Helen, 88 years young, though she had childhood polio and was never expected to walk, defeated that beast and lived a normal life with merely an often-unnoticed limp. Born in her grandmother’s home, she was seldom known by the name of Helen. Early in life she knew she had a half sister and anxiously awaited the day they would meet but she never knew a name. One day in grade school a teacher was calling attendance seeking Helen McPeek. Dolly was excited to be able to finally discover who her sister was. Red flags were put out as Helen was apparently NOT in the classroom. She was in deep trouble that day at school and again in much more trouble at home for not responding when her name was called. That was the day she discovered she had never known her own true given name. Her nick name came from her grandmother who delivered a tiny baby in her home and beamed as she picked the baby up and said, “My little dolly.” The name stuck.
The child of James and Helen (Bradshaw) McPeek, Dolly was raised as the only living child of six births. The five others died before the age of 8 hours. Her father, a very strict man, was a professional musician for the upper-class society. There was not an accordion or organ he wouldn’t walk to to swoon the listeners. She and her mother were required to sit in silence and let faces show they had the deepest respect for the man who entitled them to live with him. Dolly’s dad never let her participate in school gym classes as a boy might peek through school windows to see her legs when she wore a pair of shorts. She knew the general rule was to sit like a lady and never speak until spoken to. Dolly’s childhood was lonely. Though she was from a large prominent family of wonderful people, even they knew not to cross the line to be friendly to Dolly and her mom or there would be repercussions for the two to pay once they got home. Later in life she discovered her parent’s families were the best so she branched out to become a treasured member of the Postell family. She recently celebrated the newfound friendship (ancestry.com) of her cousin, Mike Shirk, from the Bradshaw side. She hadn’t seen him since she was age 10.
Dolly’s mom was a soft spoken lady who taught her to follow her dad’s rules which meant to include wearing a hat along with proper matching gloves to hide hands so a male could not touch her skin when in public. Her mom owned a beauty shop when they lived in Port Clinton and later had a basement ceramic shop in their Bucyrus, Ohio home.
At the age of 16, along came Jimmie Waddle, who was later known better as Jimmie Tree, owner of Jimmie’s Trees Service in Marion, Ohio. Oh, how he won her heart. Jimmie and his friend, Holly Adams, met each night after work in the little sandwich shoppe around the corner from Dolly’s mom’s beauty shop. Dolly and her parents lived upstairs in a loft apartment just a building over from the business. Each day after school Dolly sat in the front bay window to look for Jim. He, too, wanted to get a glimpse of Dolly so he steps away from Holly to take a walk around the block always staying on the opposite side of the street. At a certain crack in the sidewalk he would begin to whistle a tune so she would know to look out the window as that was the time she scheduled to water the house plants and let him see her smile. He stared up at her on good days, but he would merely nod his head forward and tip his head to signal he saw her dad in the yard or behind her. It was their secret way to keep her out of trouble.
Dolly and Jim lived a good portion of their lives on North State Street, Marion, Ohio. By the age of 25 they were six kids richer and not a penny to their names. Marriage came and went after 20 years. Later she was blessed with a new husband, Cloyd (Bill) French and 5 more children who were born of another mother, Beverly (Brewer/French/Waddle) Husdon. She has loved and raised the six kids of her body and so many more of her heart, her daughters, Linda (Bob) Carpenter, Mary (Tim) McKnight, sons, Jay Waddle (CA), Mark Waddle (Deceased), Ralph Waddle (Deceased), Wes (Mary) Waddle (AZ), step-daughters, Sue (Joe) White, Jeanne French, Marti (Richard) Sutton, Helen (Dolly McPeak) Waddle French, step-sons, Steve French, Joe (Vicky) French, grandchildren, Kristi (Gary) Butler, Thomas/TJ (Sherrie) Gruber, Jacob Stangellini, Jason (Jennifer) Waddle, Amanda Waddle, Scott (Lydia) McKnight, Adrianne (Jeremy Winfield) McKnight, James (Jamie) Waddle.
Dolly was a born-again Christian who loved the Lord and has been looking forward to the upcoming family reunion along with having all her family at peace.
She had worked as a waitress in Port Clinton, Ohio. She also worked in Marion, Ohio at Tecumseh factory, Marion General Hospital, Home Health and Eastlawn Manor. She was a travel nurse all over the USA when there was a nurse’s strike. As a widow she has traveled to Hawaii, Japan, and Ireland.
As Dolly was assisting to write her own obit, she said, “If they decide to visit family at the Marion, Ohio Boyd-Born Funeral Home, I want them to wear the mask of their choice that they think would make me laugh. If they have a hat … wear it! If they wish to donate, they can give to the charity of their choice. If they prefer my suggestion, please tell them to reach out to the Capital City Hospice team who highly deserves to be acknowledged as they are the team who made my own last days so comfortable. I am so very thankful for them and my own two girls." Visitation will be Tuesday, August 25, 2020 from 12:00-2:00 pm at the Boyd-Born Funeral Home. The funeral service will immediately follow at 2:00 pm with Dr. Donald Woodard and Pastor David Rush officiating. Boyd-Born Funeral Home is honored to be serving Helen's family. On-line condolences can be made at www.BoydBornFuneralHome.com.
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