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100 years: Marie Dols reflects on her life

Members of the Stewart American Legion Auxiliary helped Marie Dols — a 67-year member of the Auxiliary — celebrate her 100th birthday on Monday, Feb. 1.

Marie Dols “loved her beauty shop,” which she ran for many, many years in Stewart.
“I got to know just about everyone,” she said last week.
And, apparently, people got to know Dols as well. That was evident Monday, Feb. 1, when a large group of women from the Stewart American Legion Auxiliary gathered at the Shade Tree Retirement Center in Brownton to celebrate Dols’ 100th birthday.
Dols is a 67-year member of the Auxiliary, which provided dessert and beverages to help her celebrate at an open house.
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Dols said she never expected to live to be 100, but thinks she reached the milestone because she never stopped moving.
And though she never expected to be a centenarian, Dols is quite proud of how agile she remains.
“I don’t walk with a cane or a walker,” she said. “My doctor always told me to do a lot of walking, and I’ve obeyed him on that. And I’ve never been sorry.”
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Marie Dols grew up on a farm six miles southeast of Stewart with her brothers, Herbert and Oscar Mayer. There was no running water  nor electricity on the farm.
“We carried water in pails from the well,” said Dols. “And there was no electricity, just gas lights with mantles and kerosene lamps.”
Dols said her parents didn’t expect her to help much with farm chores, but she did help her mother cook, which turned into a lifelong love for her.
“When we had threshers come, my mother always made a forenoon meal and an afternoon meal, and I’d always help her,” said Dols.
She attended country school, walking about a mile across farm fields to get there, and later went to St. Boniface Parochial School in Stewart and then graduated from Stewart High School.
After high school, her older brother helped put her through beauty school in St. Paul. After that, she opened a beauty shop in Brownton, which she later sold. She then opened another shop in Stewart, across the street to the north from where the former Red Owl building stands.
“I had one beauty operator working for me, and we were kept very, very busy,” said Dols. “People came from all around.”

For more, see the Feb. 11 print edition of The Chronicle.