Cover photo for Dorothy Hartley's Obituary
Dorothy Hartley Profile Photo
1929 Dorothy 2016

Dorothy Hartley

January 11, 1929 — December 17, 2016

Our mom was born at home on the family dairy farm in Northern Wisconsin, in a January snow storm. I always loved her stories of growing up on the farm - the second of 7 children, she and my Aunt Alice, as the two oldest, helped with the chores. She always told us the story of the pigs following them to school, of cutting through the woods, being chased home by a bear, skiing in the winter, and when her dad would hitch up the horses and pick them up in the sleigh in the winter. Her stories seemed from another place and time, growing up without electricity, to me, very much like Laura Ingalls Wilder stories, my favorites growing up. She instilled in us a love of reading, from classic children's books to novels. She read to us every night, and I will always remember her reciting poems from memory, among her favorites, Evangeline.

Growing up in the depression and WW2 era, after high school she went to nursing school at St. Catherine's in St. Paul. With a sense of adventure, she took her nursing certificate and went to work in Washington state and California, loving to travel and see more of the world. She eventually came back to get her bachelor's in public nursing at Marquette university,in Milwaukee, and from there went to work in the Twin Cities as a public health visiting nurse. Soon after she met our dad.

She retired from nursing while pregnant with me, and we made our way to Maryland, where our dad taught at George Washington University. Matt soon arrived, and our summers involved the ocean, the mountains, with visits to the farm every year. One of the many gifts she gave us was a love of nature - learning to name every leaf and rock, hiking in the mountains and strolling on the beach. We made family trips every summer to National parks, a favorite being the Blue ridge mountains.

Always interested in health, she convinced our dad to quit smoking and start exercising after reading Kenneth Cooper's book in the sixties, and our family legacy of running was started. When we moved to Shaker Heights our dad started running races, and not too long after we were all going to races throughout the year. She and my dad both ran the Cleveland marathon more than once. I remember the first year, Matt and I ran the 10k and then went upstairs in CSU to my dad's office to watch for our parents to finish the marathon on Euclid Avenue. I will always remember thinking, as a recalcitrant teenager, that hey, why weren't women allowed to run a marathon in the Olympics yet - I mean, hey, even my Mom can do it!

She became interested in genealogy in the seventies, and spent many a day researching family history for both sides of the family. Spurred on with wanting to preserve family stories, she and her siblings started family reunions every three years. She traced her french-canadian heritage back to the early days of Canada & France and the filles des rois, and her belgian heritage back to Belgium itself. Family trips included stopping in many a Historical society to look up birth certificates and census papers, which we sometimes found tedious, although when it culminated in a trip to Europe, the chocolate shops of Belgium were a huge hit.

The legacy I treasure the most is her love. She was always our biggest supporter, always on our side no matter what. She loved being a grandma, she spent many happy hours taking care of her grandkids, babysitting, of course reading to them, taking them places. When I came to her with the news of my troubled marriage, she understood immediately. She was the source of my strength in getting my kids and I to safety. I am not sure how I will go on without her.

I wish she had been able to meet her 5th grandchild - she missed her by about a month. Sarah, thank you for taking so good care of her these past months. While she won't be here, Jim, Katie, Rob, Maggie and I, and of course Matt, we will be here to pass on her legacy. We remember all the lullabies she sang for us, the books she read to us, the cookies she baked for us, and we will pass on her legacy. She taught us how to be a good mom, a good grandma, and most of all, how to love.

DOROTHY A. HARTLEY (nee Mayou) of Shaker Hts., OH was the beloved wife of the late Robert F. Hartley and the dear mother of Constance A. Hartley and Matthew R. Hartley (Sarah), both of Shaker Hts., OH.

Dorothy was the dear grandmother of James C. Hartley, Kathryn L. Spielman, Robert W. Spielman and Margaret C. Spielman. She was the dear sister of Alice Carlson (Robert), Ellen Peterson (the late Wyde), Joan Allen (William) and the late Ralph Mayou (Ruby), James Mayou and Joyce Haigh (the late Thomas).

The family prefers that those who wish may make contributions in her name to Our Lady of Peace Church, 12601 Shaker Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44120, (two blocks West of Shaker Square) where a Funeral Mass will be held Friday, December 23rd at 11 am.



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