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Dorothy Cecelia Bartz, 77 of Altoona, passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 30th after a long battle with cancer. Dorothy was a wonderful mother, grandmother, friend and most recently, great-grandmother to many. She was known for her good sense of humor and loyalty to those she loved, but her unapologetic candor will be missed the most. She had a big personality that was always focused on family and those around her, starting with her near 37 years of marriage to her husband, Fred.

Gram was always available and ready to lend an ear to those looking for a good talk, to be set straight, or needing a good laugh. Late night talks were a regular occurrence as well as the spontaneous trip to the casino or a good thrift sale. She loved to bake and always had fresh scones, fudge, or pizza rolls ready to enjoy.

Dorothy was born in 1943 to Cletus and Elizabeth Schaefer in Dunlap, IA. There, she was born and raised living on a farm with her 3 brothers and 5 sisters. She attended a one room schoolhouse during her formative years. After graduating in 1961, she lived in Omaha, NE and Rock Falls, WI. She had two children, Susan and Eric, from her first marriage prior to settling in Carroll, IA where she started her nursing career. There she met her future husband, Fred, and they added another child, Allison, to the family.

Dorothy focused on others throughout her career which began as a devoted nurse at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Carroll, IA for 15 years. In 1997, she moved with her family to Fredericksburg and began working with the American Red Cross. She was passionate about helping those locally donate blood for the greater good for many years. She went above and beyond, having traveled to Chicago to help during 9/11. Upon moving back to the Eau Claire, WI area in 2004, she continued to care for others at Wissota Health until she retired in 2010.

Gram memorably touched the lives of so many but will live on in the hearts of those close to her forever. She is survived by her husband, Fred; children, Susan Merk, Eric (Patty) Bartz and Allison (Chris) Kleiber; grandchildren, Zach (Jen) Merk, Jessica (Justin) Kramer, Rachel (Ryan) Schaden, Allison Bartz, Matthew Bartz, Elias Kleiber; great-grandchildren, Grace, Norah, Aurora, Lucy, Hannelore, Hazel, Juniper, Mia; siblings, Jerry Schaefer, Betty Thompson, (Raymond Krajicek), Delores (Ronny) Hartwig, nieces, nephews and many other relatives and friends. She is preceded in death by her parents, Cletus and Elizabeth Schaefer and siblings Roland, Melvin, Vincent “Butch”, Shirley, Sharon, and Ruth.

Due to COVID-19, a private memorial service and burial will take place later this summer. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to The American Red Cross, or the charity of your choice.

Cremation Society of Wisconsin, Altoona is assisting the family. Online condolences may be left at