Dorothy ‘Dottie’ Christman Moore
6/11/1948 – 10/22/2023
Once upon a time there was a skinny little blonde girl from Mississippi with the sweetest smile and the prettiest blue eyes. Dottie grew up in New Holland (Gainesville), GA and later in West Caldwell, New Jersey. There, she was close to the big city, and loved everything NY, from the newspapers, which she read religiously, to her beloved Yankees. She was devastated when her family moved back to Georgia, but she soon adapted to a different lifestyle in Atlanta. She went to boarding school at St. Catherine’s in Virginia and made several lifelong friends. There are numerous stories about her practical jokes at St. Catherine’s – like putting Saran wrap on the house Mother’s toilet seat, setting alarm clocks in the other girls’ rooms for all hours of the night, several cafeteria pranks, and many others. In 1965 she was invited to spend the summer with one of her West Caldwell friends’ families in Egypt. She had so many stories from that experience that when her nephew Ben asked her for details, she wrote him a book – “Memories of Egypt”.
After HS, Dottie graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in French Literature, which she often told people did her zero good in finding a job. Her language skills, musical talents and interests were varied, and she was never afraid to try new things. She played the piano, guitar and banjo, on which she accompanied her sister and cousin when they performed as a singing group - mostly at local hotels for as much Blue Nun wine as they could drink. Later, when she finally got serious about working, she joined Western Electric and became an auditor in a male dominated profession. Her travel stories from that time included mishaps surrounding her dog Toto and her cat Kitty. After Divestiture, Dottie moved to Florida where she worked for American Bell, AT&T and eventually Lucent Technologies where she met her future husband, Jim Moore.
Dottie’s friends and family were always amazed with her ability to recall so many stunningly detailed stories. Those entertaining stories consisted of her outrageous misadventures with hilarious twists, as well as some hard-fought life lessons learned. She posted many of these on FB, “shish-ka-poop”, “screw stew”, and “taping ants to the wall”, just to name a few. If you get an opportunity, go to Dottie’s FB page and read some of her old posts, it’s a delightful way to reacquaint yourself with her. And speaking of names, Dottie named everything she owned or had around the house; cars, statues, dog toys, her wheelchair, even Q-tips (those were “bug getter-outers”) used for fishing bugs out of her wine glass. She also had nicknames for anyone close to her – in HS her friends were Chef, Jolly & Skindy. Her sister was Pohey, her best friend was Ethel, and she was Lucy, I was always Sweetie. All of these and many more, had delightful stories behind them. She also had a habit of saying one word when she meant to say another, I believe that’s called a malapropism. Some of those words were definitely not PC. Like the time she told someone “Hi, I’m so glad you’re black”, instead of ‘back’. However, no one ever got mad at her for these Faux Pas. In fact, it was part of her charm, and everyone loved her – everyone!
When she was younger, people often mistook her for Barbara Streisand, and she even won 1st place in a lookalike contest. Dottie always put herself out there and as mentioned, she was never afraid to try new things. Like building a house in a part of Orlando, which at the time was in the middle of nowhere. No neighbors, just she and her dog Toto. A few years later she decided to sign up to run a Marathon with the 1st Track Shack group. The seasoned runners just shook their heads at these Long-Distance runner wanna-be’s. But Dottie and her new friends prevailed, and she ended up running 3 Marathons, including the very 1st Disney Marathon. Her running partner for those races ended up becoming her best friend, Sharon. whose daughters grew up knowing her as Aunt Dottie.
Dottie and her pets had always lived alone, but she made the male roommate adjustment after we became a couple. She often said that she’d dated a lot of losers before she met me, so I guess we both came out on the plus side with that arrangement. However, what really tested her isolationism a few years later, was when my teenage son, Neal, came to live with us. That transition was very difficult for her, and she often referred to herself as his ‘Step Monster’. The 1st week he was with us, he fell off his skateboard and broke his arm. Dottie’s response – ‘Send him back, he’s broken’. Her humor was always in evidence, and it was one of the things that endeared her to everyone.
Before Dottie became wheelchair bound, she loved to travel. She planned spectacular trips for us here and abroad. We traveled the Pacific Coast highway and spent a week touring cities along the way and in the Napa/Sonoma wine country, Seattle was another favorite destination as was a train/cruise vacation in Alaska where she took a helicopter ride and walked on a glacier. Another great trip was with her company when we went to Phoenix and Sedona. While there, she even piloted a glider with an instructor. On the east coast we enjoyed time in NY City, Philadelphia, lower slower Delaware with my parents, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, St. Augustine, and of course all-around Atlanta. Our foreign travels took us to Ottawa, London, France, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Australia (including the Great Barrier Reef). When we were in St. Maarten we visited a jewelry store where the proprietor showed us an exquisite diamond ring. We went next door to a local establishment and decided over a couple of Heinekens to buy that engagement ring and get married. 28 years later, we never regretted that decision. The last trip she took was on the Royal Scotsman, an Orient Express Train which started in Edinburg and toured the entire country from Loch Ness to several ancient castles to Scotch distilleries, and finally to the Queen’s Royal Yacht. One of the ways she liked to remember each trip we took was to purchase a piece of local artwork. She used these to decorate the house with a very eclectic mix of paintings, sculptures, and other memorabilia. All these disparate pieces somehow fit the personality of our house quite nicely.
Dottie loved Nature and animals, especially dogs and birds. When Toto passed away, she took me to an animal shelter where we selected a shy rescue dog named Ginger. We have had several other dogs since then, but Ginger and Dottie were inseparable. They joined a local church group called ‘Canine Crusaders’ and trained together to learn how to visit and interact with seniors in Nursing Homes. Her other passion was birds, she had more books about birds than we had room for on the bookshelves. When we were in Australia at a rainforest sanctuary, a one-legged Lorikeet landed on her shoulder, kissed her cheek and said ‘Hello’ in her ear. She really wanted to bring him home, but then she also wanted to bring home a wallaby. Back home, sans foreign wildlife, she read that if you put an Owl box up high in a tree away from the streetlights, that eventually, Owls would nest in it. After some time had gone by without any takers, she got really excited one day when she finally noticed some activity around this perfectly placed nesting box. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a colony of Africanized bees – oops! Undeterred by that little miscalculation she always had bird feeders around the outside of the house that attracted all kinds of songbirds. In fact, one of the few joys she had in her life the last couple of years was watching all the different types of birds on the feeder outside her window in the library where she spent her days.
Dottie had such a good heart and was so very giving that it is hard to keep track of all whose lives she touched. Many of whom never met her in person. The ones that did knew her as Dotsey, Bubba, Buh, Aunt Dottie, Dotz, Mrs. Dottie, and Dorothy. As an example of something so very Dottie – she had a FB friend who also had MS that passed away 2 months ago. Yesterday, an email came in confirming Dottie’s gift of a tree she had planted in Dawn’s memory. That thoughtfulness is one of the many ways that I will remember her. For others, over the past month and since her death, literally hundreds of tributes and remembrances have come in thru texts, FB, email, and regular mail. One of those messages epitomized the sentiments of many.
“Dottie was a gift to meet. Bet she touched the heart of each and every person she encountered. She connected with anyone she came across. We were just construction workers, but she made us feel like family. Wish I could treat people like Mrs. Dottie did, but that would be an impossibly tall order to fill. She had an impeccable heart with this innate ability to inhabit the hearts of others. I have measured other customers to Dottie and while some have a few of her characteristics none were near as lovable as she. The world is at a loss for those who knew her and for those who never got a chance to meet her. Truly one of a kind. I could never take her place, but I am just gonna be a little bit nicer to those I come across to try 'n make up for those who never had the chance to feel the love that emanated from her immaculate heart.”
Dottie fought through the pain and indignities of MS & CLL for so many years that when she finally gave herself permission to let go, she went peacefully, and gently faded away with her last breath. On the 1st of every month, I will always remember her by saying ‘Rabbit, Rabbit”. Rest in Peace my love, your struggles are over. 3/8…2/4.
There will eventually be a Celebration of Life for Dottie, but in the meantime if you feel so inclined, a donation can be made in Dottie’s name to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The website is www.nationalMSsociety.org with a ‘donate’ button in the top right corner. It should ask you if this is in memory of someone special – you can write Dottie’s name and it will track the donations that come in for her. You can also mail a check to the National MS Society PO Box 289, Canton, MA 02021 and include ‘in memory of Dottie Moore’. For questions or to donate by phone, call 1-800-344-4867.