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Dorothy Park passed away on Wednesday, December 27, 2023, at Meadow Place Assisted Living in Long Prairie at the age of 93. Visitation will be held from 4:00-6:00 PM on Tuesday, January 2, 2024, at Iten Funeral Home. A Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, at First Baptist Church with visitation one hour prior to the service. Interment will be at Evergreen Cemetery.
Evelyn Dorothy (VanHovel) Park was born on February 2nd, 1930, in Kansas City, Missouri. She was adopted and welcomed into the home of John and Ouda Vanhovel. She was the middle child of 3 adopted children, Vernon, Dorothy, and Ruthie. Her adoptive mother went by train from Huntley, MN, to pick up each of her 3 adopted children at The Willows Home for unwed mothers in Kansas City, MO. She attended a country school and graduated from Huntley high school.
Being raised during the great depression and WWII, she remembers riding in a horse drawn sleigh to and from school in the winters and told stories of food rationing. It was the third grade she met Maurice Park, the pesty neighbor boy that sat behind her. Little did she know that he would end up being the love of her life, and the soul mate she would build a family with. The two attended Northwestern Bible College in the twin cities. Dorothy graduated with a degree in Biblical Studies. The two were married on August 31st, 1950, in her parent’s home. She borrowed her sisters-in-law wedding dress and they were married on August 31st, 1950. The young couple made their first home on the edge of Granada, MN, but soon moved to a small farm outside of Winnebago, MN. As their family started to grow, they were wanting more farmland, but prices were high in southern, MN. Maurice spotted a 200-acre farm for sale near Browerville, MN in a newspaper ad. In January 1959, they moved their young family to rural Browerville, MN. In 1965 the barn burned to the ground. The family then purchased a farm outside of Long Prairie, MN. At that time, they switched from milking cows to a beef cattle operation. They stayed in the farming business until retirement.
Dorothy was a full-time homemaker and was busy with the 5 children, raising a big garden of vegetables and flowers and helping with the farm work. She loved her hollyhock flowers and taught her daughters how to make dolls out of the flowers. The children’s involvement in piano lessons, band, and sport activities kept Dorothy on the go. Dorothy was an excellent seamstress and spent countless hours making clothes for her family, including wedding dresses, flower girl dresses for her daughter’s wedding. Dorothy’s faith was a huge part of her life. She was a Sunday School teacher, a Bible School teacher, sang in the choir and led a women’s Bible study for 47 years. Her family fondly recalls her patient, loving, wise, calm and faith focused personality. She was a natural selfless caregiver and a prayer warrior for family, loved ones and friends. Later in life, she loved to assemble puzzles, she learned to paint, and learned to make ceramics.
On Wednesday, December 27th, 2023, Dorothy took her last breath, with her daughter Sandy by her side, listening to the song, “I Can Only Imagine”.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Maurice; daughter-in-law, Joni Park and brother, Vern VanHovel. She is survived by her children, Kevin, Glenn (Donna) Park, DeeAnna (Brad) Larson, David, and Sandy (Scott) VanNorman; 17 grandchildren, 41 great grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild; sister, Ruthie Smallidge; sister-in-law, Ruth VanHovel; biological siblings, Faye Wright, Virginia Personious, Howard Cranson, Wayne Cranson; and many nieces and nephews.