Obituary of Dorothy "Meg" "Mimi" Heinlen
Dorothy Margaret Mary Rowland was born on June 25, 1938, in London, Ontario, Canada, the daughter of Dr. James J. Rowland of Highlands, New Jersey and Dorothy M. Alton of Kalamazoo, Michigan. She graduated from St. Agnes School in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, and Red Bank (NJ) Catholic High School, where she was active in Glee Club and Drama.
Dorothy received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Georgian Court College, Lakewood, New Jersey, a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and a Ph.D. in Gifted and Talented Administration from the University of Toledo. Along the way, she also obtained a Specialist Degree. While her daughters do not remember what it was in, they do remember how hard she worked to take care of them while she was in school and working full-time with Douglas’s help.
In 1968, “On Friday the Thirteenth” she married Douglas B. Heinlen of Toledo, Ohio, her beloved curmudgeon, and partner in all things historical or educational. For the next 49 years, they lived at 414 Main Street in Dundee refurbishing their Greek Revival farmhouse which they opened to many village House Tours. While raising their two daughters, Dorothy and Douglas also hosted Foreign Exchange students and cared for foster children. Dorothy taught Spanish and was a Guidance Counselor at both Dundee High School and Tecumseh Middle School. She retired as Assistant Principal at Cantrick Middle School in Monroe. She was an active parishioner at St. Irene’s Roman Catholic Church where she served as a Lector. Dorothy performed in many plays at the Crosswell Opera House in Adrian. Every year, she entered her knitting and flower arrangements in the Monroe County Fair, once being named “best in Domestic Arts” and advancing to the State Fair in Detroit.
Dorothy took an abiding interest in both Dundee and Monroe County history. As a volunteer and a paid staffer at the Monroe County Historical Museum, she discovered that her own home “Heinlen Hall” had been part of the original Potawatomi Reservation and had a historical marker placed in her front yard documenting that fact. In addition to many historical articles for the Dundee Independent, she wrote the text for the Dundee Michigan volume of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America.”
Always a traveler and a genealogist, Dorothy and her sister took two trips to Ireland searching for their great-grandparents grave. In 2020 Amazon published Mom Quixote, their account of that adventure. Dorothy also loved travelling overseas with various relatives and friends. (Douglas refused to set foot anywhere on an airplane, which made him the ideal caretaker of all the rescue cats.)
Dorothy’s first and foremost community love was Dundee’s Old Mill Museum. She was instrumental in planning and creating the Museum as well as starting up its Community Garden. She and Douglas gave countless presentations on Potawatomi life and crafts, often in costume. She was especially proud of obtaining yearly “travelling exhibits” from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D. C.
After retirement, Dorothy developed a lung condition known as NTM. She and similar sufferers travelled once a year to the U. S. Congress to lobby their state representatives for treatment and education funding. Due to her declining health, Dorothy moved to Georgia to be closer to family, enabling her to continue to enjoy the warmth and sunshine that she loved so much.
Dorothy is survived by a sister: Marilyn R. Janus of Dagsboro, Delaware; daughters: Elizabeth A. Heinlen (Michael Morrone) of Ellicott City, Maryland and Laura C. Cauthen, MD (Michael Gordon) of Kennesaw, Georgia; grandsons: Ezra Melchor-Heinlen, Max Morrone, and Ty and Ben Cauthen; and granddaughters: Aubrey and Katie Morrone.
Friends may gather on Friday; January 27, 2023, from 2:00pm until 4:00pm at Merkle Funeral Service, Dundee; 297 Tecumseh Street, Dundee, Michigan 48131 (734) 529-3156. A funeral liturgy will be celebrated by Father Gerard Cupple at St. Irene’s Church in Dundee, where Mrs. Heinlen was a long-time lector, on Saturday; January 28, 2023, at 11:00am, she will lie in state at 10:00am. Interment will be at Marble Park Cemetery in Milan followed by a social gathering at the Dundee Senior Center.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Old Mill or to NTM society. Online guests may leave words of inspiration and comfort or share a photo by visiting www.merklefs.comTo send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dorothy Heinlen, please visit Tribute Store