Dorothy Elizabeth Koss

Dorothy Elizabeth Koss
birth: 14 April 1918 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois to Mara “Mary Violet” and Ivan “John” Kos[s]
death: 4 October 2001 in Dunedin, Pinellas, Florida
burial: Oak Hill Cemetery, Glen Park, Lake, Indiana

marriage: 25 June 1955 in St. Marks Church, Gary, Lake, Indiana
Orlo Guy Leininger
birth: 4 June 1917 in Rockford, Mercer, Ohio to Edwin Anton and Lola May Landfair Leininger
death: 10 December 1996 in Portage, Porter, Indiana
burial: Graceland Cemetery, Valparaiso, Indiana

Children of Dorothy Elizabeth Koss and Orlo Guy Leininger:

  • Living

Ancestor here lived in:

Lake County, Indiana

Other Information:

Dorothy Elizabeth Koss was the eldest child of four born to her immigrant parents, Mara “Mary Violet” and Ivan “John” Kos[s] on 14 April 1918 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois. Dorothy was born at her parent’s Pullman housing residence as Mary feared a mixup if she gave birth at a hospital. Dorothy was named after Mary’s younger sister who died before the family emigrated from Austria-Hungary. Dorothy was christened at St. Salomea’s Roman Catholic Church in Chicago on 28 April 1918. By the fall of 1918 the family had relocated to Gary, Lake, Indiana where Dorothy’s father and paternal grandfather had found work with I.I.B. Teaming Company. Dorothy lived with her parents, maternal grandparents, uncle, and aunt at 1521 Garfield Street. After her grandfather’s death during the influenza epidemic, the family moved to 2636 Harrison Street. Dorothy recalled playing on the hill and in the backyard grape arbor as a child. She, along with her siblings, became seriously ill with scarlet fever; the health department quarantined the family. With the help of minority neighbors the children recovered. Dorothy’s father had a leg amputated due to a workplace accident. With money received from his company, US Steel, the family purchased their first home in 1923 at 336 West Ridge Road. The area was farmland at the time. That year, Dorothy had her tonsils removed in a physician’s office. Dorothy recalled that the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross on the sand dune across the street from their home; her family sought shelter for the night in their fruit cellar. Dorothy attended Glen Park Elementary School and Franklin School for her middle school years. She received her first communion at St. Marks Roman Catholic Church on 8 May 1927. While at Franklin, she fell in love with baking and was permitted to assist in the cafeteria. She began high school at Lew Wallace but quit school at the beginning of her junior year. The Great Depression was having an impact on her family. Her father’s work in the mill was cut to one day a week. Her mother had taken in boarders but they, too, had their pay cut. The family garden, chickens and rabbits were not enough to sustain the family. Dorothy felt, as the oldest, that she should get a job. She found work cleaning houses and as a clerk at Ridge Department Store, 3865 Broadway in Gary. By 1938 she transferred to J. J. Newbury Department Store where she also worked as a sales clerk. In 1941 she was hired by US Steel as a Time Clerk/Recorder. She was promoted to Production Clerk and later, to Incentive Clerk. After World War 2, Dorothy decided to relocate to Los Angeles, California. She stayed with friends of her mother’s and found work as a telephone operator in November 1947. Missing home and having difficulty understanding how to pronounce Spanish names, Dorothy returned to Gary and regained her employment with US Steel in the Rail Mill as an Incentive Clerk. It was there she met her husband, Orlo Guy Leininger. They married 25 June 1955 at St. Marks Roman Catholic Church in Gary. The couple rented an apartment in downtown Gary and after their only child was born, rented an apartment in Hobart, Lake, Indiana on Lake Saint George. By fall 1956 they had purchased a small cottage at 816 South Main Street in Hobart. The block of homes is no longer there, having been destroyed in the early 2000s to build a new subdivision. The couple separated in May 1962; Dorothy and her child returned to Gary to reside with her parents. She found work cleaning houses. After her divorce on 27 March 1963 in Valparaiso, Porter, Indiana, she found work at Glen Park Bakery as a Packer. The following year she worked as a Marker at Sears Roebuck & Company in downtown Gary. In August 1965 she found work close to home as a Receiving Clerk with Montgomery Wards & Company in the Village Shopping Center. She was later promoted to Customer Service Clerk. After Dorothy’s father died in October 1970, she took charge of the yardwork at the family’s home. When Montgomery Wards was bought out by Mobil Oil, she received a transfer to St. Petersburg, Pinellas, Florida. Dorothy had always wanted to retire to Florida and the transfer provided her that opportunity in August 1972. She first resided with her child in an efficiency apartment on 9th Avenue North between 8th and 9th Streets. When a new complex was built down the street at 720 8th Street North she became the second tenant. In September 1974 she moved to Brookside Square Apartments. Wards promoted her to Vendor’s Charge Back Clerk and she retired from that company on 30 August 1980. After she retired she became a nanny. In April 1995, she relocated to Heritage Oaks Apartments in Palm Harbor, Florida to be closer to her adult child. Dorothy began experiencing health problems resulting in falls. She moved to a series of congregate living facilities, Fairway Chalet in Tarpon Springs, Long Shadow Inn in Palm Harbor, Manor Care in Palm Harbor, and Mease Plaza in Dunedin. After breaking a hip she was confined to a wheel chair. She also suffered from Alzheimers Disease. Dorothy died at Morton Plant Mease Hospital in Dunedin, Pinellas, Florida on 4 October 2001. Her cremeated remains were interred in her family’s plot in Oak Hill Cemetery, Glen Park, Indiana.

Submitted by:
Lori Samuelson


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