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Obituaries » Dorothy L. Criss

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February 3, 1931 - April 7, 2024

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Dorothy L. (Power) Criss passed peacefully on April 7, 2024, at the age of 93. She was born in Lawton, MI on February 3, 1931, along with her identical twin sister, Doris, who preceded her in death in 1938. On April 21, 1951, she married her best friend, David E. Criss, and their partnership happily sustained two days short of 49 years, until his passing on April 19, 1999. Dorothy was revered as the matriarch of her family having also lost her only other sibling, Donald L. Power, in 2021.

Her work ethic and support of those she loved were visible throughout her life. She graduated from Lawton High School, and worked to put her husband through college, giving up her own hopes of attending. Her career included bookkeeping and serving as a bank teller, as well as office support in the Truesdale Funeral Homes, where her husband was a partner and funeral director. Throughout their lives, they also lived in Paw Paw, Sturgis, Belleville, Tecumseh and Portage, MI. Her final years were spent at the Plainwell Pines Nursing Home, and she and her family have been very grateful to the staff there for all of their assistance and care.

Dorothy is survived by three children: Denise Spencer of Bluffton, SC, Catherine Shuman of Lawton, OK, and Mark Criss of Kalamazoo, MI (spouse Lori Norris).

Four grandchildren: Bethany Hale, Kimberly (Rogers) Poulsen (spouse Lee), Lindsay (Rogers) Strauss, Jessica (Rogers) Kuliak (spouse Jeffrey).

Six great-grandchildren:  Parker Hale; Shae, Logan, and Sheyanne Strauss; Abrianna and Augustino Filippi.

Dorothy deeply loved and was proud of her family, and recently, when looking at a family photo collage, she said, with her contented Mona Lisa smile, “This is my legacy.” The family notes here that son Mark and daughter-in-law Lori were extremely supportive of Dorothy’s needs and care for many years, something both she and the entire family have appreciated more than can ever be adequately expressed.

Other joys for Dorothy came from cooking and baking, sewing, reading, games and puzzles (especially bunco, euchre, mahjong, dominoes, word search and jigsaw puzzles). Bingo was a special favorite, and she was quite competitive, but she loved giving away all her prizes (usually treats, like chips and cookies) to anyone who would have them. But her best-loved pastime in recent years was watching the birds at her feeder.

Dorothy will be laid to rest next to David in Oak Grove Cemetery, Lawton, MI. Four generations of Dorothy’s family are at peace there. Honoring Dorothy’s wishes, there will be a private graveside service at the time of internment. Memorial contributions are suggested to the W. K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary in Augusta, or the Kalamazoo Nature Center.


Make a Wish

She never had to ask.
It would always be Lazy Daisy Oatmeal Cake.
Scratch-made. Moist as a dewy morning.
Coconut-laced German chocolate frosting
between the layers and poured thick across the top.
My forever favorite.

She placed her lighted masterpiece
in front of me, and whispered,
Make a wish, Punkin’.
For what? I wanted to move past
the center-of-attention discomfort
and on to a massive slice of cake.

We didn’t have much,
but I was unaware.
I felt protected and safe, adored and admired—
needing nothing. Nothing to wish for.
I didn’t know it then, but those childhood
days held the most love I would ever feel.

Thinning gray hair has replaced
crooked brown bangs and ponytail.
Kale, wheat bread, and berries now settle better
than the malted milk, ice cream,
and Lazy Daisy Oatmeal Cake
of a half century and a dozen years ago.

But oh! Now I make wishes!

I wish I could feel
as safe as when I held my mom’s hand crossing the street.
as beautiful as when she brushed the hair from my eyes.
I wish I could feel
the love my mom stitched into each new school dress she made
or in her voice as she read to me.

I wish I could have that perfect cake with my family again.
I wish…

by Denise K. Spencer