Dawn Mogren

Mogren—Dawn Mogren, 86, on May 13, 2017, in York, Pa. Dawn was born on May 16, 1930, in Chicago, Ill., the only child of Lillian Schwann and George Mogren. She grew up surrounded by extended family and friends and became a nurse, advancing from practical to registered nursing and earning an associate’s degree in Arkansas and a bachelor’s in Iowa in the late ’70s and early ’80s. She worked in pediatrics and geriatrics and at a cancer treatment center before discovering her love for public health nursing while working near Chicago. As an adult, she had struggled with alcoholism, and she appreciated her decades of sobriety, which enriched her work as a visiting nurse working with people in an ambulatory detox program.

Her favorite home was in Wisconsin’s Northwoods on the Wisconsin River, where she lived simply and raised her own food, kept bees, and had chickens and goats. In 1987 she moved to York, Pa., where she worked for the Visiting Nurse Association as a hospice nurse, finally retiring at 75. She surrounded herself with friends and explored her interest in nature, taking her beloved Volkswagen minivan on many camping trips with a dear friend and foraging for wild mushrooms and herbs. She always had one or two dogs, and she enjoyed walking them. She continued to share her passions for living a simple life: creating Simplicity Circles and facilitating Socrates Cafes to stimulate thought-provoking conversation. Her Swedish-themed New Year’s Day open houses honored her connection to her Swedish and German immigrant grandparents. Her openness and ability to listen to all meant that her home became a haven away from home for several people. Her spare bedroom was available to anyone needing a place to regroup, and sometimes a woman in transition stayed for several months at a time. Friends who visited her felt at home. She wasn’t afraid to tell you the truth if she thought you needed to hear it. And her phone message “Leave a message if you care to, toodle loo,” always made callers feel that she looked forward to hearing from them.

She began attending York Meeting in 2001, joined in 2004, and served as assistant treasurer and on Nominating and Stewardship and Finance committees, which often met in her home, especially during very hot or cold weather. During the meeting’s exploration of building an addition to the meetinghouse between 2007 and 2010, she served on the Acorn Committee and helped plan the Golden Elephant Sale, named for her donation of a gold-colored elephant lamp. Her connection with Quaker Earthcare Witness inspired the Dinner and a Movie fundraisers, which served simple, locally sourced food and showed environmental movies. She inspired one of the meeting’s first community outreach efforts, hosting a Spanish speaking AA group.

Modeling the art of growing old gracefully, as she aged she focused on becoming an elder, and people sought her out for advice or just to watch a good movie together over a vegetarian meal. She also loved to play Scrabble, even though she rarely won. When she could no longer forage in the woods, she stayed connected to her interest in sustainable living via the Internet, watched Democracy Now! every morning, and enjoyed the fruits of her backyard with Rufus, her Westie, at her side.

Dawn is survived by two children, Heidi Becker (Richard) and Marci Henzi; a former son-in-law, Jerry Webb; and one grandson.

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