Dorothy ‘Dot’ (Benard) Koth

ESCANABA – Eternal rest grant unto Dorothy “Dot” (Benard) Koth, a devoted daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She celebrated her 94th birthday on Tuesday, Feb. 12 and was called to her heavenly home on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013. Dorothy most recently resided at Bishop Noa Home.

Dorothy graduated in 1937 from Escanaba Area High School and later graduated from Cloverland Commercial College. Dorothy was instrumental in planning her high school reunions for decades. In her early career Dorothy was employed as a secretary to Pat Hayes at the Delta Brewing Company and later became a secretary/bookkeeper at Clairmont Transfer. She was also a USO hostess when the U.S. Coast Guard was stationed in Escanaba, and a War Bond salesperson during World War II.

Dorothy was born on Feb. 12, 1919, in Escanaba to Napoleon Peter and Helen (Lyons) Benard. She married Ronald H. Koth on April 22, 1944, in Minneapolis, Minn., at St. Olaf’s Catholic Church. After 46 years of marriage, he preceded her in death in 1990. Dorothy lived in Escanaba most of her life, with the exception of living in Canada while her husband was chief inspector on the Trans-Canadian Pipeline, which is also where their youngest child Jody was born. Together they also wintered in their Sarasota, Fla., home each year until Ron’s passing.

Dorothy and Ron combined entrepreneurial spirits to leave their mark on Escanaba. They owned and operated many businesses. Their first endeavor was also the first drive in restaurant in the area – A&W Drive Inn, which they owned and operated for 28 years, built in 1947. They also built Koth’s Kupboard (a neighborhood convenience store with a soda fountain), they established Koth Forest Products, Koth Homes, K&K Golf, and Meadow Creek Subdivision. On her own, Dorothy also established the first ceramic studio in the area (Paintin’ Place Ceramics) – which she operated for 18 years building in four different locations due to expansion.

First and foremost, Dorothy loved unconditionally and was devoted to her family. She also enjoyed her flower gardens, cooking, and baking. She liked to read recipe books, try new recipes and share her dishes with family and friends. Dorothy was a remarkably talented woman who enjoyed oil painting, teaching ceramics, and creating memorable porcelain dolls and doll cradles. She was a very accomplished knitter throughout her lifetime and served as a den mother for many years when her son was young. After Dorothy’s retirement, and with her knitting and craft articles, she participated at the Market Place for 11 years and also took part in many area craft sales.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. N.P. Benard; husband, Ronald H. Koth; and baby, Jane Therese Koth (at birth); a brother, Donald Benard; sister-in-law, Vivian Benard; brother-in-law, Howard Koth; nephews, Donnie Jim and Douglas Benard.

Among her survivors include three children, Mrs. Karen (John) Kelly, Mr. Paul (Sherri) Koth and Mrs. Jody (Thomas) Jaeger; and her grandchildren, Mrs. Shelli (Dave) Mattson, Ms. Meghan Casey, Mr. Paul (Jessica) Koth, Mrs. Molly (Scott) Lancour, Mrs. Sara (Mark) Derusha, Dr. Kaitlyn (Dr. Michael Gabe) Kelly, Mr. Ronnie (Amy) Koth, Mr. Karl (Mariel Carter) Jaeger, Mrs. Kaleigh (Aaron Hale) Jaeger-Hale; and seven great-grandchildren, Kelly Mae Casey, Kinsley Williams, Jacob Derusha, Kristin Koth, Maysie Lancour, Bryson Lancour, Karter Koth, Klayton Koth and Charlotte Carter-Jaeger. Additionally she is survived by a cousin, Lois (Hill) Vogel; a sister-in-law, Jackie Koth; special nephew, Mr. Dennis (Mary) Benard; and several additional nephews and a niece.

Dorothy was a member of St. Anne’s Parish and GFWC (Escanaba Women’s Club). She was also a past member of RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program), Elks Auxiliary, (BPW) Business & Professional Women’s Club, Altrusa, Escanaba Country Club, Highland Golf Club, Daughter’s of Isabella, and St. Patrick’s Guild Club. Up until the time her health started to fail she enjoyed volunteering at St. Francis Hospital in the gift shop.

Dorothy was a very generous and giving person who will be sadly missed by the countless friends who knew and loved her and most especially by her family. She will always be remembered by family and friends for her willingness to lend a helping hand and the dozens of varieties of Christmas cookies she made each year to share with others.

The family has entrusted Skradski Family Funeral Home with the arrangements. Visitation will be on Thursday, Feb. 21, beginning at 10 a.m. until the time of the Mass of Christian Burial at 12 p.m. at St. Anne’s Catholic Church with Rev. Fr. Fran DeGroot presiding over the celebration of Dorothy’s life.

A reception will follow in the Parish Hall. Interment will be in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers a memorial will be established in her memory through the OSF St. Francis Hospital Foundation.

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