Eloise Dielman

Remembering Dorothy Eloise Dielman (Reynolds)
April 3, 1940 – September 7, 2015

Scroll down this page to view a photo tribute spanning the life of my mother, Dorothy Eloise Dielman, beginning with the facebook post I wrote the day she passed away. Mouse over the thumbnail images below to reveal captions, or click on an image to view the slideshow.

Thank you so much for all of your kind words. Please feel free to leave your comments following the photos.

My beautiful and kind mother, Dorothy Eloise Dielman, passed away at home yesterday afternoon with her beloved dog Ozzie snuggled on her lap and her husband, daughter and son holding her hands. The one person who has been by my side since the moment I was born is now gone. She had amazing positivity and will to live, and after being diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer survived for six full years of brutal chemotherapy. Her body may have failed, but thankfully she was lucid and smiling right up to the end, and was able to make calls to family members and lifelong friends to say goodbye.

For those who did not know my mother, she was a great teacher and mentor, and affected countless lives in positive ways. She taught English at colleges and high schools and was a favorite of many students. Even those who never had her as a teacher. That is because she genuinely cared for everyone, and was the kind of person to whom people gravitated to get help with their troubles, both academic and personal. Mom had ex-students who graduated in 1985 visiting as recently as Saturday.

My mom taught me compassion, and how to care for others. She has been crucial in support of the boys and me during the divorce, and I have spoken with her once or twice a day since it started two years ago. She was so relieved that it is finally over. I can’t imagine how we will all survive without her sweet, reassuring presence. You’ve always had my back when I was down or in trouble, and were my greatest cheerleader in all of my endeavors. Thanks for giving us six years to prepare for this moment. I am happy you no longer have to struggle to get a breath. I love you, mom.

The photo above is a shot of mom that I love taken in 2004, before cancer, that shows up on my phone when she calls me.

Nels Dielman, September 8, 2015.

The early years growing up on the farm.

Eloise was born in a former log school house on Green Peter Mountain east of Sweet Home, OR, delivered by her mother’s aunt. Until age 18 Eloise lived in a two-story log house further down the mountain on the north bank of the Middle Santiam River. Shortly after graduation from high school the family farm and house were covered by Foster Dam.


Grade school at Sunnyside, a two-room country school house.

Eloise attended her first eight years of schooling at the two-room Sunnyside School up Quartzville Road from her home. The precocious Eloise taught herself to read before she entered first grade. Her teachers allowed her to work a couple years ahead of her classmates. Eloise was valedictorian of her eighth grade class, having gotten straight A’s for eight years.


Teen age years through graduation in 1958.

During her teens Eloise earned money in the summer picking strawberries, working in a bean canning factory, and in the box office of the Sweet Home movie theater. As she had in grade school, Eloise played flute in the high school band, and played piano for a local dance band. Having earned straight A’s through four years of high school, Eloise was selected co-valedictorian of the graduating class of 1958.


Young woman raising a family and living in Germany for a year.

Eloise attended Eastern Oregon College of Education (now Eastern University) in La Grande, where she met her husband, Gary Dielman. At Eastern they started a family with birth of daughter Katrina in 1960. Eloise interrupted her studies to follow Gary to graduate school at the University of Iowa and then to Germany for a year at the University of Tübingen (1962-63). In 1963 son Nels was born in Iowa City, Iowa. In 1968 Gary got a job in the Modern Language Dept. at Purdue University, where Eloise earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.


Teacher “Mrs. Dielman” at Baker High School

In 1972 the Dielmans moved to Gary’s home town, Baker City, Oregon, where Eloise was immediately hired to fill in as a math teacher. The next year she joined the faculty of the English Dept. and taught at Baker High School for twenty-four years, with one year off on sabbatical to earn a PhD in American Literature at the University of Oregon. In 1989 Eloise discovered a fire was in the ceiling above her English classroom and spread the alert that led to the evacuation of the school. After retiring from BHS in 1995, Eloise taught at Eastern Oregon University, served at the same time as Chair of the Board of Directors of Blue Mountain Community College and Chair of Baker City’s 5J School District Board of Directors.


Recent years. Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother.

The Dielman clan grew bigger, starting thirty-one years ago with the birth of Katrina’s daughter, Anya. Then came Nels’ sons, Lars (14) and Miles (11). Most recent is Anya’s daughter, Naomi, age 15 months. In 2003 Eloise was chosen Legacy Woman of the Year for her many contributions to the community. Up until just two weeks before her death, she was still leading a group of women writers, as she had done for over twenty years.


Goodbye, Mom.

Thank you for loving Eloise. Please take a moment to share your recollections.

Additional links to large images: Newspaper Tribute, Facebook Comments, Facebook Reposts, Facebook Likes.


  1. She let me play “Saturday Night Special” by Lynyrd Skynyrd in English Literature class(Baker Sr. High) in 1975.We discussed as a class “Hand Gun Control” of that era !!! I am saddened to hear of her passing ..

  2. Sorry about your Mom, she was the very Best of so many things…no one shall ever come close to the amazing things she has done. The hardest was to teach a kid who hated English, and get a good grade to match. That was how amazing your Mom was~

  3. Nels, just finished reading your narrative on your beloved mother. I loved her dearly and this reminiscence does her great service. She was humble all of her life and that humility displayed itself in her love of other people. She will live in the minds and love of many people. My extension of grief is given to you and the family. In eternal love, Jane Hufford-Crocker-Strom

  4. She truly was “the best of the best” and her kindness and gentle heart will never be forgotten.

  5. I adored her and am so very sorry for your loss. She was a great support for me when my own mother had cancer and passed away and I will always remember her kindness.

  6. Mrs. Dielman, I’d never been able to use her first name, was like a second mom to me and it is heartbreaking that she is gone. Such a wonderful person and role model to me and others, I had never taken a class from her in fear of possibly failing in front of her. I will continue to be inspired by her and strive to be the best teacher I can be. My condolences to Mr. Dielman, Nels, Katrina, and the family and friends she leaves behind. Mrs. D, I’ll still strive to like zucchini even though I fear it will never happen.

  7. Nels Dielman…As Tim Kerns and I shared during our visit, your mom was not only an inspiration, but truly challenged our thinking to stretch our minds and to step outside our comfort zones. Her gentle smile assured her students each day that we were “safe” to take risks in her classroom. I am honored to have had Mrs. D as a teacher, mentor and colleague, working together during the Oregon Writing Project at EOU…..she will leave a void in the writing community but will always hold a special place in my heart!

  8. I did take a class from her, and it was in this class that I discovered I didn’t hate to write, afterall. I wouldn’t be a writer now, if it wasn’t for her, and what I learned that quarter. More than that, I know she was almost everybody’s favorite teacher, and it wasn’t because she was easy or let anyone slack. She was one of those really fine human beings who sees the best in everyone.

  9. Oh Nels, I just seen all of this. I’m so very sorry. She was a great teacher. I had her for a few of my english classes and always looked forward to them because she was such a kind and compassionate woman. Big hugs to you.

  10. So sorry Nels. Your mother was an incredible lady. Best teacher I ever had. Thoughts of you and your family.

  11. Nels I’m just reading this and so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. Your words brought me to tears and she would have been touched by them. You’re right about her impact-I remember her wit and humor and your words totally took me back to high school and I could see her as if it were yesterday. I hope your memories comfort you in this difficult time. I’m sure you must know she’s now resting peacefully. You and your family are in my prayers.

  12. So sorry, Nels. Your Mom leaves a powerful legacy in all the lives she touched, including mine.

  13. Nels, so sorry for your loss. She was one of my favorite Teachers.

  14. Nels, I’m very sorry for the passing of your mother. Mrs. Dielman was a one-of-a-kind teacher who rose above all others. She impacted so many young lives …I’m sure more than you’ll ever know. God bless her and your family.

  15. Oh wow. I cried all the way thru what you wrote about your precious mother, Eloise Dielman. I always thought of her by her first & last name..nor sure y in particular other than its a name to b proud of & i always had such high respect for her as a teacher & smart nice lady. Im saddened for your loss Nels Dielman. Thank you so kindly for letting us know & your kind words. Im sure Ellie Burns-Brookens will b saddened of the news too.

  16. We are so sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers. She was a very, very special lady.

  17. So sorry to hear about your Mom. Your family will be in our prayers during this difficult time. I graduated in 1976 and Mrs. Dielman was my absolutely favorite teacher EVER! She was so kind and and engaging during the school year. She set a high bar for the students and expected them to achieve it…and for the most part…I think they did! I also had the privilege to work with your Grandfather Ray at Bohn’s Clothing. I have many fond memories of him and he was certainly a good story teller! Please give our best to Katrina and your Dad. Katrina and my wife were Sorority Sisters at Oregon State University. Thank you for the beautiful tribute you wrote about your Mom.,,you nailed it!

  18. My condolences to you and your family. Your mom was such a sweet and kind human being. She is somebody I will always have fond memories of and who made BHS a better place!! She was a very exceptional and special person. I wish you peace and strength through this time and beyond.

  19. Your mother was an amazing human being and left her mark in this world through her teaching and kindness. I haven’t seen her in many years, but will never forget her.

  20. Hello Nels…long time no see…having married a Greek I always say “May their memory be eternal” when learning of a death. But in your Mothers case the “may” just is not necessary …her memory will most definitely be eternal and live on in all the students that passed through the halls of BHS and in the community at large where she was such a positive influence. I hope you can find some peace in knowing how many loved her. Fondly, Lisa (Pierce)

  21. Sorry for your loss. Although i had not seen her in recent years, I thought of her often and considered her a friend.

  22. One of the most incredible people I have ever known. She taught me a lot and instilled great confidence when I needed it. Great lady, Nels you had an awesome mom.

  23. What a beautiful tribute for a beautiful person, both inside and out. I am not sure I ever met a more dedicated teacher that truly embodied her “job” as her life. I am proud to have called her my favorite teacher. She always brought so much to the table, especially as she continued working after her retirement. A huge hole has been created by her passing and she will never be forgotten. Hugs to the Dielman family.

  24. She certainly made her mark on this world. So sorry for your loss Nels. She will be missed by many. I loved that lady and loved her smile. I’m sure she is is teaching everyone in heaven how to conjegate a verb! Did I even spell that right? Oh well, she’d laugh if I didnt!!! 🙂

  25. So many memories. We were playmates during our childhood,as our families lived across the road from each other..Looking at your photos, I see Eloise and I with our musical instruments.. She played flute, I played clarinet..We had some really fun times while attending our small country elementary school, and remained friends until the end..She was someone I could always call on if necessary, always willing to step up..always positive…I miss her, and am honored to have called her my friend..Rest in Peace my 1958 fellow high school classmate..

  26. Naturally, your mother was a favorite person of mine and an inspiration as I went into teaching. You have the strength of thousands of thankful students, in class and in life, with you. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  27. She was one of the very best human beings I have ever known. I’ll miss you Aunt Eloise.

  28. Mrs. Dielman was my favorite teacher! She has such a calming presence and taught me so much. I remember taking her creative writing class in high school and being so apprehensive and she encouraged me to just be myself. She will always hold a special place in my heart. Thoughts and prayers to your family.

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