Dorothy Zehnder is quite the woman to say the least. She continues to work at the restaurant she co-owns and founded, with no plans to retire. That may not seem all that impressive, but did we mention she's 98?

Now, the matriarch of the Bavarian Inn’s Zehnder family is getting a much deserved honor. Zehnder, has been named a 2020 inductee into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

Dorothy and her late husband William “Tiny” Zehnder, started building their business focused on old world hospitality in the early 50's. Now the empire not only includes the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, but also the  Castle Shops, Covered Bridge Gift Shop, Frankenmuth River Place Shops, Frankenmuth Gift Shops Inc., Bavarian Inn Lodge and a specialty line of food products.

Photo: Bavarian Inn Press
Photo: Bavarian Inn Press

Throughout the years, the family tradition has continued on. Zehnder and her late husband ave 3 children,10 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. Currently there are nine family members involved in leadership roles in various business operations. “Our entire family is thrilled for Dorothy to be honored this way,” said daughter Judy Zehnder Keller. “As our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother she means so much to our family, to the entire Frankenmuth community and to everyone throughout the state of Michigan. It is a well-deserved recognition.”

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The Women’s Hall of Fame, founded in 1983, is located in downtown Lansing and includes 333 inductees. Zehnder will be inducted along with five other new nominees,  at a ceremony on October 15th in Lansing. The Women's Hall of Fame is managed through Michigan Women Forward (MWF), an organization founded in 1986 to encourage women to play an active role in philanthropy and governance.


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