Delores Hilma McGath Anderson, 91, of Duluth, passed away Saturday January 23, 2021 in St Luke’s Hospital Hospice Care due to heart failure. Family members were by her side.
Delores was born on January 16, 1930 in Duluth, MN. Her mother, Jennie Ohlgren Dudek raised Delores and her two sisters, Evelyn and Alberta. Delores’s birth name was Hilma Delores McGath. In 1947 Delores legally changed her name to Delores Hilma McGath.
Delores and her husband Bud resided in Duluth most of their lives. They spent several years as “Snowbirds” in Arizona and Delores continued the snowbird life for five years after Bud passed away. They both loved Arizona and Delores remarked how her arthritis didn’t bother her as much while she was there.
Delores was born a true leader. She was captain of the soccer team in school, the director and board member of Happy Time Day Care Center, treasurer of the Linwood Lake Road Association, and supervisor for Duluth Avionics. Delores was organized, detailed and held high expectations for all who had the privilege to work with her.
Delores’s greatest achievement was opening and directing Happy Time Day Care Center at Bethany Lutheran Church in November 1969 and later at its current location. She worked endlessly to provide the highest quality program for children. Nancy, Delores’s daughter, joined the teaching team in January 1986. Together they created a beautiful learning environment and curriculum that supports all learners. Delores led by example and gave Nancy the platform to take the program to a new level of understanding about early education. Delores was a children’s champion. She was delighted by the children’s happiness.
Delores was well a respected member of the early childhood field. Early childhood experts would observe at Happy Time and Delores was often asked to be a guest speaker at local universities and colleges. She was asked to be part of the pilot program at UMD and earned a certification. Delores held very high expectations and challenged teachers to be their very best. She was a true pioneer in early childhood who won local, state and national awards for her dedicated work with children
Delores’s passion continued for Happy Time after she stepped away as director and then retiring in 2014. Daily conversations with Nancy, were filled with solid advice about operations and staﬀ but always about the children: “Are they learning? Are they happy?” Delores’s natural nurturing spirit drew children to her every time she visited.
Delores loved the “shack” at Linwood Lake. The “shack” was built by Bud, her cousin Billy, and son David in 1968. The journey to the “shack” was long at the beginning but didn’t stop them from going there. In 2007 the lease to the “shack” was turned over to her daughter and son-in-law. Delores continued to go to the cabin on weekends and full weeks in the summer until July of 2020 when her physical limitations prevented her from going. She said the cabin was her favorite place. She caught the most fish and won the most at cards. She even learned how to cast a new rod and reel when she was 85 years old. She caught her last fish in June 2020. Delores was thrilled that the new cabin had nuances of the old “shack”.
Delores, Nancy and other family members and friends would gather on the porch for late morning brunch and afternoon “happy hour”. Delores loved to toast to any occasion.
Delores traveled to Europe, Canada as well as many US destinations. Her endless energy, positive spirit and adventurous attitude made traveling so much fun. When one trip was over she was ready to plan the next.
Family was the most important part of Delores’s life. She related with each of her children and grandchildren uniquely assessing their individual strengths and needs. She felt great pride in their accomplishments and supported them in their challenges. She was loyal and hardworking and no matter how busy, she always had time for family. She listened with great intensity and gently challenged thinking processes to help encourage more successful outcomes. Delores lived her life with grace, humility and a wonderful smile.
Delores was preceded in death by her husband, Leonard “Bud” Anderson Jr.; great-grandson, Asher Anderson; brother, Elmer (Verna) Ohlgren; and sisters, Evelyn Lepley and Alberta Kintigh.
She is survived by her sons, Leonard “Frank” (Susan) Anderson III of Florida and David Anderson of Duluth; daughter, Nancy (Larry) Thomas of Duluth; grandsons, Leonard “Andy” F Anderson IV of Maryland, Nicholas (Gretchen) Anderson of Oregon, Nathan (Jamie) Anderson of Colorado, Michael (Amber) Anderson of Minnesota, and Jake Thomas of Duluth; granddaughters, Jill (Wayne) Anderson of Duluth and Kallie Thomas of Duluth; great-grandsons, Leonard “Drew” F Anderson V, Zachary Anderson of Florida, and Liam and Kylo Anderson of Minnesota; and great-granddaughters, Indigo and Hazel Anderson of Oregon.
An intimate by invitation family funeral service will be on Saturday, January 30th at Sunrise Funeral Home, 4798 Miller Trunk Hwy. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Happy Time Day Care Center, PO Box 16703, Duluth MN 55816.
Recording of service may be viewed on her Tribute Wall.
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