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Dorothy Melissa Adams

January 19, 1927 ~ December 21, 2017 (age 90)

Dorothy Melissa Adams passed away on December 21, 2017, at her home in Walnut Creek, California. She was born to Estella Ann and Donald J. Williamson in Torrington, Connecticut, on January 19, 1927, the second of four children.  

In the summer of that year, the Williamsons drove across the country and soon settled in City Terrace, California.  The story was often told of how Dorothy (Dotty), and her brother, Alexander, made the trip in a hammock rigged up in the back of a 1927 Chevrolet touring car.  Once settled in California,  that Chevy was sold  to a family who promptly loaded it up and drove it right back to the East coast.

Dorothy grew up and attended high school in North Hollywood, California.  She attended college at Santa Barbara State College, which would later become the University of California, Santa Barbara.  There, she earned her teaching credential, which served her well later in life.

In Santa Barbara, she met and later married Franklin Dumm.  Dorothy and Frank moved to the San Francisco Bay area and later settled in Walnut Creek, where they raised a family of three children, Melissa Ann, Roger Alexander, and Donald Schenk.

Dorothy taught middle school for many years at Walnut Creek Intermediate.  In the late 1970s, she met and married Charles (Chuck) Adams.  Dorothy and Chuck moved from Walnut Creek to Pacific Grove in the early 90s, and lived there happily until Chuck’s passing in 2013.  Dorothy made her last move back to Walnut Creek in 2017, where, with characteristic vigor, she unpacked a garage full of boxed belongings and arranged her new home.

Dorothy was always extremely active.  She was involved with the League of Women Voters, the March of Dimes, and the PTA at Indian Valley School in Walnut Creek.  She was a volunteer at the Discovery Shop (American Cancer Society) in Pacific Grove for 26 years.  She also served as a docent for the Monterey State Historic Park and volunteered at the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove.  Dorothy was a real student of history, especially the American Civil War period.  She loved to read (no fiction!), and her bookshelves were full of volumes of American history and of the Civil War in particular.  She hosted a book club once a month at her home in Pacific Grove. 

When she wasn’t volunteering, Dorothy was in her garage building Christmas presents or working on art projects.  She loved to build and paint, and the garage was always full of her wood projects and art supplies.  Dorothy also loved and collected antiques, and she spent many happy days with her mother, sisters, nieces, and daughter at antique shows and shops.  Even at 90, no task was too great for “Grandma Dot”.

Most of all, Dorothy loved her family “to pieces”.  Throughout her life she stayed close to her sisters and brother, Sue, Diana, and Al.  Her love of family definitely shaped the lives of her children.  Some of our best memories of growing up are summer vacations spent with our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Family visits were always full of laughter, good food, and fun.  Grandma Dot never forgot a birthday or anniversary, and was always interested in what the grandchildren were doing, especially their progress in school!

Her sister Sue recently said that Dorothy wasn’t just her sister, but her best friend.  Dorothy’s dedication and love, her strength of character, her work ethic and sense of humor were an inspiration to all who knew her. She was so precious, we will miss her so very much.

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