Delores Van Alstine was beloved by all her family members, which spanned five generations. On April 25, 2020, she was reunited with all the family members that proceeded her in death. They include her mother, Agnes (Novak) Smisek, father, Edward Smisek, and 11 of her 13 siblings, Milton, Edward, Anna Jefferson, Leo, Mary Schmitt, Agnes Sieberg, Severina Bighley, George, Wilfred, Monica Sheprith, and Alvin. But most importantly of all she has been reunited with the love of her life, her husband, “Jimmy, "her husband of 22 years, with whom she is once again dancing, after 50 long-awaited years. The love they shared ran so deep, that before he was laid to rest. She sought and began to follow his path to heaven. When she looked back and saw the fear and pain in the hearts of her children. As a good mother often does, she put aside her own desires for their sake.
Delores was born August 21, 1921 in Foreston, Minnesota along with her sisters Agnes and Monica. They were a set of triplets which miraculously survived with the insight of their father. He incubated them by placing each of them in a shoe box. And placing the shoe boxes in the warming oven. Monica left us in 2002, and Agnes in 2019.
Delores lived most of her life in her home in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota. A home filled with the love shared between her and her beloved James Van Alstine and their five children, Michael (Sandra), Wayne, Diane Lovell-Thomas (Kenneth), Marilyn Senart (Richard), and Steve (Irene). Her eight grandchildren and 7 great- grandchildren.
There are many special moments that her children shared with her. All of them regardless of whether good or bad were understood as coming from a place of love. Her oldest son Michael summed up these feelings beautifully with the following words. “No matter what faults I challenged my mother with, she never stopped loving me.”
Mom’s heart was so filled with love it was seen and felt by people near and far. She always provided the time and emotional support that her children needed in their youth, and as adults when they asked for it. She gave it to her community with the thousands of hours she volunteered her time and talents. Her love was felt worldwide through small economic contributions of support she gave to her favorite charities.
Delores had a special bond with her siblings. Even those that were of a much younger age. When they were toddlers and elementary age children, she made many of their clothes. Soon after moving to St. Paul where she had obtained a job and an apartment of her own, Grandpa called her with the news Grandma was very sick. Grandma had been hospitalized and he needed someone to take care of the younger children. She quit her job and went home to care for them. Two of them, Irene Dietz and Ruth Brooks are her remaining surviving siblings.
Leaving her long-time family home in Vadnais Heights, Delores moved into New Perspective in Roseville in 2018. The love she had given to others throughout her life was felt by the residents and staff members there. These words were often voiced by them when family members would visit, “Your mother is such a sweetheart.”
Delores became a member of St. John’s the Evangelist parish in Little Canada in 1958. She was a very active member of this community. It would be difficult to find a member of the parish that would not recognize her. She had developed a friendship with every priest that served the parish during that 62 years.
Some of my most cherished moments with Mom were after our relationship became not just mother and daughter, but good friends. Marilyn, Mom, and I would pick a town in Minnesota with a main street that could take us back in time. The three of us would spend hours in antique shops where all of us would reminisce about times past. We would take a break and eat lunch together in a local restaurant. Then we would continue our adventure until the shops closed, or we ran out of new shops to explore.
This is the memory that Marilyn wanted to share with you. “My mom was the most unselfish person I have ever met. She always put other people’s needs before her own. She truly cared for others. So many memories—but the one most dear to me. Is when my mom helped me through the grieving when I lost my husband. She had been though the experience herself and comforted me many times. She made me realize that I wasn’t going crazy. I am surely going to miss her positive attitude”
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