Dorothy O’Brien Thillman, resident of Casco, WI, and Ft. Myers Beach, FL, died after a short illness on Saturday, April 27, 2019, surrounded by her loving family.
She was born in Superior, WI, on August 16, 1944, to James Patrick and Ruth Mary (Schak) O’Brien. Despite significant personal and physical challenges, our beloved Dorothy developed the optimism, resilience, generosity, and humor that characterized the rest of her life. Her larger than life presence impacted anyone left in her wake, especially her grandchildren whom she treasured beyond words.
Dorothy graduated from Cathedral High School in Superior and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where her children got to see her cross the stage in her cap and gown. She spent her career educating countless children in the Luxemburg-Casco School District, primarily as a special education teacher. Her students provided her an endless source of stories and life lessons.
She was united in marriage to Ray Thillman on April 24, 1965, and they celebrated fifty-four years of adventure-filled marriage. As world-wide travelers, they boarded ships and enjoyed climbing the Great Wall of China, going “down under” to the Great Barrier Reef, floating through the Panama Canal, getting stuck in the Vietcong tunnels of Vietnam, and taking in the breathtaking view of the Norwegian fjords.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by four children: Peter (Jean) Thillman, Green Bay, WI; Susan (Peter) Anthony, Glenview, IL; Mary (Dan) Roth, Plymouth, MN; and Katie (Andy) Longstreth, Glenview, IL; Granny/Dodo to Alex, Nick, Abby, and Maggie Thillman; Sofia and Will Anthony; Seamus, Cecelia, and Aidan Roth; and Ryan and Evan Longstreth; sister Mary Remus, and Dorothy’s dear nieces and nephews, Shawn Neumann, Tom Murray, James Zahler, Maria Zahler, and numerous friends across the country.
She is preceded in death by her parents, her special Aunt Katie Haley, and half-sister, Patricia.
A memorial celebrating her life will be held on May 18, 2019, at Holy Trinity Church in Casco, WI. Visitation will begin at 8:30 and will continue until the 11:00 AM Mass of Christian Burial with Fr. Daniel Schuster as celebrant.
Should friends desire, memorials may be made in Dorothy’s name to The Ben May Department for Cancer Research at the University of Chicago (http://giving.uwchicago.edu/Dorothy-Thillman) or to any charity supporting the arts.