Dolores “Dee” Mae Enter, age 78, of Watertown, went to heaven on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at her home in Watertown, MN.
Dee was born March 31, 1943 in Monroe, MI, as the third of five children, to Maver (Nash) and Harold Muth. She was baptized on March 11, 1945 at Zion Lutheran Church in Monroe, MI and confirmed in the Christian faith on May 20, 1956 at Faith Lutheran Church, also in Monroe. She graduated from Michigan Lutheran Seminary, a high school in Saginaw, MI and Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN with a BS degree in Elementary Education. She taught for one year at St. Stephen Lutheran School in Adrian, MI and then for one year in the Cleveland Public Schools in Cleveland, OH. For 15 years, Dee was a stay-at-home mom and homemaker, and years later, she continued her teaching career and taught kindergarten for 13 years at Mt. Olive Lutheran School in Delano, MN. After teaching, she was an independent consultant with Dorling Kindersley (DK) books.
While in college, Dee had her eye on Larry Enter, and they soon became lifelong sweethearts. They married on June 26, 1965 at Faith Lutheran Church in Monroe, MI and recently celebrated 56 years of marriage. They spent their first seven years together in Cleveland, OH and then moved to Watertown, MN in 1972. Since then, they have been long-time members of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Delano, MN. If you spent any time with Dee and Larry as a couple, you certainly observed role modeling of a Christ-centered marriage. Their love was inspiring. Christ was their top priority, and it flowed into all areas of their life together. Even to death, Dee’s focus and comfort was her faith in Jesus as her Savior. Dee and Larry enjoyed spending time together whether it was going to church together and volunteering, gardening and harvesting, canning and freezing their home-grown fruits and vegetables, playing cards with friends, or camping and traveling. For their honeymoon, they road-tripped out west for 5 weeks, including camping many nights under the stars. They later invested in a tent. In their retirement years, they again road-tripped around the country, this time in their RV. Dee was beautiful, kind, thoughtful and respectful.
It was in high school when her friends began to call her “Dee,” and it stuck from then on. Dee’s friendships were genuine and faithful. As one dear friend wrote many years ago, “Dee was the humble love of Jesus shining through - she displayed dedication, interest, concern, unselfishness, enthusiasm, loyalty and much more.” Dee had a high level of interest in visiting with family and friends, including both her and Larry’s siblings and families, with whom they celebrated many birthdays, holidays and overall good times. She and her sister Janet especially cared deeply for each other, and they treasured their sister moments, often with each other’s families. Dee was known for saying “people before things,” and her actions reflected that. When she talked with you, she gave you her undivided attention. Dee was caring, loving, selfless and a true friend.
Dee and Larry were blessed with five children - Mark, Kristyn, Michelle, Jenny and Amy. Dee was an exceptional mother. She empowered her children. She allowed you to explore, led you to become independent and provided a supportive environment to do so. Whether it was allowing you to play independently outside, experiment with a recipe, trap muskrats and hang the skins inside the living room, or design your own prom dress, she saw the opportunity for personal development and didn’t hinder it. Dee and Larry both shared a high value for leadership and education and encouraged their children to “take it to the next level,” supporting them in their opportunities. It was also common that Dee would stay up late to support her children in their 4-H records, demonstrations, speeches, sewing projects and more. She was willing to bend over backwards to help her children succeed, and she didn’t complain. Dee was also known for saying, “Do your very best.” She was a perfectionist, with high expectations, always looking to see how one could improve, and with that, she was uniquely skilled at providing constructive feedback in a positive way… so much so, that her children welcomed her critique, and felt empowered in a family culture of striving to take it to the next level. Dee was an excellent homemaker and loved to sew, cook and bake, but she was also skilled in leading the family to become involved in those homemaking activities… cleaning, too. Dee also instilled in all of her children a love of music and singing. She taught them piano, encouraged family sing-a-longs and sang bedtime prayers. Spending time with loved ones was a high priority, which included her 17 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She loved to read with them, was invested in their personal development and always saw the positive uniqueness in each individual grandchild. Most importantly, Dee incorporated Jesus and God’s Word into all areas of her parenting, including daily living, discipline, making choices and doing all things to the glory of God. As her children grew into adults and explored careers, got married and had children of their own, she continued to be a gentle and positive source of wisdom, guidance and encouragement. As she gained her daughter-in-law and sons-in-law, she extended an unconditional love, which was real and true. She taught her family to be God-fearing women and men, mothers and fathers. She was an excellent Christian role model. Dee was supportive, dedicated and empowering.
Dee was a teacher. She had a passion for teaching and a passion to help kids to be able to learn. She especially loved small children, watching them grow and discover! In her many years teaching kindergarten at Mt. Olive Lutheran School in Delano, MN, “Mrs. Enter” was beloved by her students and their parents. She also had a kind heart for kids and related to kids with that kind heart. Dee also brought her “do your very best” culture into the classroom and empowered her students. Some of the most-loved memories of her teaching years were the kindergarten plays that she often created herself. Most of all, she loved to teach her students about Jesus. It was precious to see her students sing their hearts out in church, singing some of her favorite songs, including “I Am Jesus Little Lamb,” “Let Me Learn of Jesus.” Mrs. Enter was encouraging, treasured and humble.
In her youth, Dee was a 4-H member. As a young mother, she volunteered as a La Leche League leader and a Lutheran Girl Pioneers adult leader. Dee and Larry were both 4-H adult volunteers and church choir members. She was a school volunteer and involved in the church Women’s Club for many years. She was a certified member of the University of Minnesota Master Gardening Program in Carver/Scott County as well as a long-time member of the Home Extension group in Watertown.
Dee was vibrant. Her smile was beautiful. She was creative and silly, especially with her sister Janet, her mother and her girls. She always enjoyed a good laugh, even when she was laughing at herself. She never wanted to miss out on late-night stories and giggles with her daughters in the living room. She was the first to shed a tear, and then laugh through her tears. She loved watermelon, as well as popcorn with plenty of butter and salt! She liked to get a tan and always wore lipstick. She was beautiful, inside and out. Dee was an avid reader across many subject areas and enjoyed sharing what she learned. She listened and observed, analyzed, thought things through, and then came up with a resolution. She always pointed her family and others to Jesus and His Word. God was honored by Dee’s life, faith and service.
For the past two decades, Dee endured Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease. She was cared for tenderly by her husband Larry, who modeled steadfast Christian love. She also received excellent care from Waconia Ridgeview Home Health over the last five years. Her time on earth ended when she entered eternal paradise into the arms of her Savior. She died peacefully, surrounded by her family, singing “Abide With Me.” What a sweet embrace in Jesus’ arms after taking her last breath!
Dee was preceded in death by her parents Harold and Maver (Nash) Muth; father and mother-in-law Lester and Ardella (Dallmann) Enter; brothers-in-law James Tjernagel, Timothy Zander; nephews Kevin Gillingham, Brian Muth and Jason Sprinkle.
Dee is survived by her loving family: husband Larry Enter of Watertown, MN; five children Mark (Amy) Enter of Stillwater, MN, Kristyn (Rick) Haberkorn of Cannon Falls, MN, Michelle (Mark) Kuske of Belle Plaine, MN, Jennifer (Mike) Arps of Watertown, MN, and Amy (Matt) Sauer of Chanhassen, MN; grandchildren Alex (Kali) Enter, Nathan Enter, Grace Enter, Sophia Enter, Joshua Haberkorn, Samuel Haberkorn, Matthew Haberkorn, Daniel (Jessica) Kuske, Kaitlyn (Micah) Bader, Jonah Kuske, Elise Arps, Evan Arps, Nora Arps, Aiden Gergen, Noah Gergen, Tate Sauer, Emily Sauer; great-grandchildren Paisly Stevens, Belle Kuske, Dolores Kuske, Emzara Kuske, Liesel Kuske; brothers William (Sue) Muth of Scottsdale, AZ, Robert Muth (special friend Tanya Bosteder) of Ford, WA, Tom (Sharon) Muth of Walden, VT; sister Janet Gillingham of Long Beach, MS; brothers-in-law Douglas (Diane) Enter of Appleton, WI, David (Christine) Enter of Oshkosh, WI, Allen (Joy) Enter of Nicollet, MN, Joel (Anika) Enter of Nicollet, MN; sisters-in-law Joan Tjernagel of Cottage Grove, MN, Nancy Zander of Kaukauna, WI, Bonnie (Kevin) Loersch of Watertown, WI; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
A Christian Funeral Service with praise and worship will be held Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 11 a.m. at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Delano, MN (435 Bridge Ave. E.), with Rev. Paul Marggraf as officiant, and will be live-streamed at “Mt Olive Delano Live” on YouTube. Visitation will be held Friday, July 23, 2021 from 4-8 p.m. and Saturday, July 24, 9-10:30 a.m. at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Delano, MN. Interment will be at 4 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church Cemetery in rural Nicollet, MN.
Casket Bearers are Evan Arps, Nathan Enter, Aiden Gergen, Joshua Haberkorn, Matthew Haberkorn, Samuel Haberkorn, Daniel Kuske and Jonah Kuske. Scripture Reader is Alex Enter.
Memorials to Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and School in Delano, MN are preferred in lieu of flowers.
Arrangements are with the Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia, MN, 952-442-2121, www.johnsonfh.com.