home mother to Ann and Art. Dorothy Mae began substitute teaching during the teacher shortage in 1961 and returned to teaching full time at Sawyer School in 1964. Abbie Sawyer was her principal at Crawford Elementary. She retired in 1982 after teaching for a total of 38 years. Dorothy was devoted to Chris and cared for him at home for 10 years after his stroke. They were happily married for 44 years until his death in 1995.

Dorothy Mae was active in church and community. She directed junior choirs at the First Baptist Church and later Collegiate Presbyterian in Ames. She organized Community Chest campaigns for the entire west side of Ames, soliciting donations herself if there were no volunteers to cover a neighborhood door to door. She was a member of PEO Chapter IV, Alpha Delta Kappa, and many organizations including San Souci, and Campfire Girls. She and Chris also worked with Living History Farms, Easter Seals and Camp Sunnyside, danced with Red Friars, played bridge with the same group for over 40 years and served on numerous committees. She played "Happy Birthday" for 14 years at the monthly Green Hills Community potlucks. Her love of music continued throughout her life and she regularly sang and played the piano for events in Ames and surrounding communities.

Dorothy Mae was preceded in death by her husband, Christian H. Budolfson; parents, Arthur and Hazel Lindberg; brother, Dennis Lindberg; sister, Jane Purcell, and son-in-law. Jay Newburg.

She is survived by daughter, Ann Budolfson Newburg; son. Art Budolfson and his wife, Marilyn; granddaughters, Angella and Katherine Budolfson and great granddaughters, Elise and Monivette Budolfson.

Memorials may be sent directly to Northminster Presbyterian Church, 1416 20th Street, Ames, IA 50010.

Adams Funeral Home in Ames is assisting the family with arrangements.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Dorothy Mae Budolfson, please visit our Tribute Store.

Previous Events

Memorial Service




3:00 PM
Northminster Presbyterian Church

1416 20th Street
Ames, Iowa 50010


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