Dorla Isabelle Rutkowski

ESCANABA — Dorla Isabelle Rutkowski, 86, of Escanaba, passed away on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at the Christian Park Health Care Center in Escanaba.

Dorla was born Sept. 3, 1930, in Flint, Mich., the daughter of Andrew and Isabelle (Roberts) Hempton.

Dorla is survived by her son, Martin (Kathy) Hedlund of Gwinn; her daughters, Paula (Don “Duck”) Sagataw of Wilson, and Victoria (Scott) Hussey of Clinton Township, Mich.; grandchildren, Joe (Jennifer) Pease, Paul (Meghan) Pease, Autumn Hedlund, Thomas Hedlund, Martina Hedlund and Ron (Tammy) Sagataw; great-grandchildren, Jenna Pease, Carly Sagataw and Farren Sprague; her brother, Kenneth (Kim) Hempton of Washington and nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Rutkowski, her parents, her brothers, David and Tommy Hempton and her granddaughter, Sabrina Sagataw.

A native of Flint, Mich., Dorla, attended Flint Technical High School where she graduated with honors a year early. During her teens Dorla was involved with the Civil Air Patrol, was an accomplished skeet shooter and enjoyed playing the trombone. She later graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in American history. Dorla’s love of things historical was evident in her avid interest in genealogy and tracing her Scottish ancestry. She often commented that her trip with her daughters to Scotland was the trip of a lifetime.

Dorla worked for Citizens Insurance Company where she became their first woman senior underwriter. She worked for many years at the Howell office and eagerly accepted the opportunity to work at the Escanaba branch in 1988. Dorla retired from Citizens after more than 20 years of service.

Dorla’s quirky character and sense of humor were much loved by the many people she met through her volunteer activities. She could often be found working at the front desk at St. Francis Hospital, tackling a variety of tasks at the Bonafis Fine Art Center, and managing pasty sales at the UP 200 sled dog races. She was an active volunteer through RSVP and took pride in being a member of the local Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Dorla was a lifetime dog lover and always had a furry friend by her side. She was especially fond of her two West Highland white terriers, Maggie, and Muffy. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in Dorla’s name at the Delta Animal Shelter at 6975 County 426 M.5 Road, Escanaba, MI 49829

It was only in that last few months of her life that her mobility and independence was limited by cancer and a string of complications that found her in and out of the hospital. Her family remained by her side through it all.

Special thanks to the caring staff at the Christian Park Health Care Center who made her short stay as comfortable as possible for her and her family.

A private memorial ceremony will be held a future date to spread her ashes at the Straits of Mackinac.

The Rutkowski family is being assisted by the Skradski Family Funeral Home in Escanaba.

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