Monday, June 04, 2007


I didn't know this lady, but she deserves good thoughts from all us knitters:

Dorothy Ellis LaBar: 1910 - 2007
Devoted to church, civic duty--and knitting

By Joan Giangrasse Kates
Special to the Tribune
Published May 31, 2007

Through it all, Dorothy Ellis LaBar knitted.

During a half-century as a member of Gary Memorial United Methodist Church, where she sang in the choir and volunteered at a popular resale shop that she co-founded, the longtime Wheaton resident knitted.

During her many years as an election judge and more than three decades of organizing -- as well as collecting on a street corner -- for the annual Salvation Army drive, she knitted.

And much later in life, when needles and yarn provided her the company and friendship of other just like her, who for more than two decades donated hundreds of lap robes for residents of DuPage Convalescent Center, Mrs. LaBar knitted.

"To her, knitting was more than just a craft or art form," said her daughter, Elizabeth Landerholm. "It was a way to connect with others."

Mrs. LaBar, 96, a longtime community volunteer named Wheaton Woman of the Year, died of natural causes Monday, May 28, in the Methodist Home retirement facility in Chicago.

The youngest of six children, Mrs. LaBar was born in Chicago and raised in Oak Park. After graduating from Oak Park and River Forest High School, she attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign for a year, where she studied music and was a member of Sigma Alpha Iota sorority.

"It was during the Depression that she dropped out of college to help support her family," said her daughter.

In 1938, Mrs. LaBar married her husband of 52 years, Daniel R., who died in 1990.

The couple lived in Riverside before moving to Wheaton in 1951.

A member of Gary Memorial United Methodist Church in Wheaton since 1952, Mrs. LaBar sang in the choir for 50 years and served as its librarian. She was also a founding member of the Wesley Shoppe, a resale shop that donates the proceeds to the church.

"Dorothy was always knitting -- during choir rehearsals, at church events or while sitting near the register at the resale shop," recalled Dave Brewer, the office manager for Gary Memorial United Methodist Church. "She'd knit any time, except worship time."

Beginning in the 1960s, and for more than 30 years, Mrs. LaBar was chief organizer of the annual Salvation Army drive in the Wheaton area.

"Each year Dorothy would have what we call a mission moment, when she'd stand before the congregation and ask for donations to her favorite cause," said Brewer. "She alone collected thousands of dollars for the Salvation Army."

In the early 1980s, Mrs. LaBar was the recipient of the Wheaton Woman of the Year Award for her contributions to her community, family members said.

For many years, Mrs. LaBar was also a member of the DuPage Homemakers and Green Gardeners.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. LaBar is survived by a son, Daniel LaBar Jr.; three grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

1 comment:

K. said...

Wow. She must have knit so much happiness into people's lives. And what dedication to her knitting, too. I hope my kids will remember me as always knitting something. I hope some of her descendents knit as well.