Dorothy Van Driest Lansberry passed away at home on Oct. 22, less than two weeks before her 85th birthday. She is remembered as a wonderful, generous person who enjoyed hugs, dogs, family and friends.
Dorothy, and identical twin sister Doris, were born in Roundup, Mont., on Nov. 3, 1928, to parents Lena and Frank Van Driest. Both were schooled in Klein, Mont. and later Humboldt, Iowa, after which they attended Montana State University, earning degrees in nursing.
While at MSU, Dorothy met her future husband, Frank A. Lansberry, who helped her get through some troublesome math classes. They were married in February, 1951. Frank earned his degree in Civil Engineering and found work with the US Bureau of Reclamation at the Canyon Ferry Dam. This employment resulted in the family moving from Montana to North Dakota, to Virginia for a stint in Washington, D.C., and finally to the Glen Canyon Dam site at Page. During these years, they were blessed with five children: Connie, Allen, Evie, Barbara and John.
Dorothy worked as a nurse at the new Page Hospital where she spearheaded the effort to procure an incubator for the maternity ward.
In Dorothy’s later years, she moved to Kalispell, Mont., where she found a warm community centered around Sykes Restaurant and General Store. Sykes welcomed locals, especially seniors, with 10-cent coffee, local musicians, and free Thanksgiving dinners for all. Her good friend, Golda, and she were regular customers.
Dorothy eventually moved to Green Valley, Ariz., to be closer to family. There she met Ramona, her part-time caregiver, who became a dear friend. Ultimately, as hearing and sight failed, Dorothy moved in with her daughter Connie in Rio Rico. It was there, in nearby Nogales, that Dorothy met with yet a new group at TOPS, women supporting each other with weight loss. These women were to become especially cherished friends.
Dorothy is survived by her children: Connie Williams of Rio Rico, Evie Lansberry of Santa Monica, Calif., Barbara Gaston of Austin, Texas, John Lansberry of Pleasant Hill, Calif., her grandchildren Mary Lansberry and Luc Gaston, and the little Yorkshire Terrier, Sheba, she called her “God moment.”
A birthday party and celebration of life was held for Dorothy on Oct. 13, in Rio Rico, where her family and friends joined together to wish her peace.
Dorothy didn’t like anyone to be hungry. Donations may be made in Dorothy’s name to the Nogales Community Food Bank, P.O. Box 3201, Nogales, AZ 85628.
Share on Facebook