Meet Dolores Spangler: Liberator and Hat Maker

News Flash

It’s not often that people find a new purpose in life at the age of 95, but Dolores Spangler surprised even her family. Today, you’ll find her busy at work on a loom knitting hats and gifting them to people in countries around the globe just to put a smile on their face. 

But Spangler was not always a hat maker. As the daughter of immigrant parents from Croatia, doing for others was central to growing up in a large family, and being good neighbors meant planting gardens that helped feed other large immigrant families. Back then, making stocking caps was not on her radar—it was something only Santa’s helpers might be busy doing.

Her new adventure began spontaneously in 2020 in her hometown of Homer Township, Illinois, during the pandemic lockdown. Her daughter, Diane Spangler Ramirez, arrived from California for a holiday visit along with a loom. After observing the magic of her daughter making a cap on the loom, Spangler took a keen interest and soon was at the loom herself making her own caps, adding in her own creative design ideas. There was an upside to being cooped up now. A new passion had seized her.

Since then, a cottage industry has grown out of Dolores Spangler’s home. According to Ramirez, a visit back home can now be exhausting as she and her siblings try to keep pace with their mother who along with her new found passion still mows her own lawn with a Cub Cadet riding mower, and manages chores on the home’s 1.5-acre lot. “She was making hats for my seniors that I deliver Meals on Wheels to, to hospital & nursing home patients, even this man in Rhode Island who was a Tuskegee Airman turning 100 yrs. old,” Ramirez said.

What started humbly with one hat per week, grew to two, then three per week through nimble hands and the sheer joy of giving her creations to others. Word got out. Hats were seen about town. Everyone wanted one for themselves, and Spangler was only too happy to fill requests and give them away—as long as she could have a picture taken with each new proud owner. 

As more requests came in, Dolores increased her output to looming a hat per day. With the help of Ramirez, a brand logo was created, and the “DKS creations” (Dolores Katherine Spangler) brand was born.

Today, you can find blue and yellow DKS branded hats in Ukraine along with hundreds of other colorfully designed hats bearing the DKS creations label in the USA, Switzerland, Croatia, England, Poland, Scotland, and most recently New Zealand.

When so many young people are trying to figure life out, Dolores Spangler has found a new way to live life to the full by making a difference in the lives of others. “I feel we need happiness,” she says. “Everyone who gets a hat puts it on and smiles. That’s payment enough for me.”

Making others happy and giving them a reason to smile makes Dolores Spangler a true liberator.

Well Street

I love learning about silver linings borne of the pandemic, and the expression on her face is that of someone living with purpose and delight.

May we all be as fortunate as Dolores.


Miss Dolores is very inspiring for people of all ages, and the love she is spreading is desperately needed in our crazy world. Thank you Miss Dolores for your goodness❣️


Wow. I love Dolores and her inspirational life. I bet she lights up every room she walks into. Go Dolores!!