DOROTHY JEANNE CHELLMAN MCDONALD
January 19, 1924 to July 31, 2014
By Margaret McDonald-Stewart
A curious nature and a sense of style
Dorothy travelled through her life and this world with a curious nature and a sense of style. She died peacefully July 31, 2014. Born to Thelma Evertsen Chellman and William Chellman in Chicago Illinois in 1924, she was raised in a bungalow on Wrightwood Avenue. Her close Scandinavian family supported and encouraged each other during the Depression and nurtured an unending love affair with dogs.
Dorothy graduated from Wright Junior College and earned a scholarship to Northwestern University. It was at Northwestern that Dorothy’s inveterate and die-hard liberalism was nurtured and grew to be an integral part of her personality. Dorothy worked through her college days at a variety of enjoyable jobs including as a Harvey Girl waitress at the Grand Canyon El Tovar Lodge and pivotally, for the Weisman Travel Agency. (Picture above left is a shrine made in Dorothy’s honor for a memorial brunch.)
A Saks Fifth Avenue Wedding Hat
She met her husband and fellow traveling partner George McDonald Jr. as a sixteen year Girl Scout interested in aviation. She and George corresponded during WWII while he served in the Marines. Dorothy and George married May 26, 1945. She packed her fabulous Saks 5th Avenue wedding hat in the back of their coupe and they rolled out the next day for California.
Dorothy and George found their place in the world, their passion, and their livelihood working for, and eventually owning Eckdahl-Sundin Travel Bureau in Downtown Los Angeles. (Dorothy is shown at left with good friend and co-worker at Eckdahl-Sundin, Anne Vonderahe.) The Travel industry complimented her wanderlust. She became known as a trip planner who created one-of-a-kind, far-flung and exotic adventures that reflected and brought out the inspired adventurer in her clients. A member of the Traveler’s Century Club, Dorothy investigated and reveled in over 100 countries on the planet.
She would share her adventures
Dorothy and George raised a daughter, Margaret (Stewart) and son, George William. Whenever possible she would share her adventures with them and their friends and later with her grandchildren. Fishing on the Nile, camping on the beaches up and down the U.S. Pacific Coast, experiencing the solar eclipse in Baja Mexico and Curacao, and driving through the Badlands of the Dakotas are legendary memories.
She learned to sail and ski in her middle age and made possible entire family trips to ski resorts in and beyond California. Dorothy loved to deep sea fish with friends. She loved sunlight on water and walked with her dog on the banks of a body of water most of her life. She swam daily when possible.
Dorothy and George lived 40 years in South Pasadena, California and enjoyed hosting the local Democratic Club, the neighbor kids for swim parties, and entertaining friends visiting from around the world. They valued a group of close knit friends made by Dorothy as she studied for her Master’s degree with Pacific Oaks College.
Boom Lake in Rhinelander
Dorothy and George spent part of every summer at the McDonald summer place – cottages on Boom Lake in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Generations grew close as they fished, sailed, waterskied, played cards and ate fish fry on Friday nights.
George died suddenly in 1987 and Dorothy moved the Travel Bureau to her home office in South Pasadena. She continued to be a daily walker with her dogs and troop of friends in the Arroyo Seco until she retired and moved to Reno in 1997 to live with her daughter’s family.
Dorothy’s life in Reno evolved as she explored the ceramics classes at Truckee Meadows Community College. Now rambling cross-country in her beater Subaru to Hopi and Navajo communities to take part in Elderhostel courses and spending a week every year at the Ashland Shakespeare Festival. Her time at her cottage in Rhinelander became more precious as retirement afforded her longer periods in the woods.
A genuine smile, a chubby dog, and clouds in a blue sky
Dorothy never missed an election. In 2012 she proudly stood in a long line outside the voting booths and graciously thanked the volunteers who helped her through the modern voting process. Her example of civic responsibility and political activism now shines in her grandchildren. During the last years of her life, Dorothy’s world was colored by a progressive dementia. She was cared for and loved by her family and friends and lived in the beauty of the world she never failed to appreciate. A genuine smile, a chubby dog, and the clouds in a blue sky will always remind us of her love for this life. (Dorothy is shown below with her beloved dog, Gracie.)
Dorothy is survived by her brother, Bill Chellman ( Ann) of Conifer CO, sister Margaret McEwen of Indianapolis, IN, sister Sue Larsen of Rhinelander, WI, Son George McDonald ( Arleen) and granddaughers, Nerina and Amalia McDonald, grandson Will McDonald of Cranburry, NJ, and daughter, Margaret McDonald Stewart ( Lachlan) grandsons Peter and George (Jesse) Stewart and granddaughter, Theresa Stewart.