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The Baltimore Sun

Dorothy Lorraine Douglass 1918 - 2014

Dorothy Lorraine Douglass passed away January 29th, 2014 in Atascadero, California at age 95. A family memorial gathering will be held at a later date.

Dorothy was born in Los Angeles in 1918 to Beatrice Dunn (nee Walden), and John W. “Jack” Dunn. Her mother, Beatrice, born in Malmo, Sweden, grew up with her widowed mother and 5 siblings near downtown Los Angeles. Beatrice and two of her sisters did ironing and cleaning for other families to help their mother with necessities. Dorothy’s father, Jack, born in 1890, had not liked Kentucky farm life so he did a correspondence course from a Nashville business school, completed the 8th grade and then left home, at age 13, in search of a life that better suited him. Jack was ambitious and as time progressed he became very successful. The family did not fare so well during the Great Depression, but they survived and continued to enjoy their friends and family.

Soon after high school, Dorothy started working as a secretary, and although she remained living with her parents, she enjoyed a busy social life. She was very close to her cousin, Bette, the two of them doing almost everything together. A month after her 22nd birthday, Dorothy made the most important and best decision of her life; she married Charles Douglass, an electrical engineer working for CBS Radio. Within two years of their marriage, the attack on Pearl Harbor began America’s fight in WWII and the young couple’s life took a new direction. Charles received a commission in the U.S. Navy, was assigned to the East Coast, and became
part of a research team that developed shipboard radar systems. Dorothy accompanied Charles east and their first child was born in Washington, D.C.

The outcome was uncertain in the first part of the War and Dorothy and Charles were no different than most other Americans in their belief that victory was essential to our nation’s survival. Dorothy never forgot one evening during the early years of the War when the night sky seemed to be filled with the roaring sounds and dark shapes of American bombers being ferried eastward toward England. Seeing and hearing that symbol of determination and power gave her confidence that America would never give up, and that we would eventually prevail.

After Japan’s surrender, Dorothy and Charles returned to Los Angeles to resume their previous lives. Charles returned to his work with CBS Radio and later with CBS Television as a technical director. The couple moved to the San Fernando Valley where they raised their two sons, Steve and Bob. In the mid 50’s, Charles resigned from CBS and developed a successful sound effects business. In about 1970, Dorothy and Charles bought a home in Laguna Beach and a few years
later retired there. Dorothy loved nice clothes, good movies, her home, and her dogs but mostly she loved her husband and her kids and her grandkids. Charles passed away in 2003
leaving Dorothy heartbroken. As she approached 90 herself, her memories became less vivid and the pain of losing her husband faded. A broken hip accelerated her decline and she
moved to Paradise Valley Care in Atascadero, where she lived four years before passing away.

Dorothy is survived by her son Steve (Myra) of Atascadero, California, her son Bob, of Laguna Beach, California and her granddaughters, Valerie Douglass (Greg Nelson) of San Jose, California and Jane Douglass of Carbondale, Colorado. In addition, she is survived by her great grandchildren, Zella Nelson and Zachary Nelson of San Jose, California.

Dorothy tried to make everyone feel worthy and accepted. If you were in her family or her friend, there was not doubt that she was on your side, that she was interested in you, and it is
especially for this that she will be greatly missed.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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