COLUMBIA — Dixie Botner knew how to handle herself in any situation, whether it was getting the attention of the man of her dreams, or fighting off thieves in a foreign country.
Born Oct. 15, 1927, Mrs. Botner worked as a laundress during World War II near Fort Sill, Okla., where many young men in training would bring their uniforms for washing. It was there that she met Stanley Botner.
"She just thought he was so handsome," their daughter, Linda Noll, said.
But Stanley Botner didn't ask her out: Noll suspects he was shy. That didn't stop Mrs. Botner from trying to get him to notice her.
Noll said Mrs. Botner had a friend ask about plans for an upcoming dance while Stanley Botner was around so he would have the perfect opportunity to ask her on a date.
The couple married on May 24, 1945.
Dixie Botner, of Columbia, died Sunday, May 13, 2012. She was 84.
After living in the Philippines, where Stanley Botner was stationed, the couple moved to Columbia, where her husband's family had a farm. He worked for Missouri Sen. James Kem, and the couple lived for a short time in Washington, D.C., before returning to Columbia.
Mrs. Botner and her husband had four children: Noll, Douglas "Micky" Botner, Janet Crow and Carol Larsen.
After she had her children, Mrs. Botner completed a bachelor's degree in elementary education at MU. She taught first-grade for 10 years at Mokane and Midway Heights elementary schools.
"She loved the kids and wanted them to enjoy school," Noll said. "She liked to let them develop on their own."
According to Noll, students really liked Mrs. Botner. Years would pass, and former students would come by to say they still remembered her and that she was their favorite teacher.
After her children were grown, Mrs. Botner traveled with her husband.
"Daddy was really important in her life, and whatever he did, that was what she did," Noll said.
Stanley Botner worked at the forefront of developing a public administration program, now called Public Affairs, at MU. Noll said during that time he worked with international public administrators and presented papers across the globe. His travels took him and Mrs. Botner to France, Tunisia, Switzerland, Italy and England.
"They loved Italy," Noll said. Mrs. Botner's favorite place to stay was The Goring Hotel in London.
Although Mrs. Botner didn't bring gifts or trinkets back from her travels often, she did gather a few "little luxuries." Noll said she bought a Christian Dior purse in Paris, a plate from Tunisia, pottery from China and perfumes from many places. But she also said her parents didn't have an expensive lifestyle.
"They weren't extravagant people," she said.
Not every trip was commemorated with a fine purchase or a good memory, though.
Noll said that once in Milan, her parents went out one evening and found themselves on a street that was completely deserted. Within moments, thieves tried taking Mrs. Botner's purse and her husband's wallet.
"She fought them off," Noll said. "She got a little scratched, but she was tough."
Mrs. Botner is survived by one son, Douglas "Micky" Botner of Norman, Okla.; three daughters, Janet Crow of St. Louis, Noll and her husband, Ray, and Carol Larsen and her husband, David, all of Columbia; two grandchildren, John Weston Jr. and Kathryn Weston; one sister, LaVerne Henry and her husband, Thomas, of Chesapeake, Va.; two sisters-in-law, Jean Lowry and Lucette Lowry; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Her husband, Stanley Botner, her parents and her brothers, Mitchell Lowry, Allen Lowry, Herbert Lowry and Jimmy Lowry, died earlier.
Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 104 Corporate Lake Dr., Columbia, MO 65203.
Tributes may be left at www.memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.
Supervising editor is Celia Darrough.