Dolores Irene Watkins Sexson, 100 of Grant, passed away Friday, September 11, 2020, at Golden Ours Convalescent Home in Grant.
Dolores, affectionately known as “Dody,” was born August 22, 1920, at Scott City, Kansas, to Emery & Janie (Broughton) Watkins. The family had deep roots in Perkins County, and in 1922, they moved to a farm southeast of Venango.
Dolores’ family moved into Grant in 1934, where she attended Perkins County High School. During this time, Dolores played clarinet in the school band, violin in the school orchestra, sang in the school choir, and the Methodist Church Choir. She also worked part-time at the JC Penney store on Main Street. After graduation in 1938, Dolores worked full-time at the store. During this time, she helped to care for her maternal grandparents, who were living at their home. Grandmother, Augusta (Peters) Broughton, passed away on September 24, 1938, and grandfather Elroy Amos Broughton, on August 15, 1940.
While working at JC Penney, Dolores and Bob Sexson became sweethearts, then engaged and were married on January 1, 1941, at Alliance, Neb. They made their home four miles west and two miles south of Grant, which has become known as “the home place.” Dolores continued to work at the store full time. Their union was blessed with four children, Rusty, Shelley, Dan, and Doug. An unfortunate accident claimed the life of their beloved Shelley on February 6, 1954.
In 1972, the Sexson Department Store was founded on Main Street in Grant, when the owner of the Moser Department Store retired. Dolores and Bob purchased the store, and she managed it until retiring in August of 1991. Life was good — she enjoyed her “Going to Market Days.” She carried top lines of clothing for men, women, and children.
Dolores was active in and supportive of local and national organizations. She was a member of the Grant Chamber of Commerce for the entire time that she was in business, serving as President for two of those years.
Dolores has been a member of the Methodist Church since 1934. It was at church that her musical career took root. She sang in the church choir and started playing organ in 1938 until retiring in 2010. She accompanied numerous quartets and singing groups from the Grant area over the years. During her tenure as organist, she played for close to 350 funerals and numerous weddings.
Dolores was a 75 year member of the Order of the Eastern Star. In 2012, she was recognized as the oldest living member of the Nebraska Chapter. She was also a member of the Red Hatters and a dinner club that she and her husband had started. Dolores helped organize and attended all of the Watkins family reunions since they began in 1945 at the Venango Legion Hall.
Dolores touched so many lives in her family and community. She is missed by all, yet leaves a part of her with anyone who had the pleasure and honor of knowing her.
Dolores was preceded in death by her husband, Robert; son, Rusty; daughter, Shelley; four brothers, Orville and his wife Vivian, Howard and his wife Marguerite, Dean and his wife Maxine, and Kenneth and his wife Norma, two sisters,Thema Merten and her husband, Stan, Lenore Jacobson and her husband, Floyd.
Survivors include her sons, Dan and his wife Jannette of St. Peters, Mo., Doug and wife Shari of Grant; grandchildren, Sam, Mark, Josh (Lauren), Jacob (Maggie),Brad (Stefanie) Means, Jeff (Andrea) Means, Rachel (Shane Parker) and Chase (Bailey Cox); great-grandchildren, Abigail, Lucas and Corbin Means; and daughter-in-law Marilyn Sexson.