Dorothy Carter, 106, was valedictorian of Hononegah's Class of 1935


Dorothy Carter (1917-2023)

At The Grand Victorian Assisted Living, Dorothy Carter humbly accepted the title of the oldest resident, living a month beyond her 106th birthday, until February 7, 2023.

Like many folks who have lived more than a century, Dorothy Evelyn Huss was born at home on January 3, 1927. Even though Winnebago County, Illinois was her home most of her life, her family lived in Minneapolis at the time of her birth.

Dorothy recalled so many good chapters of a life well lived. She was not only the valedictorian of her 1935 graduating class of Hononegah High School but was also voted the "Prettiest Girl."

She was working in the family garden when J Paul Carter caught her eye. They talked over the fence and before long Dorothy knew this was the handsome young man she would marry. She did not want to wed while still a teenager... Dorothy and Paul were married on her 20th birthday.

The young couple made their home in Rockford. After years of hard work and saving, they began their farm life together on fertile ground south of Rockton on Highway 2. As the farm expanded, so did their family. Bernard (Bernie) and Glenn were born four years apart- good helpers with milking cows, working the fields and all farm chores. Another ten years passed and, better late than never, Linda came along to make their family complete.

Dorothy was active in the First United Methodist Church in Rockton and on election boards. She served youth through 4-H and gardened big enough to feed the whole county! Dorothy's canning and freezing of her garden bounty provided her family all winter.

After their children were college educated and living their own lives, Dorothy and Paul found they liked being birds... 'snow birds' that is. For 30 years the couple loved the Arizona winters. Dorothy believed that staying active and getting out of the cold winters added to her longevity. She had much fun in craft groups, sewing projects, walking in the sunshine and making new friends. Dorothy even learned to ride a bicycle during these retirement years.

After 66 great years together, Dorothy lost Paul but continued to find joy in living. She felt blessed with the family they created- three children, five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. She savored summer visits to the family farm near Rockton where her clan gathers.  But Dorothy also loved returning home to The Grand Victorian Assisted Living to enjoy her community of friends. 

Dorothy's family is proud that well beyond age 100 she sent emails, enjoyed historical novels on her Kindle and read books the old fashioned way. Playing cards, especially 500, was her fun for decades. Keeping fitness a priority in her life, Dorothy was part of an instructional yoga video for seniors at age 92.

Dorothy was always a quiet, thoughtful person. Her mantras have been, "I've had a good life" and "I count my blessings," Despite life's trials and troubles, this lady held on to a positive attitude. Dorothy shared this with every smile.

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