Dorothy “Dottie” Louise (Seal) Dreisbach passed away unexpectedly on Feb. 9. After 62 years of marriage, she has rejoined her husband Raymond A. Dreisbach, Jr., who predeceased her by three years.
Dottie is survived by her daughter Mary Elizabeth Peterson and husband Brian of Bethlehem and by her granddaughter, her pride and joy and namesake, Theadora Sultana Peterson, whom she got to enjoy for nearly four years and create a most special bond. She will be missed by her sisters, Joan White of Lebanon, Missouri, Ellen Godbey of Union, Kentucky, June VanWinkle of Erlanger, Kentucky, and Carole McIntosh of Lexington, Kentucky. She is fondly remembered by her step-grandchildren Athena Peterson and Eleni Peterson, her niece, nephews, and her godson Todd Krauth. She was predeceased by her brother Pinquard “Bud” Seal and her step-grandson Brian Michael Peterson.
Dottie was born in Pineville, Kentucky, on Sept, 22, 1933, daughter of David and Hortense (McCoy) Setters and Mildred and Shea R. Seal. She graduated from La Salette Academy in Covington, Kentucky, concentrating in secretarial office skills. Upon graduation, she headed immediately out on her own to the job her uncle had waiting for her at the Oak Ridge Atomic Lab medical department in Tennessee. While working there, she met Raymond, a young engineer from Pratt & Whitney, on loan to the Oak Ridge Atomic Lab. They were married Sept. 8, 1956. They moved to Connecticut, settling in Essex briefly then in Old Saybrook. Their first family member was a white, bulldog puppy Fanny, short for Lady Fanny Fenwick, named because of Dottie’s interest in Old Saybrook’s founding history. Ray and Dottie were members of the Connecticut Bulldog Club. She worked in the office at Bond Motors in Old Saybrook, putting all her pay in savings bonds cashed in for their dream home they built, just in time to welcome their baby daughter. Mother dog Fanny and her litter, Lady Abigail and Sir Roderick, became the watchdogs over their daughter.
Dottie threw herself into her daughter’s activities, and volunteered in the school library, in the classrooms, and as a Brownie scout leader. She sewed many dresses, outfits, costumes, and stuffed animals and dolls for her daughter that were saved and will now be enjoyed by her granddaughter. She did the sewing, and Ray did the fine embroidery work and French knots for the faces on the dolls and animals, using skills he learned from his mom.
Few wrinkles ever appeared on her skin due to her steadfast use of Merle Norman cosmetics from her 20s to the last day of her life. She was a connoisseur of instant coffee, always with a cup nearby, and of Pendleton wool outfits, her standard uniform for church and dressed-up activities. She maintained in letter contact with her school teachers and her maid of honor, Margene Lyon, for their entire lives, and by phone with other friends she knew for many years.
The Knights of Columbus and St. John Church were her second family and home. While Ray was a fixture as usher at Saturday Vigil Mass at St. John Church, so was Dottie behind the scenes in the back pew for decades, and for the last few years, in the front row once she started using a walker. She was nicknamed “Patience” by Father Hanks, which became his name for her for years. She was a charter member of the Father Hussion Council Columbiettes. While Ray held many positions in the Knights of Columbus, last as financial secretary, it was Dottie’s handwritten notes, receipts, and membership cards that the Knights received.
She was Grandma to Theadora, giving her the original pink owl for her first Valentine’s Day that will be forever treasured in Theadora’s growing owl collection. She loved teaching letters, numbers, animals, and reading to her and doing puzzles with her. Although she did not play a musical instrument, she encouraged musical talent and gave Theadora her first piano and first drum set.
She spent the last seven months in an apartment in Watermark in Southbury. Despite her strong will to stand and walk and her continued exercises to get any strength, her determination was not enough; her body had enough. She was a lady to the end, composed, nice, and friendly to all, with full mental capacity, despite her body’s pains and limitations. She awoke her last morning, sat up in bed, said her Rosary, and passed on. Despite immediate lengthy CPR efforts, she was gone.
Friends and family may visit from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15, at Swan Funeral Home, 1224 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook. A Mass of Christian burial will be at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at St. John Church, 161 Main Street, Old Saybrook. Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery in Westbrook. Memorial donations may be made to St. John Church, 161 Main St., Old Saybrook, CT 06475. For her online obituary, please visit www.swanfuneralhomeoldsaybrook.com.