Dorothy Ronning Tilton Bakken

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Dorothy Ronning Tilton Bakken passed away peacefully on June 8, 2018 at the age of 100 years.

She was born on March 9, 1918; during the middle of a record snowstorm way out on the prairie halfway between Miles City and Fort Peck in the days when it was a day and half wagon ride just to get into Miles City. Her birth was attended by the family’s favorite “Grandma Ronning”. Dorothy was the second of five children born of Edward and Anna Ronning on their homestead in Rock Springs, Montana.

After graduating from Custer County high School on May 29, 1935, she went on to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from the University of Minnesota in the late 1930's. After graduating, Dorothy took her first job at a Catholic Hospital in Pasco, Washington where she stayed for two years. She spoke of her time in Pasco fondly all of her life, probably because it was her first real independent move.

After she left Pasco, she visited her eldest sister, Gladys Ronning Clark and her husband, Amos Clark. Amos and Ray Wyman Tilton were best of friends who socialized after work. Amos and Gladys set Dorothy and Ray up on a blind date which worked out so well that all the friends and relatives were impressed at their good luck.

Dorothy and Ray Tilton were married on Dec. 4, 1943. And both stayed very happily married for 30 years until Ray was taken down by Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 49 and succumbed in November of 1972, five years later. Dorothy and Ray had two sons, Ray Edward Tilton on Oct. 29, 1948 and David Allen Tilton on May 4, 1953.

Starting in the early 1960's, Dorothy and Ray became very active in Sons of Norway. She held the presidency of her lodge and had also served as a representative for the 6th District, Sons of Norway.

Dorothy met Russell A. Bakken and then re-married in 1977 and shared a happy life for twenty years until Russell passed away from cancer on Oct. 10, 1997.

Both of her husbands were extremely fond of traveling and both took Dorothy all over the world traveling almost every year and sometime more than twice in a year. They visited several countries in all the continents except for Antarctic. During most of that time, Dorothy continued to work as a medical technologist in spite of the fact that every year, the state of California offered her the license for Biological Analyst due to the fact that her five year bachelors degree was always deemed equal to any other university’s Masters Degree in Biological Analysis. Her reply to the state was always that she liked and preferred the doctors she worked for: Nathanson, Molle, Miller, and Tober.

She was preceded in death by her sisters and brothers and their spouses: Gladys (Amos Clark), Ines (Smith), Warren (Elizabeth) Ronning, and Orville Ronning. Orville’s wife, Kate, still survives.

Dorothy is survived by her sons and two grandchildren: William John Edward Tilton and Katherine Elizabeth Tilton.

A visitation was held at 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. on Monday, June 18 at Smith-Olcott Funeral Chapel in Red Lodge. A graveside service was held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20 in the Red Lodge Cemetery.