Flossie Dolezalek Tesar made quilts
in the pattern of the Flower Garden, Pinwheel, Nine Patch, Dutch Girl,
Double Wedding Ring, Kite, Butterfly, Stained Glass, Chrysanthemum, Chips
and Stones, and many more; but her favorite was Dresden Plate. She made
this pattern over and over again in a kaleidoscope of colors. She also
made baby quilts and doll quilts, which she often gave as gifts. As a teenager,
she made her first quilt from a kit ordered from Sears and Roebuck. After
retiring, she joined the Sherman Joy Club to quilt and travel with members
and long-time friends. She was also active at the Collinsville Community
Center where she quilted, made fried pies, and participated in other fund-raising
activities while enjoying the companionship of family and friends.
Flossie was born May 24, 1913, near
Ennis, Texas. Her parents were Louis and Emma Jaresh Dolezalek. She had
four brothers and sisters: Bill, Emma, Edward, and Mildred.
Flossie Dolezalek Tesar
In 1916, the Dolezalek family
moved to a farm west of Dorchester. When Flossie was old enough, she attended
the two-room Sperry School, where she read books in a language that at
first she didn?t understand. The family spoke Czech at home. After completing
the ninth grade, Flossie had to stay at home to work in the fields and
While Flossie was quite young, she looked
after her younger brother Edward, sometimes endangering him in the process.
Such as the time she was sawing wood and sat Edward on the end of the log
that fell off, not realizing he would fall too. By the time she was 10
or 12, she was milking cows and hoeing crops. But she always had time to
put down her hoe or cotton sack to pin curl a friends? hair right there
in the field or make a dress for them.
At 20, Flossie went to Dallas
to work as a cook and housekeeper, earning about a $1 a day. On her days
off, Flossie took violin lessons, went to dances, or came home to Dorchester
on the Interurban. She also managed to break her arm while roller-skating
in the backyard at night much to the chagrin of the neighborhood doctor
who had to get up in the middle of the night to set her arm.
On December 21, 1942, Flossie married
Army Pvt. Fred Tesar, the adopted son of neighbors Gabriel and Emilie Skrhak
Horak. Shortly their marriage, Fred was shipped overseas. About a year
later, Flossie went to work at the North American airplane plant in Grand
Prairie. There she ?bucked rivets? for 2½ years, making a then-phenomenal
wage of $65 a week. She lived in Urbandale with her sister and brother-in-law,
Emma and Joe Ruzicka and rode to work with Joe on his motorcycle.
During the 2½ years Fred was
overseas, Flossie and Fred saved their wages and when Fred came home in
1945, they bought the Rifenberg farm near Southmayd. The dilapidated old
farmhouse didn?t have running water or electricity, and younger family
members said the house ?leaned?. But, in time, improvements were made and
it became the home where they raised their two daughters with affection
and gentle discipline.
Flossie?s almost boundless energy suited
her life as a farm wife. She fed her family with food from the farm?chicken,
beef, pork, duck, jams, jellies, preserves, fruit, vegetables, milk, cream,
and butter. She dressed her family homemade clothes, sewing everything
from pajamas and underclothes to Sunday dresses and swimsuits.
After a drought in the mid 1950s, it
was obvious that one bale of cotton wouldn?t cover the family?s expenses
for the coming year and Flossie began working outside the home. At first
she worked seasonally at Bryce?s Pickle Plant but later found permanent
work painting fishing lures at Whopper Stopper. Although the work was strenuous,
exacting, and dirty, she took pride in her ability to mix paint and match
colors. She worked there until she retired in 1983 at the age of 70.
When Fred died unexpectedly in 1972,
she sold the cattle and farm equipment but refused to leave the country
home she had shared with Fred. Although she oversaw the farms, kept a garden,
mowed her large yard, and even traveled a bit; her real love was quilting.
She often embroidered the date and the
phrase ?remember me? on her quilts. When she could no longer quilt, she
liked to imagine that her friends and family would indeed remember her
by celebrating her life rather than mourning her death. She died February
26, 2005 in Richardson, Texas.