Dorothy Brewster lived a life of quiet strength, caring and dignity. She was preceded in death by husband Donald, her siblings, a niece and a great-granddaughter. Mother of Ronald (Esther), Richard (Sally), Kathryn (Donald), Van (Peggy) and Greg (Heidi). Grandmother of Shawn, Curt, Connie, Laura, Todd, Scott, Kevin, Leslie, Carrie, Brian, Eric, Doug and Colin and great-grandmother of 20.
Born April 17, 1916, Dorothy died Jan. 19, 2016, not long after she enjoyed seeing in the New Year of 2016 while watching the Rose Parade telecast, always a favorite!
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She was born in Shell Lake, Wisc., and came to Colorado with her parents, Arthur and Nettie Whitford, before 1920. One of her fondest memories was living in Walden in the summertime while her father worked in the hay meadows of North Park ranches after they first arrived. A slightly earlier memory, but not so fond, was that the mode of transportation at that time from Greeley to Walden was a horse-drawn freighter. Dorothy was sometimes teased by family of moving west in a covered wagon! Her parents then settled in Fort Collins on Stover Street. Dorothy was the oldest of six, with four siblings surviving to adulthood.
It is difficult to grasp what Dorothy witnessed in nearly 100 years. Considering the events of a century of life can help explain her strength. There were two world wars, the influenza epidemic and diseases — scarlet fever, measles, mumps and others — without the benefit of treatment from antibiotics or immunizations. The depression of the 1930s and rationing during WWII had a profound effect that lead her to a lifetime of resourcefulness and self-sufficiency.
In Dorothy’s childhood, we know of roller-skating to school and for fun. The trolley system carried her longer distances around and through town to City Park. School, music and art were enjoyed. She won awards for Palmer Penmanship and a precious silver thimble for sewing in school. She enjoyed playing piano, organ, accordion and violin. (At that time people had to provide their own entertainment!) Her artistic ability continued with a fondness for sketching.
Dorothy graduated from Fort Collins High School in 1934. She worked downtown for F.W. Woolworth prior to marrying Don on June 28, 1937. A married woman could not work for the store in those days so she and Don began a life of building a farm and ranch in the Pleasant Valley of Bellvue.
Their initial home was the site of a former homestead complete with an 1880s log cabin. The cabin was planned as a temporary home until a modern house was built. WWII intervened and the new home was finally completed in 1949. Dorothy and Don brought three children home to the log house and their two youngest children arrived later. They also added land to the ranching operations through the years, completing it to its present size in 1957.
Farm and ranch life and the times offered its share of struggle and trial. There were tragic flash floods, severe blizzards and the High Park Fire of 2012. Two of Dorothy’s brothers served in WWII in the European theater; one survived the air assaults over Germany while another was severely wounded in Italy.
The family persisted and Dorothy preferred being outside gardening or working alongside Don and children. There are stories of haying, caring for cattle and all of the various farm and wild animals on the land. Her care for farm animals or distressed wildlife was exceptional. One can remember many calving season mornings of Dorothy seemingly bringing a frozen baby calf back to life by care and willpower. There were also chickens, cats, dogs and horses. (She loved to see horses, not so much to ride them!) While she did not prefer domestic chores, Dorothy could make hearty meals appear three times a day of beef, venison, pork and wonderful fried chicken. There were many pies and cookies of all kinds of canned or frozen farm produce.
Dorothy cared for and taught her children well. She was very involved in their schoolwork and tutored with great determination when necessary. She particularly enjoyed school music programs. Dorothy was fortunate to often receive visits from so many of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved them all! All of her children adopted her caring for others, animals or people, in their chosen professions. They are farmers and ranchers, a veterinarian, a nurse and a manager/teacher.
After trips to Fort Collins and returning home, as she topped Bingham Hill, Dorothy many times exclaimed “How green is my valley!” in appreciation and wonder. She loved her dear Pleasant Valley.
As a memoriam, please consider Dorothy’s love for children and everyone: Foothills Gateway, Inc. or Children’s Hospital. A funeral service was held on Jan. 22, 2016 at the Drake Road Christian Church with Pastor Charlie Patchen officiating. Burial was in Grandview Cemetery.