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Obituary - Dorothy Dyson

Dorothy Barbara (Miller) Dyson of Woodlawn Commons, passed away from natural causes on March 26, 2010. She was 96. Born on Sept. 29, 1913 in Chicago, IL, she was the daughter of the late Peter and Martha (Leser) Miller and widow of the late Fred Dyson, whom she married in 1940.

Dorothy attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL, graduating in 1931. She worked one year at Marshall Field Department Store in Evanston, IL, and then enrolled into the Brooklyn Hospital School of Nursing in 1932. Within a month, she was forced to leave school due to illness with scarlet fever. Upon recovery, she worked as a nanny, and returned to Brooklyn Hospital the following year, graduating in 1936. As a registered nurse, she worked at Brooklyn Hospital until 1937. She then worked as a public health nurse with the Brooklyn Visiting Nurses until 1940, alternating yearly as a student at Teachers College at Columbia University, NY. She graduated in the summer of 1939 with a BS in public health and a teacher’s certificate as a school nurse/teacher. She also earned several credits as a graduate student.

From February 1940 to August 1941, she worked for American Airlines as a stewardess on transcontinental flights from New York City to Nashville (an eight hour flight, including a stop in Washington), on a Douglas Sleeper Transport plane. With unpressurized cabins, it was required then for all stewardesses to be an R.N. in case of in-flight medical emergencies. During WWII, she worked per diem at Brooklyn Hospital and with the American Red Cross. She also worked part time on weekends at Brunswick Hospital in Amityville and as an industrial nurse at Republic Airport in the 1950s. From 1953-1975, she was employed full time by Farmingdale Public Schools as a school nurse/teacher at Main Street and Northside Elementary Schools. She also worked part time at the Robert Moses State Park (Fire Island) for several years during summers in the 1960s at the first aid station.

In her retirement, she continued to work for the school district as a substitute nurse/teacher well into her 80s, and also as a home care nurse for several years. A caring and energetic woman, Dorothy was a volunteer for The Salvation Army for 25 years, a charter member and member of the Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society, a member of the AAUW (American Association of University Women), the Women’s Club, the Early Flyers Club, the New York State Retired Teachers Association and the Episcopal Church Women of St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Active within the Farmingdale community, she received numerous service awards, including “Woman of the Year” in 1979. She also served as a board member for a Brooklyn hospital and a Plainview clinic. Dorothy resided in Farmingdale for 58 years before moving to Saratoga Springs to be closer to family.

In addition to her parents, Dorothy was also predeceased by her loving husband of 67 years, Fred Dyson; a sister Rita Hennings; and one grandson Kenneth Westerberg, who died on Jan. 1, 2001. She is survived by three daughters, Barbara (Arthur) Westerberg of Pittsburgh, PA, Jo-Ellen (Ronald) Martino of Geneva, NY, Juliette (Kurt) Swartz of Ballston Lake, NY; one son Robert (Joanne) Dyson of Wappinger Falls, NY; five grandsons, Karl Westerberg, Peter (Pamela) Dyson, Michael Martino, Michael (Aimee) Swartz and Jeffrey (Mary) Swartz; four granddaughters, Jenny and Amy Martino, Pamela (Joseph) Tumminello and Jacqueline Dyson; one great-granddaughter Alyssa Jo-Ellen Cordero-Martino; and many nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank all of the wonderful caregivers who made Dorothy’s last years so comfortable as well as the staff of Community Hospice of Saratoga and Woodlawn Commons, and her many friends.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 17, in the Saratoga Room at Woodlawn Commons, 156 Lawrence St., Saratoga Springs. Memorials may be made in her honor to the Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society, P.O. Box 500, Farmingdale, NY 11735, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 290 Conklin St., Farmingdale, NY 11735 or the Bethesda Episcopal Church, 41 Washington St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Arrangements are under the direction of the William J. Burke & Sons/Bussing & Cunniff Funeral Homes (584-5373).