In Memory of




Obituary for Dorothy Ella Knoll

Dorothy Ella Knoll (Cole)

A long life well lived. The last of her generation, Dorothy died at the age of 98. She was born in Brandon on November 3, 1924, the youngest of four surviving children and the only girl. Her father Maurice Cole died suddenly when she was one year old. Seven years later when her mother, Barbara, married George Schaf, a widower, Dorothy gained an older stepsister and brother. The family immediately moved to the North End of Winnipeg where Dorothy not only grew up but lived all her life.

The family was able to weather the Depression and Dorothy completed her education attending Ralph Brown, Faraday and St. John’s High (where she learned Morse Code). While attending high school she worked at a drug store soda fountain which was frequented by the local young people including her boyfriend, Alfred (Alf) Knoll. She got in trouble for giving him extra ice cream in his milkshakes!

The day after Dorothy’s 18th birthday, Alf enlisted in the RCAF. The romance continued by mail while Dorothy worked to support the war effort. When Alf returned from overseas on a short leave in October 1944, Dorothy married the handsome Pilot Officer. They delivered their wedding invitations by bicycle because there was not enough time to put them in them mail. Obviously, some planning took place before Alf came home because Dorothy had a beautiful wedding dress that she kept for her entire life.

Early in 1945 Alf left the Air Force due to illness. He became a contractor and built their house on Bannerman and Parr where Dorothy was fortunate to live for 65 years. In the early years with first one, then two and then three children and a dog, Dorothy was busy with family, school, community and church activities. The neighbourhood children were the same age and it was safe to open the door and tell the kids to go out and play, so Dorothy was able to maintain a spotless home. She loved to cook. She learned German cooking from her mother and mother-in-law, Ukrainian cooking from the neighbours, and Jewish and Chinese cooking at evening classes at the local schools. She was also an excellent baker. When she took classes in cake decorating, her baking reached a whole new level. Her nieces loved her baking and were always amazed when Dorothy’s own kids didn’t think it was anything special. Dorothy also loved gardening (especially roses) and knitting. Some of her sweaters and scarves are still being worn by family members today. One sweater that Dorothy knitted for her granddaughter is now being worn by her great-granddaughter.
Dorothy decided to rejoin the workforce in the late 1960’s when Alf became ill. Her neighbour helped her get a job at Diane’s Wedding Gowns where she was able to work in the evenings. In 1972 another neighbour encouraged her to take a position at the Unemployment Insurance Commission where she worked for more than 14 years.

In 1976 when Alf died, Dorothy began a new chapter of her life with more than three decades of travel and new adventures. She was on her way to Disney World when Elvis died so she stopped in Memphis to visit the cemetery and Graceland. With Barbara and Ed she vacationed in 9 different Caribbean Islands, Western Canada and the Canary Islands. With various relatives she visited Hawaii and Jamaica and toured England, Germany, Alaska, Quebec, the Maritimes and the States.
At the age of 85 she realized that the house was too much for her and she began the next chapter of her life. She moved to an apartment and still enjoyed cooking meals for herself, friends and family. Her daughter-in-law Chris and her granddaughter, Dana honoured her by publishing a cookbook with her favourite recipes. During the 7 years she lived in her apartment she completed hundreds of jigsaw puzzles, often finishing them at 2:00AM when she couldn’t sleep. She refused to break up a completed puzzle until a family member came to see it. “Sundays with Dorothy” meant dinner at a restaurant of her choosing and some gaming at the casino. She especially enjoyed being driven through the various areas of the North End where she would point out where everyone had lived and where she used to walk. Dorothy had never learned to drive.

Dorothy was blessed with excellent mental well-being all of her life. In June of this year she fell and was hospitalized. She stayed overnight but insisted on leaving the next day just in time to go directly to Faraday School in a wheelchair to attend their Centennial Celebration where she was being honoured as the oldest alumna.

She occasionally expressed regret that living a long life meant missing so many people who were such a large part of her life. Church was also an important to her. She was a member of Redeemer Lutheran and then Christ Lutheran. Both churches closed during her lifetime. She attended the Luther Home Chapel while living in her apartment and while at River Ridge she was happy that she could attend a Lutheran service once a month led by Pastor Lynne Hutchinson from St. Luke’s Zion. When Covid confined her to her suite she watched two church services on television every Sunday morning.

Dorothy was fiercely independent and did not like having to use a walker to get around and having to rely on others for shopping and appointments. She appreciated the support of Home Care Workers who enabled her to remain in assisted living, especially Lisa, Kuljit and Home Care Nurse Palomar.

Dorothy will be remembered by her daughter Barbara (Bern), son Bobby (Kathy), daughter-in-law Christine, granddaughter Dana (Colin) and great-granddaughter Brooke, as well as nieces and nephews and their families. Her oldest son Garry died in 2012.

Mom liked to compare herself to the Queen. When the queen died mom said, “She was a good Queen.” Dorothy was a good” mommie”, mother, grandma and great-grandma.

A Celebration of Dorothy’s life will be held on Friday, December 2, 2022 at 1:00 at Neil Bardal Funeral Centre, 3030 Notre Dame Avenue. If you wish to honour Dorothy’s life please consider a donation to your church, Main Street Project or the Winnipeg Humane Society.