Dorothy Finwall

Dorothy Jean Finwall (Wallace)

Monday, February 3rd, 1936 - Sunday, March 28th, 2021
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Dorothy Jean Wallace Finwall

Date of birth: February 3,1936, Chicago Illinois
Date of passing: March 28, 2021, St. Joseph, Michigan

Dorothy Jean Wallace Finwall passed away peacefully at home on March 28, 2021.

Dorothy Jean was the eldest child of Robert C. Wallace and Anne Prendergast. She married Donald A. Finwall and together they had seven children who, like their parents all had first names that began with the letter “D”: Doreen, Donald, Daniel, Douglas, Dianne, Darcey and Denise.
She was blessed with a growing family including many grand and great grandchildren:
Grandchildren: Jessica DuRocher, Magdeline Finwall, Donald Finwall, Daniel Finwall, Patrick Finwall,
Colin Finwall, Emelie Finwall, Elizabeth Gregorich, Jennifer Gregorich, Brittany Purvis, Justin McLaughlin
and Brian McLaughlin
Great Grandchildren: Charlie Johan, Tristan Finwall, Daniel Finwall, Rosie Finwall, Sophia Frakes Finwall,
Mason Gregorich, Abby Jackson, Cherish Johnson, Darius Johnson, and Camryn Johnson
She was “Aunt Dor '' to many treasured nieces and nephews.

Born in Chicago with a novel beginning, she was born in the Packard before arriving at the hospital. Sweet home Chicago was always in Dorothy’s heart where she lived many chapters and created cherished homes. After the early start in Chicago, the majority of raising children chapters and memories happened in Pleasant Ridge, MI. While living in Michigan, Dorothy was a fierce advocate and supporter of the Ferndale Public Schools and Library. After raising her children, she completed her higher education at Oakland Community College, Wayne State University, and graduated from Loyola University with a degree in Education. Dorothy’s intellectual curiosity was abundant, and she never stopped learning. Teaching by example, Dorothy offered generous assistance to all on the quest for knowledge. Dorothy and Don returned to Chicago and after Don’s passing in 1983 and obtaining her teaching degree, she taught English full time in the Chicago Public School System. She provided almost twenty years of impact to her lucky students at John F. Kennedy High School. Dorothy gave “extra’ to all including the yearbook and drama theatre clubs, overseas trips with students, and her daily lessons. She also shared her talents with International students while tutoring and class instruction of ESL. She loved sharing the gift of words with everyone. She was well known to all as the “Scrabble Queen” and also the fiercest “Words with Friends” competitor. Dorothy was interested in literature, art and cultures, theatre, film, gardening and sewing. She was an excellent seamstress who taught many lessons in both sewing and tailoring, created costumes for kids’ holidays and theatre productions, dresses for special occasions, and home decor. She set her standards high and always exceeded them. Once she retired from teaching in Chicago, she returned to Pleasant Ridge for many delightful chapters before fully retiring one more time to Saint Joseph, MI to enjoy the sunset of her days near Lake Michigan.

With conviction, Dorothy Jean championed the rights of all people. With compassion Dorothy fought for equality and acceptance. The evolution of changes to society fascinated Dorothy, and she often wondered why good changes took so long. Her discussions with family and friends often included meaningful humanitarian topics. She was never one to turn down an engaging conversation and a ”good gab”, her wit and wisdom were cherished by all. Dorothy traveled to Ireland, her “Motherland”, with a twinkle in her eye and joy in her heart. An expert in Irish Literature, Dorothy was taken with all things prose and poetry from every corner of the world.

An amazing home chef, Dorothy’s love for recipes, cookbooks, and adventurous fine meals are legendary. She had a strong appetite for opportunities to share fine dining, loved family meals, and crispy pastries. “Who Has More Fun than People?” is what Mom often exclaimed. Friendship was so important to Dorothy and to her “tribe” of loyal faithful friends - she expressed love, respect, and concern for each and every one.

In Dorothy’s immediate family, she was preceded in death by her husband Donald Andrew Finwall and grandson Colin Andrew Finwall. Survivors include children Doreen (Doug) Johan, Donald (Denise) Finwall, Daniel Finwall, Douglas Finwall, Dianne Finwall, Darcey (Paul) McLaughlin, and Denise (Sam) Luna. She was also preceded in death by her parents, her beloved Aunt Jean Wallace Masters, many aunts and uncles, and her sisters Arlene Giglio, Annabelle Brinell, Susan Bratelin, Marianne O’Neill, Delores Wallace, and Jeanine Krask, and brothers William Wallace and Donald Wallace. Dorothy was the eldest sister of the Wallace family and is survived by brothers Robert Wallace and Joseph (Sue) Wallace.

We say to our beloved Mama with love: “Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure, you are loved beyond words, and missed beyond measure”.

Dorothy supported numerous charities and organizations, and if so inclined, memorials in Dorothy’s name may be directed to the Ferndale Public Library (Michigan) where Mom volunteered, her favorite charity Doctors without Borders, or your local PBS station.

We honor the impactful legacy of Dorothy Jean Wallace Finwall.
Rest in Eternal Peace.
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Service Details

Final Arrangements are handled by Starks & Menchinger Chapel. Cremation has taken place.


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Private Condolence

Juli McLeod

Posted at 07:51am
I have so many wonderful memories of Dorothy Jean! One of my favorite and oldest memories took place in the parking lot of the Ferndale Public Library when I was in high school. I was leaving the library one evening and saw Dorothy standing by her station wagon. I stopped to speak to her, I was always in complete awe of her, she was so beautiful and poised, my friend’s sweet Mom. She told me with a big laugh she had locked herself out of her car. The back window of the station was partially open and being a little teenager I was able to climb into the station wagon to open the door. The whole time I was climbing through the car, climbing over grocery bags of books, Dorothy was roaring laughing. She thanked me profusely afterwards. I just love how she could laugh at herself and any situation. She had such a positive way a framing things. She was always thoughtful and kind to others, especially people in the margins. I will miss her terribly but I’m glad I had her in my life and I will always have her shining example of a life well lived. Thank you, Dorothy.

Becky Rotter

Posted at 08:59am
Dorothy was a beautiful, gentle woman who had exquisite taste. Such a beautiful family she raised!

Valerie Robak

Posted at 10:13pm
My sweet Aunt Dor. I have so many fond memories that I will always cherish. The world lost a beautiful women. ❤

Rebekah Chor

Posted at 05:28pm
I met Mrs. Finwall by working for her son, Dan Finwall. She lived just down the street from the office and I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Mrs. Finwall on a few occasions. Most of the time she would have no idea that Dan was bringing his employee to visit her at home, but she was always very welcoming and so warm hearted. I will miss greeting her on her porch, but I am grateful that I was able to meet such a kind and gentle soul.

Daniel Finwall Posted at 06:55pm

Thank you Rebekah, my Mother liked you very much She asked about you often and loved her chats with you. ❤️ Dan Finwall

Randolph J. Poole

Posted at 03:35pm
Knowing and conversing with 'Dotty Jean' was one of the most pleasant and happy experiences of my life. God bless her good and nurturing soul.

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