Dorothy “Tookie” Appelbe Obituary – The Arizona Republic

Dorothy June Appelbe, affectionately known as “Tookie”, was delivered into the hands of God on Friday, September 30, 2022 while surrounded by her family. Her husband, John M. Appelbe, died in 1984. Tookie is survived by her seven (7) children, Rosamond “Rosie” Moore (John), Mary Katherine “Katie” Fernandez (Berk), Therese Appelbe, Andrea “Andie ” Cullinan (Steve), John Appelbe (Laura), Jane Lydon (Tony), Margaret “Maggie” Byrne (Andy), 18 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren, brothers Mayo Ryan (Karlene) and Greg Ryan. Tookie is predeceased by her parents Rosamond and James Ryan and her brother Michael Ryan. Tookie Ryan was born in Fresno, California on June 17, 1932, to a farming and ranching family in California’s San Joaquin Valley. She spent her formative years in Carmel and San Francisco, California during World War II and told her children about her own childhood memories of closing the blinds and keeping all the lights off at night and rationing. the food. She attended Dominican College in San Rafael, California and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Her husband John Appelbe, originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, worked in the agricultural products business and met Tookie in Fresno while on a business trip. They married in 1955 and moved to Phoenix soon after. While raising their 7 children, Tookie tended to her beloved gardens and composted long before composting was widely recognized. Her compost was the rich soil fertilizer she used to create her beautiful gardens that produced fruits, vegetables and an arboretum of trees, shrubs, roses and flowers. Tookie also practiced strict recycling, a reflection of his dedication to preserving the blessed land. As a young girl, Tookie was an avid skier and played tennis well into adulthood. His lifelong adventures included touring Thailand on an elephant, an African safari with the Maasai, and building a church in Ecuador. Tookie was one of the first master gardeners in the valley and studied horticulture at Arizona State University. She also volunteered with the University of Arizona Maricopa County Cooperative Extension Service. Her home’s gardens have been featured in Phoenix Home & Garden magazine, the Arizona Republic newspaper, and were one of the gardens featured in the 3rd Annual Garden Tour sponsored by the Master Gardeners of Maricopa County. Her love of flowers has taken her to gardens in England, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Israel, Ecuador, Thailand and Africa. Tookie’s caring spirit was shared during her time as a volunteer for the Visiting Nurse Service Auxiliary (her children remember accompanying her to the annual VNSA book sale at the fairgrounds.) Tookie was active within of the Diggers Club and served one term as president. She was a member of the Junior League of Phoenix, volunteered at the Heard Museum, and was a guide at the Phoenix Art Museum for decades. Tookie and John shared a strong Catholic faith and were parishioners of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church and St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Tookie was a Dame of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. Their son attended Brophy College Prep and their 6 daughters attended Xavier College Prep. Tookie’s family was large and included many dear friends and relatives from California to Pennsylvania. Tookie’s most precious moments were spent with loved ones, laughing and enjoying the harvests from her gardens as we cherished the harvests from her loving heart. Her home was always open and was a frequent respite for her grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Tookie’s memory to The Agape Fund, an organization that supports Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities. A funeral mass will be celebrated on Friday, October 14, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 4715 N Central Avenue, Phoenix. Interment follows immediately at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery in Phoenix. Condolences may be expressed at

Posted on October 04, 2022

Posted in The Arizona Republic

service information

funeral mass

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 4715 N Central Avenue, Phoenix

October 14, 2022 at 1:30 p.m.