Dorothy “Dot” (Nelson) Mielke
November 4, 1940 – November 26, 2022
Now that Dot is off “chasing windmills,” she will forever be immortalized by the stories she told. She particularly loved telling stories to anyone that would listen about her life as a little girl, growing up in Hastings, NE, “right along Burlington Street.” She fondly recalls fishing with her daddy, Thomas August Nelson*, and learning to cook German food and sew clothes from her mother, Dorothy Nelson*. She could talk for hours about playing with her three sisters: dolls with Phyllis Baker*, and childhood scuffles with Linda Masters. In 1959 Dot moved to Omaha to help her sister, Marion Karasek*. It was in Omaha that Dot met her former husband, Jerry Mielke* and started her family. Storytelling was one of Dot’s many gifts and talents, and one she passed to her eldest daughter, Charlotte Fanshaw (Brad Fanshaw). Dot could spend hours on the phone exchanging stories with Charlotte.
Everyone knew Dot as a teacher. Whether that was teaching secondary special education at Northwest High, where she taught for 19 years, or giving lessons in the kitchen, on the sewing machine, or just giving some unsolicited life wisdom, Dot was a teacher to everyone who knew her. In the later part of her life, her lessons focused mostly on patience; she would roll around her kitchen, bossing around whatever poor sod was helping her, and they would be forced to practice patience with her. Perhaps the most patient is her son, Brian Mielke (Tammy Mielke), who served as her on-call tech-support guy whenever her beloved computer would malfunction. She always complimented his handiness and willingness to help.
Dot loved all things sports; she loved the “hoopla” of it all. She especially enjoyed lazy Sundays, drinking wine and rooting for Patrick Mahomes with her daughter, Gayle Mielke (Scott Hodson). We can all smile, knowing Dot witnessed her favorite teams and people win in the last few weeks of her life: Brittany Force winning Top Fuel, team USA holding their own against England in the World Cup, the Astros beating “The Sillies” in the World Series, and, of course, her Huskers winning against the Hawkeyes on Black Friday.
Dot was known in the Nebraska dance community as an expert seamstress. People always knew when they saw a “Dot costume.” More recently, she served her community by sewing masks and giving them away in 2020. But mostly, Dot served as a proud “Gr” Dot to her three beloved grandchildren: Mikaela, Katelin, and Gabby. And an even prouder “GG” Dot to her two great-grandchildren, Oliver and Juniper Bee. Dot loved to use this role to set the best example of always finding fun, always staying young at heart, and always finding the magic in the mundane. She is with us in our gardens, with the butterflies, and every night with the moon.
You could usually find Dot wining and dining with friends and family, making exquisite five-course meals, and sharing stories about her days as a “market person” with her partner Bobby*, who she is now with, petting her Scruffy Dog* and happily watching the rest of us wine and dine and remember her and her silly antics and Dot-isms. Dot didn’t want a stuffy funeral but rather a grand party with Château d’Yquem toasts and hand-rolled cigarillos. This party will take place at a later date, once we can celebrate with happy tears and not sad ones. So please, no flowers, but instead, plant some in her memory. But if you must be a spender, like Dot was, then please donate in her memory to one of the many rescues and humane societies she followed (details listed below).
Dot called November the “Premier Month” because it was her birth month. And she ensured it stayed her month with her surprise ending, which is exactly how she would’ve wanted it. So as we watch the leaves change every year in November, we will forever remember Dot: peaking golden and colorful at the beginning, with bittersweet nostalgia at the end. So please, listen to some Jack White and pour one out for Dot, for a life well-lived, to a big fish in a small pond.
To share a memory or send a condolence to her family, please visit her memorial on Kudoboard (https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/je7hOgFb/dot). She had a big online presence, and it’s only right to honor her in a digital Pinterest-style board that can hold all of our memories of her forever.
Please donate in memory of Dorothy Mielke to the following:
Nebraska Humane Society
Gladys the Opossum (on Facebook/Instagram or Venmo @lisaivey724)
Midlands Humane Society (https://midlandshumanesociety.org/ways-to-give/donate-now.html) Hearts United for Animals (https://hua.org/donate/)