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Obituary

Dorothy Gatchell, age 95, beloved mother, sister, friend, and grandmother, “Miss Dorothy” lived with her daughter, Sue Brownfield, in Mount Airy. She passed away surrounded by her loving family on June 13, 2017. Dorothy was born in Detroit in 1921, daughter of August and Emily Campbell Hofweber. She loved to swim, skate, dance and bowl. In 1946, she married Gilbert Gatchell. Dorothy and Gilbert had four children: Sue, Betty Lou, John, and Pamela. Gilbert’s alcoholism nearly destroyed their home and marriage. Through these turbulent years, Dorothy remained committed to her family and husband who found spiritual renewal with help of Alcoholics Anonymous. For the next 29 years Dorothy and Gil Gatchell offered support and guidance to countless others suffering from alcoholism. Her youngest, Pamela died in 1981, leaving her daughter Maria Baraka to be lovingly raised by Dorothy and Gil. Through those years, Dorothy passed on her lifetime love of swimming; teaching children and serving as life guard into her 80s. Her husband Gil died in 1994. Dorothy continued to live with her niece, Maria at her home in Michigan. In 1996, she met Dennis Rochford. Dennis and Dorothy fell in love, a beautiful romance that lasted until her death this week. In 2016, Dorothy came to Mount Airy with her daughter, Sue Brownfield. “Miss Dorothy” made many new friends who surrounded her with love. Dorothy is survived by her daughters Sue Brownfield and Betty Marks, her son, John Gatchell, and grandchildren Robyn Gatchell, Lee and Jalan Gatchell. The family wishes to express their gratitude for the love and compassion shown by her caregivers, Susan, Elva, Chelsea, Crystal and Betty. A memorial for Dorothy will be hosted Sunday in Mount Airy followed by a memorial mass in Michigan in July. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care, 401 Technology Lane, Suite 200, Mount Airy, NC 27030.