Dorotha Mae Krotzer

Dorotha Mae Krotzer Jackson Schneider

Alfred and Matilda’s first child, Dorotha Mae “Dolly” Krotzer (1899-1974), was born on July 31, 1899, in Woodville, Ohio. Her father was 26, and her mother was 20. Records suggest she received a grade school education.

Early Family Life

Dorotha married John L Jackson on November 19, 1918, when she was just 19 years old and he was twenty (details about John Jackson begin below). Exactly how or where they met is a mystery. John had been living in Chicago just a few months prior to their wedding and on their marriage license they both record Toledo, Ohio addresses only about five miles apart. Their first child, daughter Bonita Mae, was born January 9, 1921. Dorotha’s youngest brother, Paul Wallace Krotzer, was born some two weeks later. Eighteen months later, son, John L. Jackson, Jr., was born, on July 22, 1922.

The next six to eight years might have been passed in ordinary domestic pursuits.  City directories show the family lived in the Point Place area of north Toledo. During the years 1926 through 1930, they resided at 2847 113th St, a then growing residential community on the peninsula between the Ottawa River and the western shore of Maumee Bay. The address is just two miles or so from Webber’s Waterfront Restaurant, where it is thought Dorotha worked as a cook. Both children attended a local grade school although it is not certain which one.

A note on Dorotha’s first name. There is no doubt that her given name was Dorotha. But many friends, acquaintances and employees called her Dorothy, and most often, “Dolly.”

Period of Tumult and Transition

At some point before April of 1930, John and Dorotha’s relationship seems to have disintegrated.

Although no official divorce document has been uncovered, by 1935 John had moved to Gibsonburg, Ohio, with his then 13-year old son, John, Jr.  Daughter Bonnie’s whereabouts at this point is a mystery as she does not appear in the 1940 Census record for either parent.

Dorotha appears in the 1940 Census rolls, living in Toledo with Joseph Schneider. Their marital status was noted as married.  They resided in a four-unit rental property at 2415 Rosewood Avenue, a locale just a couple of miles from the center of downtown Toledo.  Joe was employed as a clerk in a W.P.A. office; no occupation was listed for Dorotha. No official documents have been found recording a divorce for Dorotha and John nor for a marriage between Dorotha and Joseph Schneider.  This lack of documentation is puzzling. There are still references to Dorotha as “Jackson” until as late as 1962.[1]

Growing up, I only ever heard Grandma referred to as Dolly Schneider. I would have been aware of such things from around the early to mid 1950s, I think. My brother and I referred to Joe Schneider as “Uncle Joe,” never grandpa.  I should add, too, that Dolly and Grandpa Jackson, her ex, had what I would characterize as a “cool” relationship: they rarely spoke to each other that I remember; I certainly never heard them exchange any negative words. And Grandpa Jackson was often around Dolly & Joe’s restaurant doing all kinds of handy-man repairs and maintenance. And he was always present at family holiday dinners there.

Dolly & Joe’s Restaurant


Whatever their official relationship, Dorotha and Joe went into business at Dolly & Joe’s Restaurant on Airport Highway in 1941 and operated at that location until 1952.  At that time, the property was purchased for the construction of the Ohio Turnpike. Dolly & Joe’s moved to a refurbished red barn at 1045 South Reynolds Road.

I have a vivid recollection of the first time I set foot in this location, probably in the Spring of 1952. It was, as the building looks like, a big barn. I didn’t have any sense of what was going on but I was very impressed by the big tractor parked there, the bales of hay, the loft above. It reminded me of the barn on the property of the Airport Highway restaurant. I don’t think I ever saw any of the work in progress for what must have been an enormous effort to convert the building into the complex of dining area, bar, kitchen, walk-in cooler, etc., that it became.

Joe managed the bar and Dolly ran the kitchen. The restaurant was famous for its roast beef, steaks, fried chicken, chicken noodle soup and pies, especially strawberry. Dolly’s era predated today’s franchise, pre- prepared, frozen fare. Everything was fresh and hand-prepared: noodles, pie crusts, pie filling, French fries, whipped cream. Sides of beef ware delivered to a walk-in cooler and meat was cut, in-house, several times a week and aged in the cooler. Every steak was hand tenderized. A large commercial peeler skinned fifty pounds of potatoes at a time; the spuds were then hand-cut one at a time for fries. Two Polish cooks, Mary and Helen, prepared pie crusts with wooden rollers and cut egg noodles with a simple knife.

I could go on with food preparation stories. What’s impressive with the passage of time, is the recollection of how good the food was and how detailed the prepartion. Everything was done by hand, from scratch. There were no large shelving units with canned or dried goods. Peaches, strawberries, apples…, all were purchased from local farmers and manually prepared. I remember when we first received commercial frozen cherries for pie; it seemed like a miracle. I read that Reddi-Wip whipped cream has been around since 1948 but I don’t recall ever seeing it during my time at Dolly & Joe’s. Whipped cream was made several gallons at a time is a large whipping machine. It was incredible.

The establishment was open six days a week, closed on Mondays. For many years there was a lunch service from around 11:00 until 3:00, then dinner from 5:00 until closing.  The regular postman always got a free lunch and chatted with Dolly in the kitchen. The lunch-time service was discontinued at some point, due, probably to the growing presence of fast-food franchises in the area. Dolly & Joe’s was extremely popular on holidays: Easter and Mother’s Day were the busiest days of the year and reservations were mandatory.

Dolly continued to operate the restaurant after Joe’s death in 1959. At that point, she sold the liquor license and bar operation to Robert “Bob” Wahl (1938-2012).[2]  Upon, Dolly’s passing in 1974, ownership passed to her daughter, Bonnie, who operated the enterprise for a few years before selling it to Bob Wahl. Bob ran things until he became ill. The property became a Mexican restaurant in 2017.

Auto Accident Mystery

Dorotha walked with crutches, cane or walker, most of her adult life. She sustained a severe injury to her lower left leg that never properly healed. It is assumed the injury was the result of an automobile accident. However, no documentation has been uncovered to provide details of this incident.

Later Years

Dolly’s life was cooking and from the 1950s on, the restaurant. By mid-morning, she was in the kitchen preparing beef for roasts or steaks.  As age and infirmity took their toll, Dorotha spent less and less time at the stove and did what she could seated at the big white desk in the middle of the room, perhaps whipping up fruit and fillings for pies or chiding young employees to keep up.

☛  I recall Dolly taking a vacation extactly once: to the Wisconsin Dells (probably around 1957-58).

Dorotha passed away in August of 1974 at age 75.

Joseph Schneider

Joseph Schneider (1899-1959) is perhaps a peripheral and enigmatic figure in this narrative. He was not a blood relative to any of the ancestors being studied here and there is little documentary evidence about his life. But as Dorotha’s partner and perhaps husband for some twenty years, he merits at least a few lines.

Joseph Schneider was born in 1899 in Toledo, Ohio.  His father, Alphonso, and mother, Louise, were of Austrian-French heritage, likely from the same Alsatian region the Brunthavers came from (see above). He spent his early years on a farm in the Maumee area. Later, the family moved to Bancroft street in Toledo, and Joseph worked as a laborer in a ship yard. He had six brothers. He died of a heart attack on June 10, 1959, at age 60.

☛  I have many memories of “Uncle Joe.” On Mondays, when Dolly & Joe’s was closed, I would often accompany him on errands. Everywhere we went –bank, service station, barber shop, burger joint, fruit stand, restaurant equipment supply store– he seemed to know the people. He told stories about smuggling liquor to speakeasys during Prohibition and tossing dynamite into the Maumee River to collect stunned fish during the Depression. And he kept a loaded .45 caliber handgun in the night stand next to his bed. I never heard him talk about his family. He was an accomplished bartender with the requisite gift of gab. Everyone at the bar seemed to know Joe personally. I believe he also struggled with alcoholism on occasion. However, I never saw him raise his voice to anyone and he was tremendously kind and patient to me as a little boy. I believe my mother thought highly of him and, thus, I bear his name as my middle name.

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{last update: 19-Feb-2020}