Dorothy Ann Butcavage Sullivan


Dorothy Ann Butcavage Sullivan was born in Kingston, Pennsylvania March 1, 1928 and passed away in Kirkland, Washington January 29, 2019 at the age of 90.

Loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother (Gigi), Dorothy (Dot/Dottie) was truly born a coal miner’s daughter.  She often spoke of shaking coal dust off her coat.  Growing up as one of twelve siblings in coal country in the midst of the depression was daunting.  Her parents ran a strict Catholic household and required the children to take on responsibilities at a young age. Her mother had a spotless household and wouldn’t allow the kids in the kitchen (hence, as a new bride her only kitchen expertise was boiling water).   Older kids took care of the younger ones.  Dot took charge of her brother Lawrence (Buzzy), as well as going to high school and working in the silk mill.

Her life changed when recruiters came to her high school and hired her and several schoolmates to come to Washington, D.C. to work for the government.  They bused them there and housed them in dormitories.  Her first job was as a stenographer with the Office of Price Administration.  After that department had completed its duties, she found work at the Atomic Energy Commission.  She enjoyed all of her work, “her” Generals at the Pentagon and all!

Life in D.C. was much like going away to college–with many, many dances and running around the national monuments with her crowd of friends as if playing at a park down the block.  They really had the time of their lives.   It was at one of these dances that Dot met a handsome sailor boy, Bill.

After winning over each family (a Polish girl and an Irish man!) a courtship led to a day-long wedding and a bus ride to NYC. A late night arrival at the Essex Hotel revealed their hotel room had been rented to others.  A kindly (Irish) desk clerk took pity and gave them the Bridal Suite at a grand charge of about $14!

The newlyweds settled into an apartment in Washington.  Dot got some cooking instructions from a butcher and purchased a handy cookbook which sits on her shelf in tatters even today. Following their first anniversary, a little girl arrived and after that their lives changed quickly.  Within a few years they had added two more daughters and had moved to Atlantic, Iowa, where their only son was born, and Bill continued his Court Reporting career.  It was a small town of many kind and friendly people and lifelong friendships were made.  Much of their social life revolved around their church community members, including Father Pete, who became a family friend.

The next chapter led them out West to the desert landscape of Reno.  Coming from Iowa, that was an intriguing prospect. We all piled into our version of a covered wagon (a purple 57 Bel Aire station wagon) and headed out there. It truly felt like we were on our way to the New Land, something different and exciting.  Through Bill’s work, friends were made.  Lake Tahoe was discovered, and Bill quickly learned you burn up your brakes descending Mt. Rose Summit if you don’t use low gear!  Dottie helped out at the kids’ schools; she volunteered as a Pink Lady at St. Mary’s Hospital.  Her encounters with Harold Smith there, (owner of Harold’s Club) so tickled him that he invited Dot and several of her friends to complimentary dinner at his hotel.

A new Court Reporting job beckoned in Seattle, and thus the last chapter started in 1972.  Dottie and Bill settled in Magnolia, took up skiing and hiking and following maps of the area to explore the new environment. Mt. Si and Mt. Rainier were particular favorites.  Dottie took economic and finance courses at Seattle Community College.  She loved to follow the stock market and politics and was well read.  She was not into acquisition of possessions, but of experiences, and loved to hike Discovery Park or walk on Magnolia Blvd. and sit on a favorite bench, taking in the beauty of Elliott Bay, the ferry crossings, and the Olympic Mountains.

Eventually, after 44 years in Magnolia, health reasons caused Dot and Bill to move to Merrill Gardens in Kirkland to be closer to family.  They quickly discovered a new community and beautiful walks and views.  By this time, they had nine grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, whom she adored.  She was a wonderful role model and friend to us all, and best friends with her husband Bill, with whom she shared almost 70 years.   We will miss her greatly, but know she is reunited with her loved ones “in the clouds”, as she would have put it!

We wish to thank Evergreen Hospice for their kind and loving attention to Mom while in their care.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Union Gospel Mission of Seattle or The Salvation Army, both of which she supported.

3 Responses to “Dorothy Ann Butcavage Sullivan”

  • Jill and Larry Eldridge says:

    Sending the entire family our deepest condolences. Dorothy sounds like a terrific woman, mom, friend, etc. She lived a wonderful life, and you are all blessed to have had her in your lives.

    May your days be filled with comfort and peace surrounded by all that loved Dorothy, and love you.

    Jill and Larry

  • Jill and Larry Eldridge says:

    Sending our deepest sympathy to the entire family. Dorothy sounds like a terrific woman and all that knew her have been very blessed. She lived a wonderful, full life and it reflects on her family

    Wishing you all comfort and peace during this time, surrounded by all who loved her, and love you.

    Jill and Larry Eldridge

  • Karen Teaford says:

    Aunt Dot. I’m so happy I got to see you last summer, it bought back fond memories of early times. May you rest in peace, and know you will always be in our hearts.
    God Bless,
    Love Karen

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