116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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DOROTHY JEANNE LOUFEK
Dorothy Jeanne Loufek (nee Heefner) passed away Monday, May 18, 2020, at home surrounded by her children and grandchildren at age 90.
Born Dec. 1, 1929, in Marion, Iowa, Dorothy grew up on the family farm with her father, John Spencer; mother, Wilma; and sister, Evie, at the onset of America's Great Depression. Reflective of an era that necessitated resilience and resourcefulness, Dorothy developed autonomy and aplomb at an early age. With curiosity and admiration, Dorothy learned important skills from her parents, which translated to lifelong passions: gardening and cooking.
As a teenager, Dorothy met Charlie Loufek, and her rooted life on a farm was replaced with a mobile journey across the United States. After marryingon Aug. 2, 1948, and obtaining her driver's license, Dorothy traveled the country with Charlie and his band, Charlie Williams Orchestra, later the WAYL Orchestra. Following years of adventures, the pair settled in Minneapolis, Minn., to start a family.
Dorothy and Charlie raised three children: Jay, Garry and Mary. Working as a team, they created opportunities for diverse exposure to music, art and nature. The children recall feeling unequivocally supported in pursuit of their dreams. Much like her parents, Dorothy imparted tangible skills like cultivating exquisite gardens and cooking impeccable meals. She also instilled more abstract skills, including leadership, initiative, perseverance and fruition.
Beyond her roles as a wife and mother, Dorothy worked professionally as an industrial artist. Defying expectations for women of her generation, Dorothy began working at the Killian's Department Store in Cedar Rapids and later rose to director of advertising at Donaldson's in Minneapolis. Dorothy also held leadership positions at Salkin and Linoff before eventually starting her own business. Dorothy was a trailblazer, forging areas historically occupied by men. In her "retirement," Dorothy worked at Gentle Transitions, helping seniors relocate. All her co-workers described Dorothy as supportive, encouraging, gentle and kind.
Consistent with her quiet, caring demeanor, Dorothy dedicated herself to mastering activities that produced items to be gifted or shared. Visitors never departed without receiving a gift that was handmade, hand-sewn or a hand-me-down. Dorothy's garden lives today in the backyards of her children and grandchildren through her generous sharing of transplants and seeds. In addition to her individual hobbies, both Dorothy and Charlie loved providing the family with a place to gather. The entire Loufek family feels deep affection and nostalgia for "Barnum," the family cabin, where everyone grew up gardening, fishing, eating, drinking, listening to records, playing ping pong and pool, laughing and creating memories.
With stoicism, Dorothy spent her final days quietly observing wildlife in her backyard as the plants in her beloved garden reoriented toward the spring sun in their reliable return to a luscious green: perhaps an unassuming symbol for Dorothy's core belief that life is as perennial and precious as the nature we inhabit.
Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Loufek; and parents, John Spencer and Wilma Heefner.
She is survived by her children, Jay Loufek (Karen Spicer), Garry Loufek (Carole Tilka) and Mary Ann Johnson (Greg Johnson); her four grandchildren, Jonathan Loufek (Amy Steuck), Gretchen Loufek (Jason Kellmer), Brenna Loufek and Spencer Baloga Loufek (Taylor Baloga Loufek); and her sister, Evie Derflinger.