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Welcome to the memorial page for

Dorothy Alice Evens Lessner

March 29, 1923 ~ May 24, 2017 (age 94)

Dorothy Alice Evens Lessner died May 24, 2017 at the age of 94 with family at her bedside.  She was born March 29, 1923 on the family farm in rural Copemish, Michigan and grew up instilled with the values of hard work, compassion, and the importance of education.  As a teenager she filled the void in her small community, leading the class as teacher in the one-room schoolhouse where she was still a student.  She graduated from high school in 1940 and decided to become the first in her family to pursue college.  Alone and determined at the age of 17, with just one suitcase holding all her belongings, she boarded a bus bound for the city to attend college.  She ultimately earned a Masters Degree in Social Work, becoming a Social Worker for the Board of Education in Livonia, Michigan.  Throughout her life Dorothy saw past the superficial differences in people, and loved working with, learning about, and helping people and children of all backgrounds, levels of privilege, and abilities. 


Dorothy’s family was also very important to her, and she enjoyed nothing more than laughing alongside those she loved.  Her son Neil Lessner grew up in Michigan, surrounded by family and spending time at the farm, on the river, as well as in the city.  After retiring in 1984, Dorothy loved traveling and visiting family in Michigan, Montana, Alaska, and Arizona.  She and Lyle Oden settled in Arizona in retirement, enjoying the music and arts community. 


Alaska held a special place in Dorothy’s heart after her son Neil and daughter-in-law Sally started a family here, and she would spend long summers visiting and spending time with her two granddaughters, Jenny and Lauren.  Dorothy always had an incredible sense of humor and a twinkle in her eye, and made deep connections with those around her wherever she went.


Her family would like to thank Ken Dickey, Lisa Larranaga, Fairbanks Resource Agency Senior Services, and Denali Center Willow Run staff for your loving support and care over the past several years.


Arrangements were entrusted to Blanchard Family Funeral Home, 611 Noble St. 482-3232. To leave condolences, please visit 



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