Thursday, January 08, 2015

Life Sketch - Dolores Ruth Amador

September 5,1930- December 12, 2014

Dolores Ruth (Chester) Amador, known as Dolores to her family and friends, was born in Seattle, Washington on September 5, 1930.   She passed away at her residence in Oakley, California on December 12, 2014.   She was just over 84 years of age.  
She is survived by her loving children, Donald (Ellen) Amador of Oakley, CA & Darla Amador of Napa, California and her two grandsons; Jonathan & Thomas Amador of Oakley, California.
She is survived by a cousin Dwight Weiding (Cindy) of Maui, Hawaii.  She also has several cousins in Norway and Sweden.
She is also survived by Nieces and Nephews: 
Sharon (Jack) Motl  of Mt. Vernon, Washington;  
Linda (Bruce) Whitman of Tonasket, Washington;
Richard (Kathryn) Chester, Jr. of Snohomish, Washington;
Darlene Kenny of Seattle, Washington;
Matthew (Joyce) Chester of Edmonds, Washington;
Vicki Castalin of Oregon state;
Sharon Castalin of Stockton, California
along with 11 great nieces and nephews
and 5 great-great nieces and nephews.
Dolores is survived by her sister-in-law (Daniel's sister) Margaret Garcia (Ray) of Jamestown, CA.
She is also survived by her daughter-in-law's parents: Dr. and Mrs. J. Gene and Esther Zimmerman of Antioch, California and by her daughter-in-law's brothers: Dave, Ed and Dan Zimmerman and their families.
Dolores was preceded in death by her father & mother, Elias & Ruth Chester, her sister Eleanor Chester (at age 20, who died when Dolores was only 12); her brother, Dick Chester and her husband, Daniel Amador.
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Dolores' parents were from (Dad) Norway and (Mom) was both Norwegian and Swedish.  Her mother was born in America but her father entered this country as an immigrant through Ellis Island in the early 1900's. Dad was a fisherman who worked from San Francisco to and Alaska; Tuna to Salmon to Cod to Halibut.   He even got a whale (the picture is available on request, wanna see the eardrum?  You can!) 
She spent her summers at the family vacation home on Vashon Island in Puget Sound. This began her love of the water. She often went out in the rowboat by herself.  Both her father and brother, Dick, were Captains of ocean going vessels.
Her family moved to Eureka in the early 1940's, at the urging of her brother Dick.   After a few years Dick and his family moved back to Seattle. But Dolores and her parents remained in California.  That was her Junior Year in High School.
Dolores love for the piano and music started in elementary school.  There was a piano teacher, Prof. Risogari, at the University of Washington in Seattle that never taught children....but he consented to teach her.   The lessons were 1/2 hour...and she mostly listened to him play.   He would talk about imaging forests and musical movement - "You must move with feeling toward the goal...with feeling...softer to louder."    She learned to read notation and was known for playing energetically with feeling.   She was a great pianist!
With her piano talent, she was in demand to play for the choir at school.  But her faith was firm that she couldn't play on Sabbath days.   At first the director said "You can't play then."...but later, when she heard her play...she relented.  Her talent spoke for itself!
The following year, Dolores' senior year, her mother wanted her to finish in a Christian school.  So it was off to be a dorm student in Lodi, California at the Adventist Academy, where she graduated.
After that, she took some college work at the business college in Eureka, California.   One of her fist jobs was a "candler" - holding chicken eggs up to a light to see if they had a fertilized chick growing inside.  She lost a job in early life for being honest and upfront in her dealings...and she said it was the only way to live.  Another job was at the Dolly Vardon Lumber Company, as the receptionist and dispatcher.   For years, her happy voice answered the phone "Dolly Vardon Lumber Company".  And she always advocated for a cheerful voice over the phone or communicating with the truck drivers.
            While in Eureka one night while she was out with friends, she noticed an acquaintance of her sitting at the end of the bar.  He looked quite sad.  (he had reason to be - his wife and child had both died in her childbirth.)  So...she went over and said hello, and as Dolores put it...." we were together ever since."   That man was Dan Amador.   And they enjoyed 45 years of marriage from 1953 to 1998.
            Dan was in construction, working as an Operating Engineer for Local #3 for 35 years.  They were together up until Dan's death in  March of 1998.
            Dan never joined the Seventh-day Adventist church, but was supportive of Dolores' desire to have their two children have a Christian Education .  Initially opposed to it because of the cost, he later supported the project.  (We know Dolores also wouldn't take "No" for an answer.)  Dolores also worked to meet the tuition - both at school in Eureka, and at Rio Lindo Academy. Dan was always very proud to say his children were in private Christian school   He wrote a heartfelt letter saying how proud he was of both his children, which Darla has and treasures to this day.
            When her children were in school, she often helped with school field trips and school plays.  Darla will never forget her 16th birthday party – there was a terrible ferocious storm that day, that did not stop Dolores!!  She had planned a surprise party on the campus for Darla and many of her friends. It was the only time Darla was ever surprised!!!
            Dolores joined the Adventist Church, having been raised by an Adventist mother. Dolores’s grandmother, Ada Berg, was Swedish, and was saved through the ministry of the Salvation Army.  Ada and Ruth, Dolores’s mother, set an example of Godliness in their lives and homes.
Dolores was a great daughter too:  After Dolores and Dan were married it wasn't long until Dan invited Ruth to live with them.   Darla and Don recall the blessings of having grandma live with them.  Darla says  "Grandma kept house and cooked:  Chocolate cookies, Swedish pancakes, Chocolate pie, Blackberry pie. Homemade bread every Thursday. Every meal was a home cooked meal.    . 
This mentoring.... was reproduced in Dolores' near Don and Ellen for the last 30 years or so. Dolores was a super grandma to her two grandsons. 
So...A woman who never had a grandma....made sure she would be a super grandma to her children... and so she was!
Summer wasn’t complete without a trip to Seattle without a trip to her brother’s beach house on Hoods Canal near Seattle.   Those trips to the beach were memorable, fun, and treasured by her children, Don and Darla.  Dolores would also take the kids to the local beaches, Moon Stone Beach and Table Bluff.  They also enjoyed visiting local state parks, Patrick’s Point and Richardson’s Grove.
Because Dolores loved and played music, she also made sure her children had music lessons: Piano and Trumpet for Don.  Piano for Darla.   They see this training as one of Mom's greatest gifts in their lives.   Dolores also taught her grandsons how to play the piano.
Her love and talent for music opened many doors for her as a pianist and a vocalist.   She sang in a triple trio in High School.  Music, she said, was her "moment of silence" each day.   It was a space in time where she could listen and feel - a personal retreat with just herself and the sounds.
She was active in the music program at the Eureka Seventh Day Adventist Church where she was the church pianist, helped with the choir, and often performed special music.  She loved gospel music and the traditional Christian hymns.
She attended as many gospel concerts as she was able to.  She loved the concerts by "Up With People" and "The Heritage Singers."   Later in life, Darla and Dolores enjoyed sharing many hours watching  Gaither Homecoming videos..  
Dolores loved the holidays with family.  Christmas time was always a very special time in her home. She was a fabulous cook and baker, and everyone loved to eat her dishes.
Many nights were spent making the traditional Scandinavian foods before Christmas.   Rullepolse: rolled spiced curried Lamb, Swedish Coffee Bread: sweet bread with cardamom, Pepparkaka: very thin rolled Ginger Cookie (a dough really hard to roll)
 She loved to see how happy this made her family.  It was a very festive time for one and all.  She also loved to make a person feel "Special" at birthday parties making that day memorable for everyone!     Her niece, Darlene, loved coming for her birthday in July many many times.  This year, 2014, Darlene made 3 trips down from Seattle just to see Auntie Dorie! Dolores loved Darlene like a daughter.  On her last visit, Dolores was able to say a heartfelt  "I love you." and "Thank you."
When the kids went off to Rio Lindo Academy in the early 1970s, Dolores traveled around town or went on trips with her dogs sitting either on her lap or in the front passenger seat.   She always loved dogs and would have at least 2 with her.  Later in life, she began a love of cats when she started helping take care of her daughter's cats. She adopted a cat - “Bootsie”  - that was her constant companion in her later years. Bootsie even accompanied her as resident of Eskaton, an assisted living community!
In the 60’s, Dolores was an award winning saleswoman for Coppercraft Guild (In home Copper Decor) and Home Interiors during the 1970s.  She also was a wonderful seamstress making most of her own clothes, and many of the kids clothes. From her interior decorating training she learned to be particular about "Mirror Placement"   She said "It is important that the mirror reflect beauty."   So a mirror was located where it could reflect more than just the refrigerator!  And Darla today...has many mirrors in her home to make it look bigger and more beautiful - because Dolores liked mirrors too.  More mirrors!
In the early 80s, Dolores traveled to Norway to visit her families’ homes with her daughter, Darla, and her niece, Darlene.  The three of them developed a special bond and memories with their family in Norway.  It was her wish that she could have visited Sweden, but never made it. 
Shortly after that trip, Dolores and Dan moved to Oakley to be nearer to his new job with Ford Construction in Lodi and near their kids and grandkids living in the Bay Area. Darla also encouraged them to move to be near their grandchildren.
Dolores loved being with her grandsons, Jonathan and Thomas, and would often pick them up from the Hilltop Christian Church School, then located on Worrell Road.  She would take them on trips to the store or park, stopping to get them a treat on the way home.   Jonathan and Thomas remember the Swedish Pancakes she made...(memorably made with a whole stick of butter.)  She loved attending their piano recitals and school programs.  She loved "spoiling" her grandsons and even bought her own video game system so the boys could play their favorites after school at her house. She became quite super at playing the Super Nintendo video games with her grandsons.
In retirement: She and Dan would go trailer camping in their 32' travel trailer.  There were also many trips with her family through the years:  A trip to Minnesota to visit an Aunt; trips to Disneyland, and other fun places.  Summers were her time to be with her children, and later grandchildren.
Dolores and Darla were the best of friends, and enjoyed everything from cooking to shopping together and talking several times a day on the phone!  Darla will cherish those memories forever!
Dolores was also a great gardener.   She always loved growing flowers and working in the soil.  In Eureka, she had a greenhouse, and would do her own cuttings and start new plants.
Since 1998, she was without her beloved husband...but she enjoyed many happy occasions with her family.
            Then came these past years of decline, where she dealt with grace and courage the complex infirmities of Parkinson's Disease, with it's accompanying stiffness.   Her eyesight faded too.   She moved from independent living to assisted living to extended care.   And yet, she kept her love for living and laughter.   She became even more outgoing and flamboyant in her communal living arrangements.   She really did enjoy making the other people happy by what she said or did...or what she wore! Darla never missed and extended weekend stay in Oakley to visit her mother.  Some one once commented to Dolores that,” there’s a special place in heaven for daughters like yours”
God, by His sovereign grace, has laid Dolores to rest.  She has entered the temporary sleep of death.  Soon, Jesus will come and call her forth to everlasting life in heaven and on the earth made new.  It is the reality of the truth of the resurrection of the dead that gives hope and comfort to us today.
            Our lives have been enriched because we have loved and have been loved by Dolores Amador.  She has been a Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Grandma, Niece, Aunt and Friend! He enriched the lives of so many people and she will be truly missed.  We place our hope in the resurrection and the reunion that awaits us all in heaven.  May God bless us with His comfort and His peace this hour.

Prepared by Don and Darla Amador
with O. Kris Widmer 

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