At what point in life should you stop trying new things? For one Beaver Dam woman the answer to that question is “never.”
Beverly Belling Dohmann, or Bev as she likes to be called, is a newly published author at the age of 91. Her children’s book, “BOWE” was recently released by Archway Publishing. Dohmann not only wrote the story, but painted the illustrations as well.
Born in Appleton, Dohmann moved to Beaver Dam with her husband after college. Together they had three children.
Her list of accomplishments in the art world is long. She organized the first elementary school art show and initiated a movement that resulted in the hiring of Beaver Dam’s first elementary art teacher. She was a founding member of the Beaver Dam Art Association and lectured on and demonstrated the art of creativity to numerous schools and organizations. She also taught art at Wayland Academy for 25 years where her students and she won state and national awards yearly.
She was honored with a special award from the National Art Education Association for providing a climate of exemplary support for a balanced curriculum including arts in education.
“Ever since I was a little girl I always wanted to be an artist,” said Dohmann. “I had such a wonderful, joyful career.”
As time passed, Dohmann suffered the loss of her husband Don and two children. Those losses caused her to reflect on life.
“I go to church every Sunday. About a year ago our minister was talking about gifts that we are given and aren’t using,” she said. “I thought — he’s talking about me. I was just spending my time watching television and playing cards.
“At the end of the sermon he told us if there was something we want to do in our lives we should write it down on a piece of paper and we’ll pray for you,” Dohmann said. “So I filled out a piece of paper and wrote that I wanted to finish the books I once had started. Monday came and nothing happened, Tuesday came and nothing happened, on Wednesday I thought I needed to pray harder.
“At 3 a.m. on Thursday the story of “BOWE” came to me. I had never ever thought of this story. It was the scariest thing that happened to me in all my life. I sat down and started writing and the words were there.”
Dohmann said “BOWE” is the first of four books that will be published.
“This one is on kindness, the next one is on love, the third one is the story of Noah and the last one is the story of the tulip,” she said.
Dohmann gives credit to Beaver Dam Community Library’s information librarian Anita Streich for helping her navigate a computer.
“Writing and painting comes easy to me,” she said. “But I needed Anita. She was a godsend; she really carried me through. I didn’t know how to send the publishing company everything that they needed on my own.”
“BOWE” tells the story of a zebra born in Africa. He is different as his stripes are bright and colorful. He longs to be black and white and sets off on an adventure to find the Mighty One who may help him become normal.
“I really believe children will be inspired by the book and relate how important it is to be kind,” she said.
“BOWE” can be purchased directly from Dohmann or is also available at amazon.com. Hardcovers sell for $25 and softcovers for $15.
The royalties from “BOWE” will be donated to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Global Down Syndrome Foundation, 5-stones and Exodus Cry.
For now, there’s no slowing down for Dohmann. She held a book-signing at her church last week and will be at Beaver Dam Community Library to read her book to children Saturday.
“I will be doing signings at churches and at the Dodge County Women’s Expo. I was invited to Columbus to do an author’s program there,” she said. “Life is good, but busy.”
Organizations or churches interested in hosting Dohmann for a book-signing can contact her at 920-219-9111.
“It’s been an unbelievable journey. You’re never too old,” she said with a smile.