Ann Cristine Dopp, or to call her by her Icelandic name, Anna Kristine Asmundson, was, simply, a remarkable woman.
She was born in a sod house in Upham, North Dakota on September 1st, 1902, the first of ten children of Bjorn Asmundson and Lukka Thoranna Benson.
She came from good Icelandic stock. Her father, Bjorn, was born in Dallandspartur, near Husavik Eystri, on September 20, 1874.
He and his mother, Kristin Saebjarnsdottir, emigrated to the United States in the early 1890’s. Ann’s mother, Lukka, was born in North Dakota on December 16, 1883. Her father, Thordur Benedicton and mother, Maria Sveinsdottir, were both from the area near Seydisfyordur.
They lived in Uphama, a tightly knit Icelandic community of good, hard-working people of modest means. All were proud to be Icelandic and equally proud to be Americans. Her father was highly respected, a master of all trades, including being elected Mayor of Upham.
Her siblings came, one about every two years, Asmundur Leonard, Thordur Bjorgvin, Maria Sigerlaug, Einar Sveinn, Lilja Emily, Stanley Sigurdur, Guthrun Athalbjorg, Mattias and Viola Margaret or as they were more commonly known, Leonard, Tut, Mary (Steele), Swain, Lily (Gannon), Stan, Bertie (Polley), Matt and Vi (Goldsmith).
Ann attended school near Upham, in McHenry County, North Dakota. According to the stories her siblings told, Ann was fashion-conscious from a very early age. All the girls wore heavy, hand-knit socks to school but Ann hated them, and as soon as she was out of sight of her grandmother, she rolled the socks way down to her ankle, or even took them off altogether, sporting a chic, bare legged look. This fashion-consciousness would continue throughout her long life.
As a young adult woman, while her parents and young siblings moved from North Dakota to Washington State to cope with the hardships of the Great Depression, she travelled to San Francisco with her sister, Mary, to sell educational materials to California school districts. Eventually they returned to Washington, and the two of them worked in downtown Seattle, selling hats and gloves in a number of very fancy department stores in the 1930s.
She met and fell in love with Vernon Carl Dopp. They were married in a double wedding ceremony along with her sister Mary and her beau Milton Steele on September 5, 1940.
Ann and Vern had a wonderful marriage. Vern adored her. They were blessed with a son, John Fredrick (Rick) Dopp, who was born on December 26, 1948. Their wonderful marriage lasted for 56 years, until Vern’s death in 1996.
Ann was an extraordinarily modern woman. Even on a modest income, her house was always exquisitely furnished. She loved beautiful things and it showed in her decorating, her clothing and jewelry, which was never expensive but always tasteful. She always looked fabulous and stylish, with her nails and hair perfect, literally, until the day she died.
Ann had an innate and quite amazing card sense, and she played extremely well. She only ceased to play bridge in the last few months of her life, when holding 13 cards became too difficult, then she transitioned to gin rummy and consistently beat her nieces and nephews.
She was an avid bowler, and continued to bowl weekly in her league until she was 90. She stopped only because she felt she was bringing her team’s average down. Even in her last month at the Cristwood nursing facility she went to “wheelchair bowling” and got a strike on the first roll. She complained that she “couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn” and when someone said, “But, you got a strike on the first roll,” she replied, “Well. yes, but only one.”
She was engaged in charitable organizations working on behalf of disabled kids. She served Marcella Nelson Unit of the Children’s Clinic and the entire city’s All Auxiliary organization.
Her church community was a big part of her life, and her church, Faith Lutheran, meant a great deal to her. Ann and Vern appreciated and loved being part of God’s family there.
Ann was an avid and lifelong sports fan. She loved and followed her Seattle teams, the Huskies, Sonics, Mariners, Seahawks, and Storm. She knew every player, celebrated their successes, commiserated with their struggles. Her last Mariners game, at, 102 years of age, with niece Susie Roberts and grand-niece Kristen Saarloos, was a delight for her.
Throughout her life Ann stayed in extremely close contact with her parents and all her siblings, nieces and nephews. Her family was very important to her. She was preceded in death by her parents, her nine siblings, and her husband, Vern. This was extremely difficult, particularly so as she was the eldest of her brothers and sisters. Still, Ann had an indomitable spirit. She was always positive, upbeat and filled with a joyous optimism. She never had a negative wordto say about anyone. She was totally focused on other people, their children their families and their dreams. She never forgot a child’s name or birthday, and had remarkable recall for the tiniest details of the lives of the people for whom she cared. Her care and concern and generous spirit were truly remarkable.
Her loving son, Rick, cared for her in her last years, allowing her to remain at home until only five weeks before she died. She was also blessed to have a wonderful caregiver, Addis Tsegaye, for seven years. The love and care from Rick and Addis were instrumental in keeping the quality of her life at the highest level.
Ann passed away peacefully on May 4, 2012, at 109¾. She was a beloved daughter, wife, mother and aunt. Her lessons are many: she was stylish and modern, lively and animated, funny and self-effacing, optimistic and positive, smart and kind, tenderhearted and loving, caring and generous from the beginning to the very end of her long life.
Rest in peace, Anna Kristine Asmundson
Dopp. Góða nótt, elskan, ég elska þig