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Obituary: Dorlene Kenney

Dorlene Kenney, 80, passed away the morning of April 18, 2022, at Barnes Care Assisted Living in Esko after a lengthy illness with Alzheimer's. She was surrounded by her family.

Dorlene was born Sept. 19, 1941 in Duluth to Chester and Gunhild Carlstrom. She attended business school at Duluth Business University and learned shorthand and many other skills, which propelled her into the opportunities that led to her work at Family Services, Inc. in Duluth, which became what we know today as Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. She received a certificate of award by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling-Region 6 for excellence in leadership, and outstanding support staff in 1991. She received an employee recognition award in appreciation for service to her clients in 1992. She retired from Lutheran Social Services and always talked about the joy of working there and the friendships she developed and had going throughout the years.

She began a second part-time career at the Black Bear casino in Cloquet, where she worked for 10 years. She loved her work there, and had a wonderful time interacting with the staff and folks she would engage. She received an award for perfect attendance for 2007 for guest services, and also was guest services employee of the month for February 2008.

Dorlene loved traveling, and took her granddaughters to Disney World and Mount Rushmore. She traveled with her children to Florida and California to visit family and friends. She traveled to visit her sister Bonnie in Washington state and Karen in Massachusetts. She loved her camping trips to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to visit her husband Mike's family over the years, by car and by Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

She loved reading; she read many books, and had a chance to meet Garrison Keillor at Big Top Chautauqua in Bayfield, Wisconsin, where he signed her copy of his book, "Homegrown Democrat."

Dorlene and her four kids, Tammy, Toni, Tommy and Todd, also saw Garrison Keillor and Trampled with Turtles when they performed at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Fun times!

She was an avid Minnesota Twins and Vikings fan and went to many games throughout the years with most everyone in the family. Her inscription, "Dorlene (Carlstrom) Kenney," is on Panel 4 of the Twins Tradition Wall. So if you're ever at a Twins game and have some time, go say hello. She would be by the Tom Kelly statue.

Dorlene shared a beautiful small log home in the Cloquet area with her husband Mike, where she created many memories for family and friends over their 30 years of marriage, enjoyed cooking and having Easter and Christmas dinners, and walked all her doggies over the years. Their last companion and love was Cooper, a large Newfoundland. He loved snow and going for rides in a van that was bought just for him because he was that big.

Dorlene and Mike also had a beautiful camper site, No. 57, at Bent Trout Lake in Mahtowa, about 10 miles south of Cloquet where family could visit, swim, visit by the campfires, enjoy fireworks on the Fourth of July, and celebrate birthdays and anniversaries as well. The paddleboat was also a fun time.

Dorlene is preceded in death by her first husband, Thomas Erickson Sr., and second husband, Michael Kenney; parents Chester and Gunhild Carlstom; siblings, brother Carl Carlstrom and sisters Katherine (Thomas) Olson and Bonnie (Harry) Boyd; Auntie Geneva Carlstrom; daughter Toni (Daniel) Barrett; and great-grandson Beauden Shaw.

Dorlene is survived by her siblings, sister Karen (Delmar) Haskins of Ashfield, Massachusetts and Cheryl (Bob) Follis of Washburn, Wisconsin; her children Tammy (Michael) Hanzlik, Thomas Erickson Jr. and Todd (Jennifer) Erickson, Duluth; her grandchildren Brandon Erickson, Brooke (Kodey) Shaw, Jared Barrett, Brittany (Chris) Oestreich, Shaun Erickson and Matt Kalm; her great-grandchildren Brandon and Courtney Erickson, Luca and Sadie Oestreich, and Breccen and Willow Shaw. She will leave behind countless close cousins, nieces and nephews and friends, including childhood friends Audrey, Patti and Joan from Indiana.

Thank you, Cousin Darrell, for the copy of your "Campfires in the Basement" which was read to Dorlene a few times; she had a copy in her room upon getting her sainthood. It was an honor to read it and discuss the rich history of the family.

The family also gives thanks for the pastoral care visits Mom had in her final days, to Dennis from Rivers Edge Church in Carlton, Jerome from Trinity Lutheran Church from Duluth, and Todd from St. Croix Hospice. Again, thank you to Trinity Lutheran staff for always keeping Dorlene in your thoughts and always mailing her son those weekly church service bulletins and sermons that he read to her outside her window during those Covid times, when all we had were those cherished window visits.

The family would like to thank the staff at Barnes Care, the night staff at Barnes Care, and the St. Croix Hospice folks who all cared for our mother Dorlene over that last couple of years, and especially Mom's final days and nights. You're all a blessing to your craft and skill in the health care field.

Mother, Friend, Great-grandmother, Sister, Cousin, Co-worker, Sports Fan - you will be missed.

Visitation: 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. service Thursday, May 5, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1108 East Eighth Street, Duluth, with Pastor Shivon Miller officiating.