DORTHE J. FLICK
Dorthe Jean Flick of Clinton, Iowa, passed away Tuesday, April 28, 2020, at Amita Health Adventist Medical Center in Hinsdale, Ill., of cardiac arrest from complications of COVID-19. Given the current pandemic, she was cremated by arrangement with Sullivan Funeral Home of Hinsdale. A memorial service at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Clinton is planned for a later date. A family interment ceremony will be held subsequently at Fairview Cemetery, near Terril, Iowa. Since late January, Dorthe had been in Chicago to receive world-class surgical treatment for peripheral artery disease at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Upon discharge from NMH, she progressed steadily in rehabilitation, with hopes of returning home before the virus overwhelmed her.
A friend recently remarked "how accepting she was, not just of race, gender ID, education, financial situation, etc., but of a person's imperfections. "I'd like to be more like her that way." Indeed, Dorthe formed strong bonds with many in the diverse care team, who enjoyed having her on their schedules.
Dorthe was born in Terril, Iowa, on June 11, 1922, third child of Irvin Franklin Clark and Helen Olivia Wade Clark. She grew up on a farm outside town, and her early learning took place prior to rural electrification in a one-room school house in Dickinson County. At Terril High School, from which she was graduated in 1940, interests included the dramatic arts.
She attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, where she nurtured a love of English literature and education, forming many lifelong friendships. An aunt and uncle, stationed at the time in Cedar Rapids with the Rock Island Line, further cemented her relationship to the city. Upon receiving a B.A. degree in 1944, Dorthe remained in CR, working in the Iowa Theater Building office of Hoyt W. Thomas, DC. This employment furthered her awareness of the value of physical therapeutics in health and well-being.
It was in Cedar Rapids where Dorthe met George C. Flick on a blind date arranged by mutual friends. Love blossomed during trips to George's family home in the Amana Colonies. His pursuit of a career in engineering took him to Bridgeport, Conn., with the General Electric Co. Dorthe followed, and they were married there on June 16, 1951. At the time, Dorthe was employed by aviation tech manufacturer Bridgeport Lycoming. Their early years together in Stratford were spent on Maple Street as tenants in a quaint old house later incorporated into grounds of the American Shakespeare Festival.
After GE opened appliance control device operations in Morrison, Ill., George and Dorthe leapt at the opportunity to return to the Midwest, settling nearby in the Lyons district of Clinton. With their first son on the way, they purchased a home in which Dorthe continued to live on her own into this year.
After her children had advanced through lower grades, and Elijah Buell Elementary School down the street was to open a learning center, Dorthe decided to update her education and qualify to staff it. At Buell, she made friends of both teachers and pupils, many fondly recalling her mentorship to this day.
When a group tired of driving to the Quad Cities weekly and decided to form the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Clinton, Dorthe and George became core members. Upon George's passing, Dorthe found strength through its tight-knit community. She delighted when they were able to burn the mortgage on their building. The UUF remained a prime focus for her, with members expecting to welcome her home.
Dorthe sought and received Iowa Century Farm recognition at the 2015 Iowa State Fair for her parents' quarter section, which she managed to her life's end under trusted partnership with the Luehring family. She insisted on an annual summer trek to Lake Okoboji and Terril to view the crops and maintain close personal ties.
Living for 65 years just a few blocks above the mighty Mississippi, Dorthe enjoyed activities including birding, horticulture and reading. Among causes, she supported the Clinton Symphony Orchestra, the River Arts Center, the Clinton Area Showboat Theater and the Dickinson County Museum in Spirit Lake.
Dorthe was preceded in death by an infant brother, Wayne (1910); and her childhood big brother, Winston (1927); by her parents, Irv (1978) and Helen (1982); by her husband, George (1992); her younger brother, John (2006); and her second son, Philip C. (2013).
She is survived by her first son, Geoffrey of Chicago; and by two sisters-in-law, Lois (Mrs. John I.) Clark of Jefferson, Iowa and Elsie (Mrs. Leland P.) Fry of Hiawatha, Iowa; also by three nieces and three nephews. Many others hold her close to the heart.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made to the UUF of Clinton, the Flick English Scholarship that Dorthe had established at Coe College or any other organization mentioned above. Memorial contributions to Coe's fund may be made online via URL alumni.coe.edu/makeagift.