Born in Santa Barbara, CA, to Dr. & Mrs. Warren Austin and she grew up at “Val Verde” designed by architect Bertram Goodhue on 17 acres of gardens designed by Lockwood de Forest. She had goats and bunnies for pets, and would go next door to Ganna Walska’s (now the famed “Lotus Land”) to play in her famous garden. It was a fairy tale beginning. Raised by her nanny, she was enrolled at the Bishop’s School in La Jolla in 7th grade. She graduated Magna Cum Laude at the top of her class: tall, slender, big doe eyes.
She attended “Dominican University” in San Rafael, Ca. and the “Le Cordon Bleu” cooking school in Paris, she was fluent in French. She also attended” Flemish College” where she studied art history and lived with the family of John Flores the director of the university. She traveled extensively all over the world and even went swimming at the North Pole!
Her father started “Canoe Island French Camp” and Dorothy had input on the design of the buildings and landscape there. Dorothy also worked with Laura Sindell on a beautiful mosaic floor in the water tower at the camp. Dorothy saved one of the original cabins that made up the Madrona Point Inn and French Camp in Eastsound, and had it moved to preserve it. She was an ardent activist for nature and started “Archipelago Alliance” in hopes of making islanders aware of how fragile our environment is in these islands. She spent one million dollars of her own money to help educate islanders on environmental issues that effect us all.
She was an avid artist and photographer. She was complex, extraordinarily generous (to a fault), difficult, beautiful, fun, loving, caring, wildly creative, prolific, productive, flamboyant, passionate, curious, avid, demanding at times, spoiled, elegant, independent, observant, and more.
“Dot” had a gypsy wagon built and lived in it on Orcas. For her wedding to Jimi Mudd, the gypsy wagon was pulled by draft horses with them aboard. Daughter Pearl Mudd was born in 1999, and got to travel to many far-flung places like the Galapagos Islands and Tahiti with her adoring mom.
Dorothy has crossed to the other side from breast cancer, that she had been fighting since 2003. A Memorial Celebration is planned for April 17 in Westsound, on Orcas Island.
Donations can be made to an account at Key Bank in Eastsound for Pearl’s university education.
May she rest in peace and know that others, when carrying on the necessary battles to save the environment, think of her and draw strength from her tireless efforts and love of this earth. She is missed so very much!
Condolence cards to Pearl and Jimi Mudd, can be sent to: Sharon Mudd, 114 Michael Lane, Eastsound, WA, 98245 or visit: www.caringbridge.org/visit/dorothyaustin where updates on the memorial celebration will be posted and where you can leave messages and have photos posted.
Submitted by Dorothy Austin’s family.