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Dorothy R. Seelye (born Read)


Gender: Female

Date of Birth: March 3, 1920

Date of Death: May 30, 2020

Death Place: Battle Creek, MI

Dorothy R. Seelye

  • March 3, 1920 – May 30, 2020
  • Richland, Michigan

Dorothy R Seelye, 100, of Richland and Battle Creek, MI, and Jensen Beach, Florida, passed away peacefully on May 30, 2020, at Legacy at The Oaks in Battle Creek, MI. Shortly before passing, she was able to visit with all her family members both in person and thru Facetime. Most of the family had gathered together in early March to celebrate her 100th birthday with cake, ice cream and lots of delicious food.

She was born on March 3, 1920 to G. Sherman and Gladys (Chapin) Read both members of pioneer families of Richland, Kalamazoo County. She grew up on a farm but decided early in her life that she would be a “city” girl. After graduating from Richland High School, she moved to Battle Creek to attend Argubright Business College. It was there that she met her future husband, Harold M Seelye. In November 1938, they eloped to LaGrange, IN. They had stopped at Angola first and discovered they were too young to marry without permission. So they just added one year to their ages and drove to LaGrange. They were going to keep their marriage secret except the announcement appeared in an Indiana newspaper a week after the wedding. The family would often tease them about having only $5 in their pockets when they got married.

During WWII, Dorothy worked as a nurses aide at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Then in the mid 40’s they purchased M Lillie Studio which was located in the Hart Hotel Building. They continued to operate the photography studio for the next 35 years. Harold was the photographer and Dorothy was bookkeeper, receptionist and make-up artist. She used this talent to prepare actor’s make-up at the Barn Theater in Augusta, MI. She also obtained an Associates Degree in English at Kellogg Community College during the early 50’s. In the early 60’s they relocated the business to 727 S W Capital Avenue and remained there until retirement in 1973. They moved from Battle Creek to Richland after their retirements.

Dorothy and Harold were members of the Reveliers Dance Club and loved to attend their dances. She loved all music and would play many songs on her piano or organ. She enjoyed exercising, gardening, reading, traveling, writing, genealogy research and visiting with her loving family members. For many years she and Harold traveled to Florida for a winter break in their Airstream Trailer. They loved the east coast of Florida and finally purchased a home in Jensen Beach, FL, on Hutchinson Island. They made many life-long friends at their home in Venture III. After retirement, they traveled around the USA and thru Canada pulling their trailer behind them. Many of their travels were made thru the Wally Bynum Airstream Club. Through the Professional Photographers Association they also traveled abroad. Some of the places they visited included Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Germany, France and England. With a camera always located close-by she took many wonderful photos of their travels. She was a member of the writer’s club in Jensen Beach, FL. This created an opportunity to write many short stories about her early life in Richland. She donated a copy of her stories (Smoke Rings) to the Richland Community Library. Another donation was the carrilon to the Presbyterian Church of Richland. Her family had been pioneer members of the church and the gift was made in memory of her parents. Family was an important part of her life and many family traditions will continue through the next generations.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband (Harold), her parents and her sister and brother-in-law, Marilyn (“Tukie”) and Bob Robinson. She is survived by her daughter Sharon (Frank) Wichnal; son Douglas (Diane) Seelye; granddaughters Tina (Mark) Richardson, Kathy (John) Estes and Jeannie (Ross) Williams; grandsons David (Sara) Seelye, and Dan (Jodi) Seelye; 10 great-grandchildren and seven nieces.

With her passion for reading and writing, Dorothy requested that any memorial donations be made to the Richland Community Library.

In accordance with her wishes, her life will be celebrated at a private family memorial officiated by Pastor Craig Gilbert of Haven Church. Visitation will be held from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., Saturday, June 6th at the Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation. Graveside services will begin at 2:15 p.m. at the Prairie Home Cemetery in Richland. Arrangements are by the Farley Estes Funeral Home, Richland Chapel.

Published online by Farley Estes Funeral Home, Richland Chapel

[Wife of great-great-grandson of SGS # 3439 – Harold McKendree; McKendree Othello; McKendree Thomas; Thomas; Cornelius (# 3439); Daniel (#1554); David; Charles; Samuel; Jonas; Obadiah]