Let’s be ‘Blount’: Dorothy enjoys life nearing 100

Blount100PalosPark

 

Dorothy Blount (left), who turns 100 next Friday, shares a laugh with Lucy Crocilla, president of the Palos Park Woman’s Club, during a birthday celebration for Blount at the Palos Park Public Library. A celebration will be held at 1:00 p.m. Nov. 4 to mark the library’s 90th anniversary at 12330 Forest Glen Blvd.

Photo by Patricia Bailey

Dorothy Blount certainly has something to celebrate. She will be marking the turn of a personal century on Nov. 3 with her 100th birthday.

          “I’ve had a very full life, one that I’ve always enjoyed, and I am still enjoying my life now,” said Blount, of Palos Park.

          She just renewed her driver’s license and describes herself as active and healthy, with no physical health issues holding her back.

          “I’m very lucky,” she said.

          Born in Wheaton in 1917 to Earl and Gertrude Grange, Blount was the second-youngest of four children, including Ruth, Art and Doug. Her family eventually relocated to the Beverly area, where Dorothy met the man she would marry, Laurent Blount. At the age of 22, the couple wed in 1939.

          They remained living in the Beverly area when Blount’s husband made the decision to purchase property in 1949 on Wolf Road in Palos Park that he later developed into Old Creek Road. The couple said goodbye to their Beverly roots and moved into what was then unincorporated Palos Township in 1958, never looking back.

          “It was really just a lot of land with very few houses,” Blount’s son, Doug, 73, of Palos Park, recalls. “It was very rural. Just trees and grass, almost forest-like.”

          Along with Doug, the Blounts had two more children while living in Palos Park, Barbara and Alan. Blount enjoyed staying home and raising her three children during their young and adolescent years. When asked about his childhood, Doug said he was grateful.

          “We didn’t really realize it at the time, but our entire childhood was so different from what children experience today,” Doug said. “My mother was very outdoorsy. She would pack us up lunches and we would go out into the woods, hiking, exploring or playing for an entire day. We wouldn’t return home sometimes until after dusk. Children today often don’t get to experience that. We didn’t have cell phones or the Internet, so my mother made the best of the outdoors.”

          “I’m still walking,” Blount said. “I may not be walking five miles a day anymore like I used to, but I’m still walking regularly.”

          Living on several acres in the wooded Palos Park area, the Blounts also owned not one, but five horses. One for every member of the family, Blount said.

          “Living in Palos Park and raising my children here, I realize that I would have hated living in the busy city,” she said. “My children have had a very good life out here, even though they’re far from children anymore. It’s still hard for me to even believe.”

          Blount, her husband and her children would ride regularly, and Blount refused to give up one of her favorite pastimes until she reached the age of 80. Described as an avid animal lover by her children, Blount also made sure their household always had a family dog, often an English Pointer, as they were bred by her father.

          “I remember growing up, we would take in an array of wild animals,” Doug said. “There was one time my mother took in an injured crow and it ended up living with us for a few years.”

While she was home with the children, her husband, Laurent worked as a real estate agent and developer. In 1961, he built what is known as the Village Courtyard Shopping Center, 8101 W. 123rd St. in Palos Park, where he set the ground for his very own real estate agency, L.T. Blount, Realtors.

          Eight other shops opened up their doors in the shopping center, including Deacon’s Bench Restaurant, personal boutique shops, a candle shop and a bookstore.

          Once the children were 18 and older, Blount decided to obtain her real estate license, in 1962, and join the workforce. She began by running publicity and marketing for all the shops located in the Village Courtyard, designing and mailing 5,000 flyers known as the Village Crier every other month, encouraging residents to visit the shopping center. She would also arrange and organize events to be held in the common area of the Village Courtyard, ranging from wedding receptions, Palos Village Players theater performances and the Chicago Chamber Orchestra.

Her busy schedule did not stop there, however, as she also worked as a real estate agent at L.T. Blount, Realtors, establishing her own clientele.

          In 1976, the Blounts sold ownership of the Village Courtyard but kept their real estate office.

          In 1981, Laurent died tragically of a heart attack, but that did not deter Blount from her career choice.

          Her son, Doug, took over the family business after his father’s passing. Since then, they have moved to a new location and have partnered with Berkshire Hathaway. They are now known as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Blount, Realtors and are located at 8100 W. 119th St., Palos Park.

          To this day, Blount remains active in the real estate office, coming in regularly to help out the business. She no longer shows homes, but she helps out with advertisements and sends out listings to potential clients.

          “I always liked working in real estate and really enjoy it,” Blount said. “You become really good friends with the people who come in to purchase homes and properties.”

          During the course of her dynamic lifetime, Blount also remained very active in the Palos Park community. She has been involved in Service League, Palos Park Woman’s Club, Palos Park Garden Guild II and the Community Center Foundation (now known as The Center) in Palos Park where she was active in hiring ranch camp staff for several years. She also served on the board of directors.

“I’m very proud of her and all of her accomplishments,” Doug said. “She is always helping others. She always sees the good in everyone and always has a positive attitude.”

Dorothy’s plans for her special day include dinner at The Center on Nov. 4 with her entire family. She has family coming in from “all over,” she says, including California, Texas and Alabama, as well as those living throughout Illinois.

She has already been feted by fellow members of the Palos Park Woman’s Club. Dorothy was given a 50-year pin and a picture of herself with “Fifty Years” embossed on the frame, marking 50 years of service to the club. She also received a floral bouquet. The celebrants enjoyed two cakes: white and chocolate. Dorothy likes chocolate, her friends in the club reported.

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