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The couple’s 74-year marriage was built on a foundation of love and companionship. When Ken attended college in the early ’60s, Dawn ran the household, sewing the children’s clothes, cooking dinner and helping Ken with his homework assignments whenever she could.
Resourcefulness was key. Growing up during the Great Depression, she learned to cook and sew out of necessity, but later in life, cooking and sewing became her passions. In addition to making her children’s clothes, she’d also create little outfits for their dolls. One of her favorite pieces was the replica Navy uniform (modeled after Ken’s Navy uniform) that she created for her grandson’s G.I. Joe figurine.
Her sewing later evolved into beautiful applique quilts, often keeping her up late into the night.
In the kitchen, Dawn’s pies were legendary.
She’d make 10 to 15 pies for church functions. Her fruit pies, especially her blueberry pies with homemade crust, were beloved by everyone who tasted them. Family functions weren’t complete until you tasted her famous angel food cake with pink icing. Her cake pans, cakes carriers and cake knives have become treasured keepsakes since her passing.
Dawn’s other passion was working with flowers. She began her career working for award-winning florist James Carl Hoffman at J.C. Hoffman Florist in Indianapolis. Hoffman saw immense talent in Sheets and sent her to floral design school in Chicago. Sheets finished her career working as a florist in Speedway.
At home, Dawn maintained stunning collections of bachelor buttons, lilies, cockscomb, chrysanthemums, and different shrubs for greenery. She enjoyed making bouquets for the church altar, and to this day, Cathy says she always has fresh flowers in her house as a reminder of her mother.
“She was a very talented person and she was able to pursue those talents,” Cathy said. “All the sewing that she did, and the cooking, and quilting. She was very, very talented and enjoyed the artistic part of her being.”