“My Story – My Song”
Dolores Mary Travnicek was born on April 14, 1925 at St. Michael’s Hospital in Grand Forks, N.D. to her loving parents, Joseph and Margaret (Cariveau) Travnicek, where she “completed the family” by joining her brothers, Don and Chick.
Known simply as “Dee” to her brothers and “Babe” by her mother, she was blessed with a happy childhood; spending many of her days working at The Capital – a café and bowling alley owned by her parents. Patrons to the establishment were often greeted by Dee’s piano playing and conversations, a feeling that she described as her “Seventh Heaven.”
Dolores concluded her education in 1943, graduating from Sacred Heart High School in East Grand Forks. While her studying days were over, Dee remained a lifelong Eagles fan and was often seen at school events cheering on the purple and gold.
She confirmed her faith with God in confirmation at Sacred Heart, following her musical background by selecting Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians, as her confirmation name. Dee remained in constant admiration of the litany of saints through her final moments, and could often be found praying to the saints for all types of requests.
Dolores was also extremely involved in her faith and church, singing in the Sacred Heart choir and Euterpe Music Chorus during her life. She was a charter member of the local chapter of the Catholic Daughters of America and remained a vital piece until her passing.
She met the “love of her life”, Ralph Henry Stocker, and the two were married on December 28, 1943 where they were about to embark on one of the most loving marriages many have ever seen. The pair were blessed with 10 daughters, 27 grandchildren, and more than 60 great/great-great grandchildren as they entered their 75th year of marriage in 2018. Forever known as Ralph and Dee, the duo became nearly inseparable in their countless travels around the country visiting their “friends in every state” and making appearances at nearly every family event.
When the pair weren’t attending family events, Dolores could often be found inside a University of North Dakota Athletics facility, cheering on the green and white. If there was a home UND event, you would often find Dee in her familiar seat. She, alongside Ralph, were named as Honorary Letterwinners by the Athletics Department in 2012 where they continued to cement their relationships with countless student-athletes by having them over for dinners, mending their uniforms, and always enjoying great conversation.
Dolores also sparkled in her own athletic achievements, starring in both the women’s and mixed bowling leagues. Dee was always known for arriving with the same, perfectly organized bowling bag that she had used throughout her playing career, and bowling a 678 series that she always remembered through her final moments. If she wasn’t found knocking down pins at the bowling alley, many would also find Dolores at the local roller rink where she loved to roller skate.
She often joined her husband Ralph on the golf course, especially when spending their winters in Mesa, Ariz. alongside their many friends. If you were to visit her home in Arizona, you would often be greeted by her perfectly-kept orange tree in their backyard while enjoying many hours of card playing and crossword puzzles.
Her grandkids, friends, and daughters will always remember the countless phone calls from Dolores on special occasions and events in their lives; something that Dee had written down in her calendar. Occasions ranging from one’s first soccer goal to the date of their tonsil surgery, people were always excited when the phone rang from their lifelong number.
Baked goodies also often greeted guests when they were visitors, as Dolores carried a list of everyone’s favorites for when they arrived. From banana bread to ice cream, your stomach never left empty following a visit to Dee’s house. Many would also look through the countless photo albums that she created, piecing one together for every daughter and grandchild. If you were lucky, you would find her personal handwriting on the back of each photo that would forever cement the memory in time.
Grandchildren would receive countless mementos from Dolores upon reaching notable events. When graduating, each would be given a personalized, hand-crocheted afghan; while newborn babies would be delivered a handmade pillow from Grandma Dee, a gift that many still use today.
Taking special care of her garden, Dolores was most notably fond of her sweet pea flowers, something that earned Dee the nickname “Sweet Pea” from her husband. The two would often be found on the dance floor in their younger years, loving to square dance to any music that was playing; while Dee had a special memory of her tap dancing days. If you listened closely, you may hear Ralph calling her “Peaches” or “Queenie.”
Dolores always enjoyed her volunteering efforts, spending multiple years with Meals on Wheels and moonlighting as a wedding planner where many would seek out her advice due to her long-lasting marriage and her numerous planning efforts.
She was greeted by Jesus on the morning of November 16, 2018 after 93 joyous years of life. While she is now gone from this Earth, her memories and love will forever remain in everyone’s heart who was blessed with her presence.
Remember to call your loved ones, tell them you “love them like crazy,” and enjoy an extra scoop of ice cream.
“I hope when I get to Heaven, I can say that I used up all of my talents.”
You certainly did, Dee. You certainly did.
*Penned by Alec Stocker Johnson
*Items in quotes were sayings often said by Dolores
Daughters and Families:
Darlyne (Dave) Smith; Joseph; Jeff (Susan) Charlotte, Hannah, Porter,
Ashlyn, Djeneva, Kevin, Andy ; Mimi, Abriana, Amelinda, Alex,
Kaley, Nayeli, Cristian, Gabriel; Steve (Lynn) Katie, Michael, Megan;
Amy (James) Fornshell, Lauren, Shannon, Natalie, Julia, Isabella;
RaeAnn(Jim) Vigen; Laurie(David) Mihalik, Ehrich Rodgers;
Jackie Yeigh, Kylie, Austin, Kate, Aaron;
Jody (Mark) Roble, Andrew (Stacy),Brayden; Leah, Amber;
Cathy (Rick) Coulter;Chris (Danette), Gracie, Jack, Max; Jill (Mark) Korynta, Bailey;
Linda (Denny) DeMers; Marc (Veronica), Javi, Cambrie; Cecelia, Amelie; Kari (Dave) Zavoral,
Isaac, Lilah, Asher, Micah, Stella, Judah, Sylvia;
Becky (Tim) Gaddie;Ryan (Kris), Alexandra (Dustin); Ian (Dinah), Ellis, Silas, Lael; Amber (Chris), Bailey, Elise;
Peggy (Jeff) Arne; Sara (Nate) O’Tool, Regan, Ryan, Liam; Jessica (Darin), Baby due 12/2018;
Pam (Gabe) Gabriel; Joe (Tanya), Will, Bridget, Lily; Nick (Sara) Jacob, Elise;
Kim (Greg) Kaiser; Jamie (Nina), Rylan, Brennan, Grayson, Kaden,
Kora; Jason (Jeena), Koby, Norah,Lola; Joshua (Alison), Theo, Elyza;
Teri (Steve) Johnson; Blake, Alec;
Cindy (Chuck) Proulx; Anna, Emily, Claire, Samantha
Ray (Joyce) Stocker; Bob (Marj) Stocker: Betty (Ralph) Engelstad
Preceeded in death by:
Parents: Margaret Cecilia and Joseph Emil Travnicek
Brothers: Don & William “Chick” Travnicek
Son-in-Law: Greg Kaiser
Grandchild: Joseph Smith
Great grandchildren: Isabella & Julia Fornshell, Ashlyn Shogren Smith
Mass of Christian Burial: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, November 21, 2018 in Sacred Heart Catholic Church, East Grand Forks, MN.
Visitation: 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday with a 4:30 p.m. rosary service and 6:30 p.m. vigil service in Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Visitation will continue for one hour prior to the liturgy in the church on Wednesday.
Interment: Resurrection Cemetery, East Grand Forks, MN.
The online memorial registry may be signed at www.normanfuneral.com
(The Historic Norman Funeral Home, Grand Forks, ND)