Dorothy (Dol) Rose Freed Christison passed away Monday, January 21, 2019 just hours after her 102nd birthday at Bronson Hospital in South Haven , MI. She was born January 21, 1917 to Elmer and Julia Rose (Zimmerman) Freed in South Bend, IN. Dol’s passion for life and dance never faded from her life. She learned her first tap steps from her father and mother who were competitive ballroom(waltz) dancers. She became a champion ballroom dancer herself later in life, winning many competitions in New York. She opened her first dance studio soon after graduating from Elgin High School, Elgin, Il. in 1935, teaching Ballet and Tap in Moline IL. Her first date with George Lee Christison, which was a ride in an open cockpit bi-plane and was love at first sight for her. She married George Christison July 10, 1938 at St Marks Lutheran Church in Davenport, IA. They started their married life in Tucson, AZ. where Dol taught at Potter School for Girls and Greenfields School while George continued his career as a broadcaster for KVOA. They also owned and operated a chicken ranch, “Esperanza,” adjacent to the Sequoia National Forest. She was an active volunteer for the Red Cross and USO. They returned to Moline following WWII and operated the Christison Pharmacy and Dol taught dance at her own studio and St. Katherines in Davenport, IA. George’s Career move to McKesson and Robbins took the couple to Burlington, IA where Dol continued teaching Ballet, Tap and now Ballroom. She choreographed Oklahoma and Bells Are Ringing for the Civic Theater in Burlington. After a move to Wilton, CT, Dol expanded her interests to include Real Estate, which lead to a 53 yr. career and her own office. She kept her Real Estate certification active until 2018. She was a founding member of the Wilton Arts Council and Young Horizons which brought professional artists from various fields to perform and share their art with the Wilton School students. She was an avid supporter of Ballet Etudes and continued her commitment to the arts by becoming a board member for the Connecticut Council for the Arts and the Council on Aging. She volunteered many hours over the years to the Yankee Fair for the Wilton Congregational Church, The Wilton Garden Club and was lifelong Girl Scout and leader.
Dol performed for six years in the Florida Follies in Boca Raton, Florida. Performances benefited under privileged children in Florida.
Dol was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Thomas Freed (WWII prisoner of war) her husband George and grandson Paul and grandson Travis Stivers. Dorothy is survived by her daughters Julie (Jerry) Portman of South Haven, MI and Pamela Stivers of Cuenca, Ecuador, 5 grandchildren Stephanie (Rob) Surns, Jennifer (Dave) Kindt, Brenda (Rob) Kindt, Nicole Portman, and Geory Stivers. Her eleven great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, January 26, 2019 with Deacon John Lohrstorfer at the Filbrandt Family Funeral Home in South Haven. Dorothy will be laid to rest at the Riverside Cemetery in Moline, Illinois. The family is grateful for the compassionate and loving care Dol received at Bronson South Haven Hospital.