Celebration of a
Life Well Lived
Alice Marie Dolan nee, Welch, according to the official records of the Kansas Bureau of Vital Statistics, was a boy named Olin Welch born on July 11, 1919, when in actuality she was born a girl named Alice on July 13, 1919.
She was the twelfth of what ultimately became to be thirteen children born to Bart Welch and Alma Pentico, her mother having changed her name from Pentikoff to Pentico to avoid the hostility that some showed toward Germanic immigrants brought on by memories of the Franco-German War and World War I.
These errors in her birth records flowed from the mistake made by the travelling physician who attended her birth as part of his regular rounds in periodically travelling by horse and buggy throughout the rural farms dotting the rolling countryside surrounding Manhattan, Rice County, Kansas.
Apparently the doctor had a lapse in memory or illegible notes when it came to registering Alice’s birth with the proper authorities, a mistake that was indisputably rebutted by the correct entry detailing her birth name, gender and date of birth properly recorded in the Welch family Bible perched on proper display on a stand in the family living room.
Alice attended school in Kansas through the eighth grade at which time most of the Welch family pulled up stakes during the “Dust Bowl” years and moved to Nevada, settling in Battle Mountain.
In 1940 Alice met and soon married John T. Dolan, the dashing young teacher and successful coach at Lander County High School.
Their marriage soon celebrated the birth of three boys, being John, Mike and Pat born, respectively in 1941, 1943 and 1945 and subsequently celebrated the birth of a daughter, Colleen, born in 1957.
In 1946, Alice and her family moved to Winnemucca in connection with her husband’s accepted a teaching and coaching position at what was then denominated Humboldt County High School.
During the early years of her marriage Alice devoted her time to raising her family, which included devising ways to satisfy the appetites of three growing boys and patching and darning the clothing worn by these rough and rowdy males.
This effort required much sewing, patching and darning of their garments and socks in order to hand them down to the younger boys when the older children out grew this apparel.
In order to stretch the family’s budget, Alice worked at Brown’s Mercantile for many years and with the opening of Lowry High School accepted a position at that secondary school as a cook in the cafeteria that prepared and served the daily lunch to students at the local schools.
Her tenure as a cook quickly evolved into her accepting the head position in the cafeteria and featured her growing renown in Humboldt County for her delicious iced cinnamon rolls and large oatmeal and raisin (dubbed Ranger) cookies and her equally famous oatmeal and chocolate chip (dubbed Cowboy) cookies eagerly gobbled up on a daily basis by students and faculty alike.
Although, owing to the turbulent times, she never attended school beyond the eighth grade, Alice insured that her children were aware that hard work and the thirst for knowledge were the building blocks for success in an ever-changing world and that book learning was not the sole key to success but had to be blending with commonsense, hard work and a lot of luck for her off-spring to live the dream of every parent of her generation – that her children and her children’s children would succeed to a better life than enjoyed by Alice and her husband.
Alice was preceded in death by her husband, who died in 1978, and lived a quiet and happy life until she was 90 years old, dying on May 1, 2010.
As we remember the lessons of life and the joy that she shared with her family and friends, we also celebrate the only one true legacy that any of us can bestow on our progeny and those around us, that being a sense of what is right and what is wrong, and the character to do what is right and not just what is expedient.
By whatever name Alice was known, Olin, Alice, Pot, Mom, Grandma, or Dear Friend, on what would have been her 100th birthday on July 13, 2019, we pause to remember, reflect and give thanks for the opportunities she provided and the lessons she taught in preparing her children and her children’s children when it comes to the true meaning of what it means to live a good and loving life.
While you may not be of this Earth at this time, be assured that we will join you together in greener pastures as time marches on.