Dorene Birchard Wert of Crossville, Tennessee, died peacefully at her home on Wednesday
A native of Newton, Iowa, she moved to Chattanooga in the 1940s so her late husband, Bob Wert, could take a job with DuPont. For nearly 40 years, she, along with her husband, raised four children and involved herself in numerous church and community concerns. She was an active member of Red Bank Presbyterian Church and took an active role in supporting the work of the Boy Scouts of America. Upon retirement, Bob and Dorene moved to Crossville, where they would become members of Fairfield Glade United Methodist Church. There she built an active social life and served the community through the Crossville Arts Council and various community projects including restoration of the historic Crossville Train Depot and the Palace Theatre in downtown Crossville. She and her husband also volunteered with Bread Of Life, a local ministry to the homeless. She did this all while dedicating herself most fully to the love and nurture of her large and growing family.
Mrs. Wert’s life was indeed one marked by sacrificial service and dedication to family. As a young wife and mother, she faithfully supported her family and her country while her husband fought in the Pacific in World War II. She moved across the country during his military service, then moved back to Iowa, where she continued to care for their family while her husband completed two Bachelor’s degrees at Iowa State University. She would often speak fondly of these years, noting that they had to scrape together enough money to buy groceries each week, and even bragged about how, as their family began to grow, her husband sold his only shotgun to buy her a couch for their tiny campus apartment. As their family grew, she embraced her calling as a mother and wife, serving their home and family with selfless determination and commitment. As all of her family will attest, she was a whiz in the kitchen and seemed to consider it her own personal mission in life to see that no one ever left her home hungry. She was blessed with the gift of hospitality, and truly lived her life in such a way that honored God’s command to love him with all her heart and to love her neighbor as herself.
She adored her four children (two of whom preceded her in death), her six grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. She was a faithful wife to Bob for nearly 70 years before his death in 2013. In the days prior to her death, she simply could not stop repeating how thankful she was for her family—a sentiment echoed by her family in how thankful they are for her life and example.
Dorene was preceded in death by her son, Bobby and daughter, Linda (Bryant), both of Chattanooga, and her husband of 68 years, Robert J. Wert.
She is survived by her daughter, Debby Wilson (Al) of Crossville, son, Bill Wert (Debbie) of Havana, Florida, and son-in-law, Mitchell Bryant (Kitty) of Chattanooga. In addition, she leaves behind a host of grateful grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and dear friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Cumberland County.
A visitation will be held on Friday, Oct. 30, at Calvary Presbyterian Church of Big Lick, Tn. 10077 Vandever Road, Crossville, Tn. 38555 from 12-2 p.m., with a memorial service to follow at 2 p.m., with the Reverend Walter Canter officiating.