Meet Dorothy: Dutiful Teacher and Mentor


In this month’s Resident Spotlight we sit down for a classroom read aloud with longtime teacher and mentor Dorothy. Community Relations Manager Kate and I reached out to Naomi, a friend of Dorothy’s, to learn more about Dorothy's life story and some of her passions. Read on below to meet Dorothy.


Laying the Groundwork:

Dorothy was born in Iowa where she was the youngest of four siblings. Dorothy’s father was a chef who owned his own restaurant for a time. However when World War Two brought hard times for all, he, like many others from his generation, adapted and had to find work wherever work was available. He ended up having to travel to Alaska where he prepared meals for the men working on the construction of the Alaskan Highway, or the AlCan as it is colloquially known. Dorothy's father demanded much from his four daughters and because of this much of Dorothy’s childhood was spent working at the local Farmer’s Market. She and her sisters enjoyed eating the fruits and vegetables there and from these Dorothy gained a lifelong habit of being very conscientious of what she ate.
Dorothy’s maternal grandmother was a positive influence for Dorothy as she grew. It was her Grandmother who encouraged her to go to Sunday School where she very quickly felt at home with the local congregation.Because of some of her difficult experiences growing up, Dorothy chose to remain unmarried. Reserved but determined, Dorothy worked hard to put herself through college. She studied diligently and got her degree to teach elementary school at Trinity College in Chicago.


Teachers know best:

After graduating, Dorothy began teaching in Wheeling, IL. She taught First Grade in Wheeling for 35 years, becoming a supportive and encouraging mentor for hundreds of children throughout her career. It was through teaching that Dorothy and Naomi met. Naomi recalls that Dorothy took great care to help struggling readers and writers in particular. After retiring, Dorothy continued to have her passion for teaching manifest in other ways beyond the classroom. Naomi notes that at the Heathers “When [Dorothy]  is able to ‘help’ other residents, she is happy and feels that’s part of her ‘job.’”

Life Long Friendships:

During her time as a teacher Dorothy formed life long friendships with Naomi and another teacher from Trinity when they all lived together. Eventually Naomi and the other teacher moved elsewhere to forge their own life path and Dorothy was welcomed into Naomi’s own family holiday traditions and they spend most holidays together. Naomi remembers that “Dorothy had no interest in traveling at first,” but after some coaxing from Naomi,  “Dorothy decided traveling was not bad!” One of their favorite trips that they took together was a girls road trip where they rented a Volkswagon and traveled all over Europe. While there some of their highlights involved venturing into a real salt mine in Germany and crossing the English Channel by ferry. Dorothy and Naomi still meet up to go on errands together today, and the two are always happy to catch up before returning back to the Heathers.


Lots(a) Lhasas:

For additional companionship, Dorothy was very fond of dogs. In particular she loved Lhasa Apsos, a non- sporting breed that Naomi describes as “the little dogs that can look like a dust mop with hair over their eyes.” Her first Lhasa was named Scuffy who is seen in the accompanying photo with a delighted Dorothy. Over the course of her life she has had seven different Lhasa Apsos, including once owning a mother and her litter of puppies. It was her love of these dogs that inspired her to try for home ownership as she wanted her dogs to have their own backyard. She doted on her dogs and indulged them on many long walks through her neighborhood as well as hand-making their meals for them so they could enjoy long, healthy lifespans.



Dorothy’s faith has played an important role in her life ever since her grandmother first encouraged her to go to Sunday School at age six. Her local congregation was small but kind and welcoming to Dorothy and her sisters. She continued practicing her faith in Jesus throughout her life. She served with the Mount Prospect Bible Church group, where she participated in many activities including helping as an AWANA volunteer and helping care for the infants and toddlers in the nursery. She enjoyed reading the Bible and texts about the Bible both by herself and in study groups at church. She frequently also donated to charities to help those around her. Naomi describes that for Dorothy  she viewed her personal relationship with Jesus a lifelong gift and friendship with God.”

Fast Facts and Favorites:

Favorite Foods:  Dorothy  prefers to eat at home most of the time where she can ensure she is eating healthy and she knows exactly what she is getting. However, she does love to indulge into a well crafted dessert from time to time.

Favorite Cars:

Dorothy drove a yellow Volkswagen that she maintained and cared for for many years. When she was still driving she always had a good sense of direction and knew many local shortcuts around her home and to other places she frequently visited.


Dorothy loved to sew “at first since it was cheaper, but later, just for the fun challenge.” She took several different sewing classes and later created several custom clothes designs. Her specialty was quilts, and several of her beautiful works can be seen around the Heathers where she still uses them today.

Resale Shops:

Dorothy is always up for a good resale shop bargain hunt. Naomi recalls that Dorothy always delights in her unique finds that other women no longer need.



Dorothy was very committed to exercise with video tapes or walking miles daily with her dogs.

We’d like to thank Dorothy and Naomi for their time and we hope you enjoyed this verse in our Heather’s Spotlight.

july 24- dorothy

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