Dorothy Bertha Felske
SHARON — Dorothy Bertha Felske, 94, passed peacefully Sept. 3, 2022, in Sharon, surrounded by her loving family. Dorothy was born Feb. 10, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York. She was the daughter of August William and Emma Louise Hardt. Dorothy grew up a “city kid” roller skating, roasting potatoes curbside, playing with metal soldiers, listening to the radio, developing a love of books and gathering for meals with her numerous aunts and uncles.
In 1939 her family moved to North Lynbrook, New York. She graduated from Pratt Institute in 1948, majoring in advertising design. At Pratt she met her future husband, industrial design student Arthur Max Felske, marrying him in 1950. In 1953 they moved to Westport, Connecticut, purchasing their first fixer upper a small gardener’s cottage and raising three children. She loved motherhood and felt settled and contented. She planted irises, peonies, orange red oriental poppies, and gathered with family and friends for barbecues and late Sunday brunch picnics at the town beaches. She felt as if she “had died and gone to heaven” living in this coastal town. Starting in 1966 she convinced her family to “cross the pond” making it to Venice and Florence before the flood. This would be the first of many crossings.
Dorothy spent years as an active volunteer in the Greens Farms Congregational Church, the Westport Democratic Party, the Women’s Club, the League of Women’s Voters, and Save Westport Now. She studied government with other local women and in 1960 stood with her three kids at the tarmac edge at Bridgeport Airport waiting to greet the young presidential candidate John Kennedy. She raised dachshunds, worked in interior design and briefly as a real estate broker.
In 1986 she and Arthur moved to Sharon, purchasing an early 1900’s fixer upper that was originally a creamery and later an Advent Christian Church. With a lot of patience and some serious hands-on the place became a home. Ten years later in Sharon they would repeat this labor of love process with great success moving to a more sunny and open location. Dorothy continued her love of reading, participating in library book groups and enrolling in various lecture and discussion groups. She possessed an unceasing desire to engage with people, entertaining often with a wonderful flair. Dorothy loved libraries and created the first fundraising auction for the Sharon Hotchkiss Library.
Dorothy had an innate fashion sense. She created strikingly beautiful vignettes at home for every conceivable holiday. Her four square garden was a visual feast. As a mother and grandmother she listened and encouraged and inspired. She never lost her desire to travel, landing in many wonderful far away places. She was spirited and loving and will be deeply missed.
Dorothy is survived by: Her daughter Karin Felske Wexler and her son-in-law James Wexler of Sharon; her son Peter Felske and daughter-in-law Titi Halle of Sharon; her daughter Lisa Felske Klein of Litchfield; and grandchildren, Anna Wexler, Kristine Klein and Katherine Klein, granddaughter-in-law Kadeja Wexler, great grandchildren August and Leo Wexler, and multiple nieces and nephews.
Her husband Arthur Max Felske, grandson Jamie Wexler and son–in- law John Klein, predeceased Dorothy.
A small, private gathering to celebrate Dorothy’s life will be held in the coming weeks. Donations in her name may be sent to The Sharon Hotchkiss Library, Homecare and Hospice of Litchfield County and The Sharon Land Trust.