Dorothy “Dottie” Pugsley Grandolfi

image of Dorothy Grandolfi

Dorothy Grandolfi

Dottie Grandolfi, social worker and artist, born on April 23, 1930 in Rochester, New York passed away surrounded by her loving family in Kirkland on January 29, 2020 at the age of 89. She suggested that we round up her age to 90.

She attended the University of Rochester and the Tulane School of Social Work. She was a creative, daring, and strong soul who survived many life changes including life as a single mother after divorce, Hurricane Katrina, relocating to Kirkland to rebuild her life in her 70s, and many challenging medical diagnoses.

Dottie wished to be remembered for her sense of humor, all the wacky times she shared with others, her deep and enriching study of psychology (especially Carl Jung), love of whales, spirited creativity, art, and lack of hubris. She enjoyed traveling far and wide to see whales on both coasts and to participate in Jin Shin Jyutsu workshops as far as Hawaii. She was a practitioner of both Jin Shin Jyutsu and Healing Touch while she lived in New Orleans. She deeply cherished her friends from New Orleans and kept in touch with them even when she and they moved away.

Dottie instigated Mardi Gras, Academy Awards, Easter, and Halloween parties for her friends in New Orleans, where she lived most of her adult life and raised her girls, and she continued the tradition with her dear senior friends at the SHAG Woodlands apartments in Kirkland. Hanging out with her crafting and doggie group friends in the afternoons brought her much joy. On hot days, they shared a kiddie pool to cool their feet and the pups. Sewing original costumes and dressing up for Mardi Gras and her Academy Awards parties brought her and her friends much delight.

When her girls were young, she enjoyed dressing as a witch and serving “witch’s brew” of dry ice and kool-aid to the neighborhood trick-or-treaters on Dover Lane in Terrytown, Louisiana. After her children grew up and flew the nest, Dottie cherished her time with student-roommate Sam Herrera, who remained a loyal, supportive friend and who rescued her from Hurricane Katrina.

After years working as a social worker and being an active board member of the C.G. Jung Society of New Orleans, she enjoyed her retirement years by following politics and by pursuing art, crafts, creativity, and being a grandmother. Many friends saw her as a wise counselor with a sense of humor and a spark of irreverence. She explored tissue paper art as a form of Jungian analysis and expression, abstract art, knitting, and driftwood sculpture. Recently, she derived the most joy from freeing works of art from driftwood sculptures with her gang of friends in the driftwood sculpture group at the Redmond Senior Center.

After she sold her car, her friends continued to drive her to art class. She even dabbled in alcohol ink art as of late, enjoying the unpredictability of the results. She passed on her love of knitting to her granddaughter Phoebe and enjoyed babysitting her, conducting stuffed animal weddings, doing art, and attending Phoebe’s piano recitals and musical theater productions. Dottie also enjoyed following Phoebe’s space-related and Girl Scout pursuits. The two painted ceramics together in Dottie’s final days, cherishing their deep bond.

Dottie bravely battled a plethora of illnesses — COPD, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Glaucoma, and Parkinson’s and beat the odds of long-term survival. Her strength simply grew as her challenges increased, and she learned to manage them with grace and dignity – trying new forms of chemotherapy and even participating in a Parkinson’s study to see whether dogs can be trained to detect the disease.

She felt supported and loved by her doctors and the staff at Overlake Hospital and Swedish Cancer Institute in Issaquah. They became her friends over the years, especially Dr. Tanya Wahl, Dr. Todd Freudenberger, and Dr. Stephanie Phan. Her daughter Mia and grandson Jay accompanied her to her appointments and treatments and enjoyed their time together. Mia and Jay kept up her spirits and Dottie kept up theirs.

Jay’s sense of humor and questionable driving skills amused Dottie, especially the time they avoided a ticket together. She was delighted when Jay moved to the States and became a deeper part of her life – she admired his tenderness, sense of humor, and drive to make something of himself. She also enjoyed using email to stay connected to him, friends, and especially her daughter, Gina, whose creativity with flower arranging, beautiful cakes, and dresses delighted Dottie.

Most recently, Dottie also cherished her new friends in her Parkinson’s support group, and in the last few years, Dottie was taken care of by the loving family and staff at Golden Pine Adult Family Home in Redmond. Her daughter Mia and her family remained a devoted and loving part of her life. Dottie was especially fond of her son-in-law Richard (“Honey”) and his gourmet cooking, especially his New Orleans dishes. Richard also made sure that her flower boxes on the balcony of her SHAG apartment were seasonally up to date, and he used his muscle on many occasions to move furnishings and to push Dottie’s wheelchair on many Pacific Northwest adventures, including a trip into an Old Grove forest on Mt. Rainier. He was a rock of support for her and her family.

Dottie found love and companionship with her dear doggies and pets over the years. They, too, enjoyed dressing up for Mardi Gras, the Krew of Barkus, and other holidays. She loved her childhood beagle Bozo, and she later became a pet-parent to her black cockapoo Sparky, apricot poodle Muffin, foster-pet Hunter, one-eyed cat Lucky, cat Yellow Fellow, cream-colored Lhasa-Apso Dixie, who survived Katrina with her, and her dear, devoted black and white Japanese Chin, Lila, who stayed on her bed with her in her final days and hours, bringing comfort to her. Every Christmas card Dottie sent featured pictures of her with her beloved dog.

Dottie asked that we all remember the value of family, introspection, humor, and creativity – taking the challenging and more creative paths were important to her. She also wouldn’t mind if you were to tune in to Rachel Maddow at 11 p.m.

Dottie is predeceased by her parents Florence and Howard Puglsey, sister Betty Mechler, brother Howard Pugsley, and daughter Sierra. She is survived by her daughters Mia Grandolfi Wall and Gina Grandolfi Khairkhah, their husbands Richard Wall and Taghi Khairkhah, as well as grandchildren Faith Ann, Narguess, Mo’oud, Jay, Fatemeh, and Phoebe.

A memorial service and reception will be held at Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Redmond on Saturday, February 8 at 1 p.m. Please read a fuller bio and sign the Guestbook in the obituary section of bartonfuneral.com or sign Dottie’s Guestbook at Legacy.com.

Contributions may be made to LLS.org.

9 Responses to “Dorothy “Dottie” Pugsley Grandolfi”

  • Susan Wall says:

    Mia, what a wonderful, wonderful tribute to Dottie! She was such a lively, loving, and brave individual. It’s easy to see why she was loved by so many people (not to mention cats and dogs). It’s also clear that the enormous love she received from you, Richard, Phoebe, Gina and her children, and all the family, friends and caregivers mentioned here was a response to her own loving nature. I feel blessed to have known her and to have been numbered among her friends. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

  • Gema says:

    Dottie was a beautiful, smart and funny lady. As manager of Woodlands in Kirkland, where she lived for several years, I got to know her well. She will forever live in my heart. Rest In Peace sweet Lady! ❤️

  • Jean Allenbach says:

    What a beautiful spirit! I had the pleasure of getting to meet Dottie at the American Parkinson PRESS group she attended. She radiated when she walked in the room and had a kind word and a smile for everyone around. She will be missed by all who were lucky enough to know her My heart goes out to her family.

    Jean Allenbach
    Executive Director
    American Parkinson Disease Association

  • Candie Lambert says:

    Dennis and I so enjoyed getting to know Dottie at our PRESS group. She was a kind and gentle spirit. It is amazing to know more about her wonderful life. Thank you Dottie for sharing a bit of your life with us at PRESS. You will certainly be missed. Our condolences to the family.
    Candie and Dennis Lambert

  • Gail Baker says:

    Dottie was one of my art students in a fabric painting and dyeing class. One day I came in to find the janitor had thrown out all of the silk painting frames Mt brother and I made by hand for the class. As we huffed and puffed indignantly, I suggested we try shibori instead of silk painting on stretched silk scarves. So….. Dottie led the charge!!! She was hung ho for whatever I suggested. And I was encouraged by her enthusiasm and commitment to make lemonade out of lemons. I’ll remember her love of life even on days she didn’t feel well.

  • Joan Thayer says:

    How lucky I have been to know Dottie in this earth-time.
    We shared our love of animals and the stories of her exciting life. I hope we will meet each other in the other side God Bless her wonderful family.

  • Debi Tullier says:

    Dottie was a true miracle of life! She gave so much joy and love and laughter. I will cherish her and how she enriched my life so much. Thank you Dottie for your love

  • Judy Andry says:

    You captured Dottie so well in this obituary. In New Orleans I shared her interests in Jungian Psychology and in Jin Shin Jyutsu, and wrote many notes on her creative note papers. She was always upbeat and brave. She will be remembered by all who knew her. Judy Andry

  • Joan Bicocchi says:

    For over 30 years Dottie and I were friends..We saw ourselves as companion sojourners, soul searchers, psychology students, fellow dreamers, whale watchers, animal lovers and dog devotees. Dottie had a beautiful energy that was contagious..I am grateful for her presence in my life..She will be missed

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