Dolena was born in London, Canada, and entered nurses’ training at Woodstock General Hospital after graduating from the Ingersoll Collegiate Institute. Walter was born in Detroit and graduated from Wayne State University. He served three years in the Army during World War II. For 40 years he was a practicing CPA. They were married in Michigan in 1966, combining five children and two cats.
They began traveling a couple of years later when friends asked them to join a travel club. They also traveled on their own and later joined another club with its own plane; shopping was a feature of their itineraries, Dolena states.
“I have always been interested in arts and crafts of the peoples of the world and we began bringing this world home with us,” she explains. “We bought paintings, wall hangings, wood carvings, glassware, Christmas ornaments, fabric, jewelry, rugs, tables, clothing, decorative trays and boxes, china and porcelain. We collected miniature buildings and figurines of people and animals. Craft markets were of special interest with bargaining part of the fun.”
After completing eight years of fine art classes and attending lectures on the rarer treasurers of the world, they began driving themselves, mostly in Europe, to see more, but they also rented cars with guides and drivers to some of the more remote areas. They photographed wildlife all over the world. They have been on 27 cruises.
When Walter retired in 1988 they searched for a retirement haven away from the ice and snow. “Surprisingly, we found it in Arkansas,” Dolena says. In1993 they moved into their “dream home” fronting Lake Balboa in Hot Springs Village. They designed the house for entertaining and to showcase their collections and photographs.
They joined TCC in 2004, having traveled to 102 countries. Soon after they became Area Coordinators for Arkansas. “Travel is not about jumping in and out of countries, but getting the feelings of the places and the people,” Dolena states. “Hanging on my nook wall is a clock we bought in Lucern, inscribed in German — ‘Time Passes Quicker Than You Think‘– so travel while you can.”