January 24th, 1939- October 5th, 2023
*Author’s Note: The following are excerpts from the Celebration of Life service for Dolores Alvera Kingsley for you to read, reflect, and pay your respects privately. It was an honor for me to learn about Dolores and help capture her story for her dear family and friends. Guests in attendance were asked to wear leopard print, and the service was a loving, joy-filled tribute full of laughs and tears followed by a fabulous luncheon at Dolores’ favorite dining spot- Hob Nob. She was celebrated in style!
While the broken pieces of your heart will never quite be the same, know that Dolores would not want your heart to be troubled. May you find comfort in sweet memories, may you find peace in the ways you find her to still be a part of your present, and may you find hope in being reunited with her some day in the kingdom of God.
Dolores was a force of nature! She was adored by all who knew her. Born and raised in Kenosha, Dolores lived a wonderful life in this historic harbor city. Chances are if you lived a lifetime here you knew and cherished Dolores, too. In fact, when I told my mom whose service I was working on, she said, “Oh! Grandma shopped from Dolores and so did I. She dressed all of you kids. She was an excellent sales lady.” So very “Kenosha.” We are all connected.
Dolores graduated from Bradford High School. She began working at Morrison’s Children’s Clothing Store in downtown Kenosha in the 1950s and enjoyed a long career there. She could gift wrap like nobody’s business and was a talented decorator. She was always so proud of her seasonal window displays at Morrison’s. Customer service was her specialty, and she dressed everyone in style. Her family said, “She could sell a bikini to an Eskimo!” Nobody intimidated her, and she had a transcendent gift of gab that made everyone feel comfortable, loved, and special.
Dolores loved fashion. She had a great time modeling in fashion shows downtown back in the day and staying up with all the trends at her store. She did what few people could do: she could be dressed to the nines in a red or purple leather suit and stilettos and be ever so fashionable and classy. That’s a talent!
Above and beyond fashion, Dolores adored her family, and they adored her. Dolores raised six children using a mantra of her favorite F words: Fair- Firm- Fun. Dolores was a loving mom, the disciplinarian, the hostess, and oh so much fun. Brenda, Krissy, Michael, Daniel, Matthew, and Megan were blessed to call Dolores “mom.” She’d sing and dance with the kids and they’d pretend to be The Supremes. Dolores, well known for wanting to be the center of attention, would always be Diana Ross. When her kids were teenagers, she’d sit in her chair by the window and wait until they returned home. You didn’t dare be late. She was a great listener and non-judgmental provider of unconditional love, and she could bring comfort to even the most awkward of situations. And if you didn’t know what to do, Dolores taught you how to just dance it out!
She made everyone feel special. If you gave her a gift or decorated your home, she made the biggest fuss over how thoughtful and talented you were. She was your biggest fan. She was fabulously over-the-top but always genuine and sincere. She was a fantastic mother and grandmother and absolutely wonderful to have as a mother-in-law. Her greatest ability was to love people. May those feelings of being loved by Dolores stay with you always.
Dolores was blessed with many wonderful friendships and family members that filled her life with joy. She dearly loved her sisters, Darlene and Becky. One person stands out as her soulmate, her lifelong best friend, Mary Ann. Their beautiful friendship meant the world to Dolores.
To Dolores’ daughters and sons-in-law that became caregivers for her, please know that you were angels on earth to her. She never wanted to be a burden. While caregiving is exhausting and challenging, you all showed her so much compassion and love and provided her with comfort. You kept her safe until God called her home. We can be sure that she is up in heaven making the biggest fuss over all of you and telling everyone how thoughtful and loving her family is.
Brenda, Krissy, Jim, and others, while this transition of not having Dolores physically present is incomprehensible right now, I hope the day soon comes that when someone says, “night night,” you think, “where’s my ice cream cone,” and instead of feeling the loss you feel loved and whole and appreciated.
It does feel like Dolores’ 84 years went by way too quickly. We blinked, and it was over. While no length of time with our loved ones will ever seem long enough, it is an absolute blessing to have had Dolores present on this earth for over 8 decades. Her time here and her time spent with each of you was a precious gift. May you be ever grateful for the gift of Dolores’ presence in your life, and may you learn from her words and actions and how she chose to spend her precious time.
What Dolores did for her family and for the community will remain immortal. Her love for you, all the beautiful memories she built with you…will stay with you always.
There are so many stories to tell and memories to relive. Please, share the memories, share the love today and in the days and years to come so that Dolores’ legacy may endure. Embrace and share with others the qualities of Dolores that you love and miss so much. Put on some Motown music, decorate for Christmas, throw on some leopard print, dance it out, and light up a room and remember Dolores. It’s okay for the Christmas tree to turn into a January birthday tree and then a February Valentine’s tree…but, according to Krissy, the tree must come down by Easter!
Dolores will be forever loved and missed by many especially her children Brenda, Krissy, Michael, Daniel, Matthew, and Megan and their families, her 10 grandchildren, her 3 great grandchildren, her niece Lisa, her sisters Darlene and Becky, her soulmate Mary Ann, several other family members, dear friends, and her sweet dog Livie.
Dolores, may you rest in eternal peace knowing you are dearly loved.
My sincere condolences and love, Holly