Dorothy Patricia Passard Essery was born on August 23rd, 1926 and passed away on August 24th, 2018 at the age of 92 years and 1 day. Dorothy wrote about the world into which she was born as follows: “Dad worked for Jewel Tea Company and made $21.00 per week. He was grateful for the work. A neighbor who could not find work raised and sold canaries to support his family. Vegetables and fruits arrived in push carts or a wagon pulled by one horse, and ladies gathered up their purchases inside their aprons or a pail to carry back to the house. The iceman cut and delivered your chunk of ice directly into your icebox, no electric-powered refrigerators then. Everyone had a garden and canned as much as they could. Meat was a “sometimes” event in the average family. When I was 7 years old, our home in South Bend had gas lights. A neighbor rigged up the motor in her wringer washing machine to crank ice cream as a special treat. When everyone was full and since there was no way to preserve the leftovers, the ice cream was then fed to the chickens. For fun we played checkers on a homemade board with buttons as the playing pieces.”
Dorothy lived in 26 places including (but not limited to) Bay City, Saginaw, Detroit, Flint, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Escanaba, LaCrosse, Des Moines and Kalamazoo in the first 18 years of her life. Among her favorite memories was her life on a small farm during the mid-1940s where she performed chores to help a friend’s family provide their living from that farm. She enjoyed her other jobs as a telephone operator, hotel cashier, gas station attendant, licensed beautician, florist shop-girl, and school cafeteria worker. Dorothy also did factory work, drove a bakery truck, and had her own sewing business. In later years she put her sewing talent to good use by making souvenir “kitchen crew” hats for youngsters touring the Watchtower properties in New York. Dorothy’s hobbies included reading, drawing, oil painting, and playing the keyboard. Like the capable woman of the Proverbs, she kept busy at home as well. Many friends enjoyed her homemade pies, fresh bread, and sweet rolls.
Dorothy was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1960 and associated with the Vicksburg, South Kalamazoo, Portage, and East Kalamazoo Congregations. When she could no longer perform the door to door ministry because of her health and age, she began to write letters to those who could not be found for a personal visit at their home. Dorothy kept track of the letters she wrote and mailed at her own expense, and at the beginning of 2018 she had written to over 21,000 individuals. She reported field service time in July 2018, the month before she passed. Dorothy loved her neighbors and the many friends she made over the years and she cherished each of them, writing encouraging cards to them and when appropriate enclosing a joke or comical drawing. What a wonderful return of mail and visits she received from her friends while she was ill!
Memorial will be held on Saturday, September 22nd at 2:00 p.m. at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses at 4200 Nazareth Rd in Kalamazoo. Please make memorial donations to Rose Arbor, 5473 Croyden Ave, Kalamazoo, MI, 49009.