This week's challenge was to write about an ancestor who lived to be 100 years old or older. I had already written about my great-grandmother, Ingrid Olauson, so decided that I would write about my aunt.
My Aunt Dorothy died last year, just one month away from turning 101 years old!
Dorothy Nye Adamson was born on the 1st of July in 1913 in Olney, Illinois.Her brother, Gray, was almost two years older than Dorothy. Sometime between 1913 and 1915 the family moved to East St. Louis, Illinois and when Dorothy was two years old, another brother, Bill, was born.
By 1920, the family had moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, which is where Dorothy’s mother, Nye, had been born and raised. Her father and step-mother lived there. In November of 1923, Dorothy’s father was transferred to Peoria, Illinois. In Peoria Dorothy attended Lee Grade School and graduated from there in 1926. She then went to Manual Training High School (also in Peoria) where she was active in the Blue Triangle Club, French Club, and she served on the Student Council. She was on the Honor Roll most of the time. After graduating from high school in 1930, Dorothy attended Bradley Polytechnic Institute in Peoria, Illinois. She joined the Sigma Chi Gamma sorority.
In 1927, Dorothy’s youngest brother, Dick (my father), was born! She often told the story of how she would drop him off at kindergarten on her way to college!
Upon graduating from Bradley, Dorothy worked as the assistant registrar for Bradley until 1943. In 1943, she went to work as the Assistant Peoria County Superintendent of Schools.
Dorothy remained living at home with her parents. Her mother died in 1950 and Dorothy continued to live with her father. I was born right before then and we lived just a few houses away from my Grandpa and Aunt Dorothy. I spent lots of time with them while I was growing up. Aunt Dorothy was an avid reader and worked with me all the time, until I was able to read at about age five. I remember several years of her working with me to participate in the local Spelling Bee and her amazement when she discovered me reading some of her Chaucer books when I was quite young. I loved her library of books!
Dorothy received a Master’s degree from Bradley in 1951.
Dorothy was quite active in the community, belonging to numerous groups around town. She also taught Sunday school at her church.
In 1959, Dorothy’s brother Gray was elected as Peoria County Superintendent of Schools, so Dorothy was then working for him.
In 1962 Dorothy’s father died, and in 1963 Dorothy retired and she married for the first time, at age forty-nine. She married Dr. Jim Sours, their family doctor. They were married eleven years until 1974 when Jim died. They took several overseas trips and Dorothy had wonderful memories of their years together. Dorothy was sixty-one years old when Jim died.
Dorothy remained in her home for a few years, then moved to a small apartment. In 1990, she moved to a retirement home. She was seventy-seven years old then. She had her car and was still quite active, both at the home and in the community and her church.
In 1997, Dorothy’s older brother, Gray, died; then in 2000, her brother, Bill, died. Both of these brothers had lived out of town for years, but Dorothy and her brother Dick had remained in Peoria, so she and Dick were quite close.
Dorothy celebrated her 100th birthday in 2013. Family came from the East and West coasts to help her celebrate. Other than being hard of hearing, Dorothy’s health had always remained excellent! However, after her 100th birthday, Dorothy fell and broke her hip. She recovered from that, although she wasn’t able to walk after that.
Sadly, Dorothy’s youngest brother Dick died late in 2013 and she began to have a decline in health after that. She had always said that she needed to be around to take care of her baby brother (who was eighty-six when he died). Dorothy died on the 31st of May in 2014, one month short of one hundred and one years old!
My Aunt Dorothy was an amazing, strong woman. She never had children, but was always involved in her nieces and nephews lives. She was well-educated, with a responsible job that was not the typical “woman’s” career back then. She was a loving, caring woman who believed in living a good Christian life. She certainly lived through many changes throughout her life!