Dorothy Dessert passed from this life on Jan. 17, 2012, after a brave struggle following heart surgery. She left peacefully while at home in the company of Buffy, her daughter, and Dermott, her son. Dottie died with dignity, grace, and a full faith in God.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 319 W. Wisconsin Ave. in DeLand. The service will be followed by a Committal, where Dottie will join her late husband, Rolly, in the St. Barnabas Memorial Garden.
Dorothy Ann Brophy was born July 13, 1928, in Kansas City, Mo., to Dorothy and William Brophy. The Brophy family moved to New Rochelle, N.Y., in 1930.
Dottie graduated from Ursuline Academy in New Rochelle in 1945.
As a freshman at the College of New Rochelle, she became engaged to Rolland Archibald “Rolly” Dessert, West Point Class of 1946.
She and Rolly were married at Fort Benning, Ga., on Oct. 26, 1946. As the chaplain pronounced them husband and wife, a loud cheer went up from the crowd at a football stadium across the street from the Main Post Chapel. The home team had just scored a touchdown, and the crowd’s cheer proved to be a suitable metaphor for Dottie’s married life with Rolly.
Dottie and Rolly spent the next 55 years together, traveling to various U.S. Army assignments around the world — Georgia, Japan, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Germany and Spain, prior to settling down in Florida.
Along the way, Dottie and Rolly raised six children, who were born in Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Leavenworth, Kan. — all in Army hospitals.
Rolly served in uniform for 21 years, 17 of which were spent in airborne units. Dottie was the dutiful officer’s wife, supporting him and his career with devotion, and a wonderful sense of humor.
While Rolly served two combat tours in Korea and Vietnam, Dottie cheerfully raised the family alone. Reflecting on those 21 years in the Army, Dottie spoke fondly of the people she met, particularly the Japanese and Germans for their strength and resilience in postwar Japan and Germany.
In Germany, during the late 1950s, Dottie and Rolly took the family on Sunday drives in the family’s Ford station wagon, and she used those times as opportunities to teach her children about European history, culture, art, music and architecture. She had a particular affection for the British people, and developed a lifelong love for books and films about the history of the United Kingdom, especially the British Royal Family.
In 1962, Rolly and Dottie moved the family to DeLand, just prior to Rolly’s deployment to Vietnam. Dottie worked at Stetson University, where she put in the first IBM System 38 computer at the School of Business.
Upon retirement from the Army in 1967, Rolly and Dottie chose DeLand as home. Rolly launched a career as a teacher in physics and mathematics at DeLand High School, while Dottie worked for General Electric, in support of NASA, as a program manager for the Apollo moon mission radar-tracking systems.
Dottie and Rolly were faithful and active volunteers at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in DeLand. Her service with the Altar Guild spanned more than 40 years, many as the directress. In 1982, Dottie was the head of the organ committee, which successfully raised more than $80,000 to replace the old organ with a Visser-Rowland Tracker Action organ.
Dottie was preceded in death by her husband, Rolly Sr., her parents, Dorothy and William, and her brother Ross. She is survived by her brother Gerald Brophy of Amherst, Mass., and sister Barbara Krogius of Laguna Niguel, Calif. She is also survived by her children, Rolly Jr. (Karen) of Lansing, Kan., Ross (Terry) of Kirkland, Wash., Claire of Macclenny, Buffy Hunt (Dan) of DeLand, Dottie Smith (Larry) of Winchester, Va., and Dermott of DeLand.
Dottie leaves behind 19 grandchildren, Jennifer, Elizabeth, Ross, Lauren, Christopher, Farrell, Erin, Emily, Brooke, Graham, Patrick, Wendy, Katherine, Matthew, Andrew, Daniel, Joseph, Ruth and Ian; and 28 great-grandchildren, Jonah, Kaelyn, Kinsey, Alena, Corrine, Emma, Stella, Francesca, Peter, Isabella, Eden, Trinati, Avery, Gianna, Isaac, Maria, Dean, Elan, Tavi, Liam, Leo, Graeme, Grace, Harley, Patricia, Moira, Ruby and Evelyn. She was also an aunt and a great-aunt to many nieces and nephews in the Dessert, Brophy and Krogius families around the country.
She was a devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, who will be dearly missed by all who loved her.
Memorial donations may be made to St. Barnabas Episcopal Church Altar Guild or Hospice of West Volusia.