Irene (Dolly) Dittmar peacefully passed away April 9 in the home of her son. She was born on March 22, 1930 in Peru to George and Mary (Kasprak) Zurinski. The youngest of 12 children, her siblings affectionately called her Dolly as did family and close friends for the remainder of her life.
Dolly was a graduate of St. Valentine's Catholic School and took piano and organ lessons from the good nuns of St. Mary's in Peru. Blessed with a God given talent for music, Dolly shared her love of music with her family and her community all her life.
In the late 1940's, she enjoyed playing piano and accordion on weekends at the family's Belmont Tavern in Peru. Her music entertained neighbors and patrons many of whom recalled bringing their dates to the Belmont to listen and dance to Dolly's music.
After attending LaSalle Peru Township High School, Dolly worked at Westclox in Peru. She married Richard (Dick) Dittmar in 1950. Together they had five children, Mary (Monty) Whipple, Richard Jr. (Mida), Linda (David) Hejl, Christine (Gary) Chalkey, and Patrick with whom she made her home.
Dolly was a homemaker all her life and especially enjoyed baking. She was known for her one of a kind apple strudels and cakes. She enjoyed part time work teaching music lessons at the Hammond Organ Music Studio in LaSalle, clerking at the Merle Norman Store and receptionist at LaSalle Peru Hearing Aid Center. Dolly also provided roller skaters with organ music to skate by at local roller rinks.
As a volunteer, Dolly entertained local nursing home residents with piano and organ concerts. She was also an original member of St. Valentine's Catholic Church Choir during the pastorship of Father Ed Bawiec.
Besides her passion for music, Dolly loved animals particularly her dogs. She fed her backyard birds daily and was known to take in the stray cats her children often brought home.
Dolly was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Dick, and her 11 siblings. She is survived by her five children, 10 grandchildren; Christina, Ginny, Alex, Michael, Maddie, Daniel, Becky, Cody, Jacob and Blake; and one great grandson Colin. Also surviving is one sister in law, Michaeleen (Jim) Stimac of Peru and numerous nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:00 AM Wednesday at St Valentine Church. Burial will be in St Valentine Cemetery.
Visitation will be Tuesday from 5-8 PM in the Ptak Funeral Home with a 7:00 PM Rosary and Wednesday morning in the church from 10:00-11:00 AM.
Online Condolences and memories may be shared at PtakFH.com,