Final Four: I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman

In the fall of 2015, we received the nominations for I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman. We selected them in October, and last winter, Tracey McGuire, Dawn Sanborn and I took each of them to lunch at Casablanca Creative Cuisine & Wine to get to know them. Over the Past year, it has been a joy getting to know these women and helping them see their beauty. The final four—Dee Dee Jorgenson, Judy Clayton, Janet Stevenson and Barb Butturff—are featured in the following pages of Rochester Women magazine.


According to Judy Clayton, 75, the day she got her hair styled and makeup done for I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman was one of the best days of her life. This comment made me realize what an impact the I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman program has on women. These four women have forgone taking care of themselves to take care of others for most of their lives. For one of the women, it was her first makeover and opportunity to have a photographer capture her beauty. After getting all dressed up, having their hair cut, colored and styled and getting their makeup done and their pictures taken, these beautiful Rochester women went out for a toast at Casablanca with the photographers and their new friends. These women have waited a long time to feel beautiful. 

We appreciate the generosity of our sponsors for their gifts, time and talents. With their help we were able to recognize nine I Am Beautiful Rochester Women in 2016. 

To give more women the opportunity to feel beautiful, the I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman program will be different in 2017. On Mondays throughout October and at the Rochester Women’s Fall Expo, we offered mini-makeovers by BB Makeup, photos by Dawn Sanborn Photography and Tracey McGuire Photography and the opportunity to be featured in RochesterWomen magazine. We will also be doing some Random Acts of Kindness makeovers in 2017. If you would like to help Rochester area women feel beautiful, please contact Jorrie Johnson at 507-259-6362 or


I nominate Dee Dee Jorgenson for I Am A BeautifulRochester Woman. You see, she’s my mom, and she already is beautiful. She doesn’t think so, though.

She’ll tell you that she’s not beautiful because she has crappy hair. Or that she has a lot of wrinkles. I see that she’s beautiful because she’s supported and loved her husband through 55 years of marriage. She never once refused to babysit our two kids when they were little. And she continues to spoil them way too much. She has an amazing circle of friends and neighbors whom she cherishes and makes a point to nurture those relationships. 

She’s beautiful because she’s helped me cope with my husband’s suicide. She stops over whenever she’s “in the neighborhood,” just to remind me that she loves me. She has always supported whatever stupid decisions I’ve made, especially in my adult life. 

And she’s totally beautiful because she is fighting now with this disease called cancer. She was diagnosed January 28, 2015 with lung cancer and has beautifully endured tests, scans, chemotherapy and radiation. She is among those waiting for the next doctor appointment, waiting beautifully. I’d love for her to see what a beautiful woman she is to me. –Sue Lee

“The whole time was thoroughly enjoyable. I felt really silly during the makeup part, only because I never had that done before. Your photographers are awesome. Our gathering after the photo shoot was interesting and gave us a chance to get more acquainted with others.  Thanks to you and your staff for a truly memorable day,” Dee Dee says about the experience. 

Dee Dee’s hair and makeup were done by Kat Kouba at Hair Studio 52 & Day Spa. Her dress was borrowed from Mestad’s Bridal and Formalwear. Dee Dee’s photos were taken by Dawn Sanborn Photography.


My husband David greets me every morning with these words, “Hello Beautiful!” What a treasure and a joy! On October 20, (2016), I will be 74 years old; hard to believe as I write that, but I have outlived my parents and two siblings.

I look back on the advanced educational degrees I earned and 27-year career in education, from Head Start level to adult education. I know I have been given this special gift of the love of learning. It has been a beautiful path to have helped other adult learners achieve their goals of GED completion, learning the English language and improving basic skills. Each adult learner, as they accomplished their goals, was filled with pride, sparkle and beauty.

From May 2016 to the present, I have dealt with a myriad of health issues, including kidney failure, a fourth eye surgery, two broken ribs after a fall in our kitchen, neuropathic head pain and muscle weakness that limited movement. With the love of David, my husband of 11 years, I have overcome these challenges, and now I feel like a new person—a beautiful woman. RochesterWomen magazine and all their treats certainly helped. 

We love our lives, cherish our children and grandchildren in our blended family and always try to keep our Christian faith alive in all we do.

 “Vanessa at Rocco Altobelli treated me like a beautiful woman with every clip of her scissors and every brush stroke her fingers made as she applied just the right makeup for me,” says Judy. Her photos were taken by Tracey McGuire Photography.


I am 68 years old, retired and leading a very busy life. I don’t often take time out for myself and the things I’d really like to do…just for me. 

I create and sell handmade greeting cards and sell them in three beauty salons. One hundred percent of the sale of these cards is donated to Mayo Clinic MS Research as one of our daughters has MS.

I play with a great group in the Rochester Area Accordion Band at many events, senior living homes, Olmsted County Fair, Festival of Trees, Thursdays on First, etc. I originated and coordinate a regular luncheon group of retired women and former co-workers so that we can maintain relationships. I am part of the event committee for our IBM alumni club and help coordinate various activities. I also initiated and coordinate a regular women’s card club to keep us retired friends active and am on the board of directors for our town home association. 

In the last couple of years, we sold one home, remodeled a townhome, moved and sold our lake home, among other activities. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to take a bit of time out to pamper myself.” 

“As women often feel, undeserving of such pampering and special treatment or even a day just for ourselves, I wouldn’t have traded this experience. I met three delightful women, along with you, Dawn and Tracey. Thanks to Beth Tabako, hair stylist/color and specialist/waxing, and Owner Nickole Miller of Salon Chic, and Jenny Lek, owner of RC Nails,” Janet says gratefully. Tracey McGuire Photography took Janet’s photos.


In my business I meet lots of people. I hope that with each one, not only do I make a positive change in their lives, but can add them to my list of friends. Over a decade ago, Barbara Butturff started out as a client. She never felt like a client; she always felt like an old friend and confidant. 

I’d like to tell you about my dearest friend Barb. She’s probably the hardest working woman I’ve ever met. She’s always been a small business owner, a front for giving back to the world. Her heart is 10 times too big, which leaves her exhausted emotionally for all she gives away. It’s painful for her to accept help or even share in any grief she may be struggling with. In those rare moments she allows herself to be vulnerable and weak in your presence, she apologizes profusely for burdening you with her troubles. It’s a blessing in knowing you are to be so trusted with her sorrows.

Barb has raised a family, built and worked several businesses, inside and outside of her home. She recently buried her husband. For the first time in her life, she’s not being run by businesses, family, a husband or all those things that distract us from finding out who we are and being vulnerable in the world as a woman. Barb has emptied her home, dispersed the vast majority of possessions that were once the environment to those she cared for, moved to another city and allowed herself to bring a new companion into her world. To make her outside as beautiful as her insides would fill that spot in her soul.  

–Lizzi Clobes

Barb’s hair was done by Sara Holzer and makeup was done by Kat Kouba at Hair Studio 52. Dawn Sanborn Photography took her photos.

Editor’s note: I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman nomination letters were lightly edited.


The four I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman participants were invited to their photography “reveal party” at Post Town Winery on the first Sunday in October. As with our previous reveal parties, the women were allowed to invite up to 10 guests. Well, that wasn’t enough for Dee Dee Jorgenson. She invited about 15 of her closest friends. In addition to Janet’s, Judy’s and Barb’s guests, we probably had 50 or more friends and family members of these I Am A BeautifulRochester Woman participants gathered together. I could hardly pour wine fast enough while serving the guests of the winery that day!

The nomination letters for Janet, Judy, Barb and Dee Dee were read aloud to the crowd. There were tears and laughter. Each of them received an arrangement of rustic colored flowers from Le Jardin European Style Floral. They took photos of themselves with their family and friends and some of all of us together.  

From these women, I learned that gratitude is the greatest gift of maturity. They were so appreciative of the opportunity to be featured in I Am A Be. They made me realize that life only gets better and maybe the best days are yet to come.

 “This is a wonderful thing you are doing for women, thank you!” says Lizzi.