Apr 24, 1929 – Mar 11, 2018
April 24, 1929, Hazel and Clifford Braithwaite welcomed Dorothy Mae into the world!
She spent her early years with her brothers George, Jim, Tom and Johnny and her sister Eva on the banks of the Red Deer River; endless hours spent skating in the winter, waiting to hear the booming of the ice in spring breakup and swimming in the summer.
Walking three and a half miles, rides in the democrat or on horse- back (her least favorite mode of transportation) took her to Shady Nook School, where she attended until Grade 9, then to Red Deer followed by Olds College.
From the age of sixteen Mom worked at a number of jobs, including hospital ward aid, retail clerk and management. While working on Frank and Eva’s farm, among the many tasks; the highlight was looking after her nieces and nephews. Dave, Bev, Clifford and Val have fond memories of her and she was tagged their “favorite aunt”.
On July 2, 1955 she married Merrill Johnson of the Pine Lake area and together they bought a house in North Red Deer. 1959 brought a big change when the couple were asked to look after a little girl. Entered Sharon Coleen Nimo. After a few years Sharon was officially adopted and Sharon Johnson became a permanent member of their family.
1963, the three moved to Sylvan Lake, where Dorothy embarked on her families new venture with the purchase of the Uptown Cafe and Theatre. Busy times; and to add to the excitement, Rhonda Hazel was born Nov 3, 1964. A welcome addition to round out their family of 4.
The theatre and cafe produced a lot of exciting memories; from feeding the infamous “Hells Angels” gang to hectic Saturdays working the matinee and evening shows. It was hard work which almost all family members spent time at. Mom’s philosophy….”hard work never hurt anyone”….was proven!
Always an avid seamstress, Dorothy’s talents in this area became invaluable as she constructed many outfits, Christmas gifts, and always came through with outstanding Halloween costumes (even with only hours notice).
While money was in short supply; there was never a shortage of good times from family wiener roasts, teaching us girls how to old time dance between main course and dessert, to ice cream on the beach. Mom made sure that there was lots of quality family time spent with cousins, aunts, uncles and friends.
1990 Dorothy married Richard Kenny and relocated to Lougheed Ab. Following Dick’s death, she returned to Red Deer where she resided until her passing.
Dorothy enjoyed sewing, gardening, birdwatching and being a handy woman. Not much she couldn’t do; from changing an end on an extension cord to building cupboards. She often stated that her favorite gift from her girls was a skill saw!
Being raised by a politically active mother; Hazel Braithwaite, mom continued the tradition and kept a sharp eye on all levels of government. She could keep up with the best in a lively political discussion or any current event.
She impressed the value of a dollar on both her girls and often said that “poverty built character”. A lesson that proved valuable over the years. Although Rhonda and I both stated at times that we felt we had enough ‘character’!.
Dorothy’s grandchildren Terra and John brought her great joy and the many visits throughout the years made “Grandma J” a very important and influential person in their lives. In later years the arrival of her four great grand-children: Charity, Kash, Rene and Jesse put the finishing touches to her family. She loved them all dearly and was always excited to hear of the latest antics.
She always had a soft spot for nature and all animals and her longtime companion Pavarroti held a special place in her heart, she would always have a story about the old cat that is now 21!
Mom passed away peacefully on Mar 11 with her daughters at her side. This has left a large void in her loving family; she will be missed and all the memories will be cherished.
She is survived by her daughters Sharon (Ben) Butt and Rhonda Johnson, sister Eva Morris, brother John Braithwaite, sister in laws Edith Braithwaite and Faye Braithwaite, grandchildren John (Leah) Butt, Terra Rader and her Great Grandchildren: Charity, Kash, Rene and Jesse as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
A ‘Dot’ Life Celebration will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donation can be made to: The Lending Cupboard, Red Deer or Medicine River Wildlife Centre.
Condolences may be forwarded to the family by visiting www.eventidefuneralchapels.com.
Arrangements entrusted to 4820 45st Red Deer, Alberta
Eventide Funeral Home & Crematorium