Dixie Lee (Diefendorf) Morse


Dixie was born Oct. 13, 1929, in Kansas City, Missouri to Clarence Diefendorf and Martha (Parker) Diefendorf, also known as Juanita. She spent her early years in Kansas and Missouri before moving with her family to Minneapolis in 1941.

Dixie graduated from Southwest High School and attended the University of Minnesota. She married Jack Walter Morse May 9, 1952. She worked at North American Life and Casualty Company while she and Jack lived in the New Brighton area. In 1960, the couple moved to Sauk Rapids with their three children, Robert, Peggy and Thomas. While her husband devoted his time to his partnership in the newly formed Bartley Supply Plumbing and Heating company, Dixie devoted her time to volunteering in the community.

Dixie was recognized for her volunteer efforts in the Sauk Rapids (ISD. No. 47) schools where she was known as “Grandma D!” by the students. She shared her love of sewing with family and consumer science classes, where she assisted students with their projects as well as sewing for the district’s drumline. Dixie also assisted with vision and hearing screening, book fairs, Inventor’s Congress, Reading Partners and Community Youth Connection. Dixie enjoyed volunteering as a classroom grandmother at the Child Day Program in her daughter’s classroom at Clara’s House in St. Cloud. She was active for many years with Fun Singers, Red Hats and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. Dixie was involved in the Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts organizations throughout her children’s many years of membership. She started out as a Brownie leader, with her daughter, and eventually became the president of the Land of Lakes Girl Scout Council. In 2008, the Benton County Historical Society chose Dixie as one of their honorees for their “Women Making History” award, in recognition of her many years of volunteering within the community.

In 1994, she applied her love of volunteering to the elderly, becoming involved in many activities at the Country Manor Campus. She especially enjoyed delivering the mail and giving the birthday corsages to the residents. She comforted other residents in the last moments of their lives as part of the Angel Arms program. Her pride in planning, planting and maintaining the many gardens around the Country Manor Campus was evident, and expanded when she and Jack moved into a campus apartment in 2004. When Jack passed away in 2012, Dixie increased her volunteer activities, right up until her health began declining in 2015. She then moved from her apartment to the Garden Cottage wing of Country Manor Care Center.

Dixie is survived by sister, Beverly Ann Peterson (Richard Peterson) in Port Richey, Fla.; children, Robert (Karen) Morse of Sauk Rapids, Peggy (Greg) Beck of Nisswa, and Thomas (Tracy) Morse of Sauk Rapids; seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

The family wishes to thank all the Country Manor staff and caregivers for the love and care they gave. They showed a wonderful sense of humor as they managed Dixie’s feisty behaviors, which only seemed to endear her to them all. Special thanks to volunteer coordinator Casaundra Heinen. Thanks also to St. Croix Hospice staff for their care and compassion.

A celebration of life for Dixie Lee Morse was held at 11 a.m. Nov. 12 in the chapel at Country Manor Campus, Sartell, starting with a presentation and sharing of stories, followed by a reception until 3 p.m. Arrangements have been entrusted to Williams Dingmann Family Funeral Home, Sauk Rapids.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Country Manor Foundation, countrymanorfoundation.org.

Obituary and guestbook available online at http://www.williamsdingmann.com R-46-1B