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26090 Pine Street
Calumet, MI 49913
Phone: (906) 337-4600
Fax: (906) 337-4699

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Obituary for Dorothy Jane Vairo

LAURIUM – Dorothy J. Vairo, 99, of 601 Lake Linden Ave., Laurium, MI, passed away at her home on July 25, 2014.

She was born on September 15, 1914, in Chicago, IL, a daughter of the late George and Ethel (Steele) Ahrbeck.

She attended Roosevelt High School in Chicago and, after her graduation, was employed at the University of Notre Dame Athletic Department where she met and then married Dominic M. Vairo on May 16, 1936, at the log chapel, the original church constructed on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.

When Dorothy’s husband Dominic enlisted in the United States Navy during WWII, she was appointed by Judge Brennan to replace her husband as the Clerk of Houghton County. In 1946, she ran for office and became one of the first women in the State of Michigan to be elected to a county clerk’s office. Her husband was then reappointed to the County Clerk’s office when he returned after serving in the South Pacific.

Dorothy valued education and had a passion for reading. As a youth she wanted to read every book in the Chicago Public Library. In her lifetime, she read thousands of books and up until her death was actively reading two to three books a week.

Dorothy was an artist at heart. She used a needle and thread as her primary tools. She created thousands of Christmas felt ornaments and made numerous holiday wall hangings which she lovingly shared with her children and grandchildren. She also enjoyed the creative pursuits of knitting, needlepoint and embroidering. In addition, she greatly enjoyed summers in Bootjack at her cottage and in the Fall looked forward to cheering on her favorite teams, the Green Bay Packers and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

Dorothy was a member of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church of Calumet.

She was preceded in death by her husband Dominic on July 31, 2002, brother William Ahrbeck and her great grandson Anthony J. Vairo.

She is survived by her daughter Judith Best of Ithaca, NY; her son Gerald G. (Claudette) Vairo of Bootjack; six grandchildren, Michael (Sherry) Best of Phoenix, AZ, David (Margaret) Best of Vienna, VA, Julie (Mike) Milani of Chicago, IL, Nicole (John) Brisson of Chicago, IL, Gina (Patrick) Flynn of Cleveland, OH, Stephen (Shannon) Vairo of Houghton; 12 great grandchildren, Nicholas and Nancy Best; Carolyn, Tom and Dominic Best; Timothy and Katherine Milani; Thomas and John Flynn; Dominic and Sophie Brisson; Gerald Vairo; and nieces, Paula Muvrin, Nancy Suria and nephew, Tom Ahrbeck.

A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 28, 2014, at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Calumet with Father Abraham Mupparathara. Visitation will be from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Sunday, July 27, 2014, at the Erickson, Crowley, Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet with a prayer service to be held at 7:30 p.m. Burial will be at the Lakeview Cemetery in Calumet.

A heartfelt thank you to Lynn Anderson for her many years of loving care, kindness and friendship to Dorothy. In addition, the family would like to thank Dr. Luoma and the nursing staff at Aspirus Hospital and also her home health care providers. Finally, a special thank you to all of the home care-giving team who supported and assisted Dorothy in her last days.

In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family suggests memorials be given to the Vairo Family Scholarship Fund at the Calumet High School or to their preferred charity. Condolences can be expressed to the family at

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