Dorothy Lorda, affectionately known as Dot to all friends and family, peacefully passed on Dec. 23 at 5:15 p.m. in her home, accompanied by her daughter Judi as they held hands. Dorothy has been living on Orcas Island since 2000. Mother to Judith Lorda Watson.
I am Dorothy’s son-in-law, Robin. A couple of short stories here if I may. Dot loved the folks here on Orcas. She was well known for giving real good quick back rubs to the gals at Island Market as they checked her out. On her ninety-ninth birthday we had a birthday bash at the Lower Tavern. Actually, it was a small bash that lasted three hours. Friends rolled in and out during that time to celebrate and have cake. I took my turn at this and all I heard them talk about is the big party bash the following year for her 100th. Well that was to happen in March and we all know what happened to plans for gatherings and celebrations. She was a good sport about it. She said, “OK, we will have a good bash on my 101st.”
Dot enjoyed a gambling trip with a couple of days and an overnight stay about once a month at the Swinomish Casino. She drove herself to and from there until the virus struck. They also were planning a little birthday party for Dorothy, but that morning they shut the lights off and closed because of the virus. She had previously goten her driver’s license renewed for six more years so she could make that trip and by golly she was going to get her money’s worth out of it.
They were having an all-class reunion at the Auburn California school district back in 2015. Judi and I thought this would be the most wonderful thing if we all flew down there in our aircraft for this festivity. So we loaded this 95-year-old gal in the back seat of our old Beechcraft Bonanza and headed south to California. It’s about a three-and-a-half hour trip non-stop. We didn’t need to beat our brains out getting there in record time, so we made a day of it. After an hour and a half we had a lunch stop scheduled for Albany, Oregon. The flight was smooth as can be until we started our descent into Albany and found a little rough air. It was no biggie, just some gentle motion of the aircraft on the way down. Every time the plane would take a minor bump I could hear Dorothy groan a bit. Another bump, another groan, I said “Hang on, we’ll be on the ground in four minutes.” Another groan … I thought, “Damn, is this old lady going to get sick before we land?” I found out shortly after we landed that she wasn’t sick at all, she was just suffering from the slight discomfort of an overdue potty brake brought on by a little aircraft motion. She said, “Actually I like a little rough air.” I told her, “I think you’re a nut.” The three of us had a wonderful time on that trip and I’m proud of my contributions.
I liked to tell people that I bought her a rubber frying pan so it wouldn’t hurt so bad when she chased me around the yard with it. I loved to make her laugh with my jokes and silliness. Through the years I have not discovered one single mean bone in her body. We all had a good time and I will miss this gentle person. ….RGW