Dorothy Wendel Foley


Dorothy Foley


Dorothy Wendel Foley celebrated her 87th birthday and peacefully entered into eternal life on Saturday, 20 October 2012, in her home at Kirkland Lodge, Kirkland, WA.


The second-born to Clarence “Hap” and Victoria (Jartz) Wendel, Dorothy attended Sacred Heart Elementary and was a National Honor Society member at Marinette High School in Marinette, WI, then matriculated into Carroll College in Waukesha, WI.  She subsequently transferred to University of Wisconsin – Madison, from which she graduated with bachelors of arts degrees in Speech and in French.  She studied voice and had a passion for opera.


Dorothy, with her good friend Betty (Obey) Welborn, began her career in Marinette at WMAM 570AM as copy chief.  Following the death of her mother and with encouragement of family – and special encouragement from her dear Aunt Mary – she and Betty moved to Chicago where she worked as a senior staff writer for American Broadcasting Company and wrote copy for teenage and adult radio shows, fine arts, and interviewed national and international celebrities, such as Raymond Burr.  There, she met another lifelong friend, Shulamite (Meta) Joseph Toerber.  Together, they would alternate performing operatic arias for unsuspecting cab drivers in the Loop.


Fulfilling a desire to travel, Dorothy joined Pan American World Airways as a stewardess, based in New York.  While in their employ, she “walked the Atlantic in heels” more than 100 times, delivering white linen service to passengers and meeting such notables as Prince Aly Khan.


Dorothy then landed at Shell Oil Company as Executive Travel Director, “Carol Lane,” during which time she was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist penning “Tips on Travel.” When arriving at one of her many speaking engagements she met her husband-to-be, Robert Stephan Foley, a Shell Oil sales representative, in Birmingham, AL.  In possession of more than 50 hats at that time, Bob’s first remark when seeing her disembark from the plane was:  “Who’s the woman in the hat?!”  Following a brief long-distance courtship, they married on 8 June, 1957 and made their home in Birmingham.  There, she encountered another life-long friend, Alison Crowe and worked as a news staffer at the Birmingham News.


Subsequent moves took them to Mobile, AL; Oklahoma City, OK; Tulsa, OK.  In each locale, Dorothy put her writing and promotional talents to work at advertising agencies such as Young & Rubicam and McCann-Erickson, the YWCA, Leather Industries of America; joined the American Association of University Women; and pursued post-graduate study.  The family would vacation in Marinette during the summer, where Rita (Dura) Angwall became an honorary family member.  In 1970, Dorothy and family returned to Marinette, where she worked as a news reporter and feature writer for the Marinette Eagle-Star from 1970-1976.  Her writing was featured prominently in the paper’s centennial edition.  While there, she was active in fundraising for local charities, Friday night fish fries, and served on the board of directors of the Salvation Army.  She cherished spending time with her sister Patricia and her family.


She and Bob eventually moved to Florida where she embarked on a successful career as a technical writer/editor in the aerospace industry.  Following Bob’s death in 1986, she transferred with Martin Marietta from Orlando, FL to Oak Ridge, TN, as a technical publications analyst – a position from which she retired in 1994.


Dorothy settled into the Seattle area and was active with the Bellevue Public Library, the Seattle Symphony, and Pacific Northwest Ballet.  Thanks to her dear friend, Mary Lewis, she joined the Seattle Opera Guild and served on the board of directors, as well as publishing and editing their newsletter, L’Aria.


We will miss her joie de vivre, her sense of humor, her fashion flair, her love and caring, her courage, adventuresome spirit, and adventurous palate.  She related to people of all ages who found in her a ready listener and a loyal friend.  Dorothy was kind and generous with family and friends.  She was – in many ways – a woman ahead of her time.


She is survived by daughter Dominique (Randall) Wilson and two grand-dogs, Mini & Z of Albuquerque, NM; daughter Shauna (Thomas) Saffle and three “grands,” Dillon, Maxwell, and Cameron of Sammamish, WA; beloved sister Patricia Scoggins of Marinette; wonderful cousins Mary Kay Selsor, Joan Lauerman, Jayne Drys of Marinette, Dennis Wendel of Papua New Guinea; nieces Katie Butman, Maggie Finnessy-Cook, Sarah Kaatz, Laura Fitzgerald, Mary Mathison; nephews Chuck Finnessy, Ted Finnessy, Tom Finnessy, John Finnessy.


Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband Bob; her parents; brothers TSgt Robert Wendel and Harold Wendel; Aunt and Uncle Mary and Reuben Wendel; Uncle Ward Wendel.


The family thanks the caring staff of Kirkland Lodge and caregivers of Evergreen Hospice, as well as a multitude of family and friends who continue to provide love and support.The family will mourn privately and hold a celebration of Dorothy’s life in Marinette during the summer of 2013.  The Dorothy Wendel Foley Memorial Scholarship has been established through the Marinette Catholic Central Foundation. The family requests that any expression of sympathy and kindness be directed to the scholarship fund that has been established in her honor:  Marinette Catholic Central Foundation, P.O. Box 762, Marinette, WI 54143.

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