Dorothy Mellinger VanDeGrift

Photo of Dorothy Mellinger VanDeGrift

Dorothy Mellinger VanDeGrift


     On Monday, August 24, 2020, Dorothy “Dottie" Lou VanDeGrift, 83, of Sarasota, FL (formerly Leola, PA) traded in her Earthly body for a brand new one in her Heavenly home and there is no doubt that she has already made her distinctive (lead foot) mark on the streets of gold. 

     Born on May 26, 1937 to the late Benjamin Z and Elsie (Hershey) Mellinger, she was the answer to the prayers of her big sister Janet and brother, Wilbur (Biz). She had a big spirit and a resiliency beyond her years, both of which served her well as she navigated unpredictable twists and turns of life's roads. In her teen years, Dottie enjoyed working at her Dad's Ford dealership and driving cars to and from the Manheim Auto Auction. As a young woman, she devoted herself to caring for migrant children in Homestead, Florida through Voluntary Service, during which her already large capacity for helping others grew greater and a deep affection for Florida took hold.

     In subsequent years, she moved back to Pennsylvania and in that time took on her most cherished role, that of mother to twins Steven and Stephanie and then years later, an unexpected gift in the birth of her daughter Sarah.

      Not one to sit back and watch the world go by, Dottie was always game for adventure to places near and far, and her zest for getting there quickly has created stories that have turned into family legend. Few people could keep up with her, but she welcomed anyone who wanted to try and those who did, found joy in the ride.

     One such person was her loving and steady husband, Faren VanDeGrift, with whom she shared 18 wonderful years of marriage. Dottie loved a good many things, among them: a Ford car with a strong engine, the swift swing of a tennis racket, the little cottage at Red Point along the Chesapeake, an intense game of Scrabble, any day involving a beach, the fellowship of her Forest Hill Menn. and Sarasota church communities, the fun times with her many friend groups (of which there are too many to count!), the Bahia Vista Estates community she called home, and her beloved Phillies team (most years). The stretch of her influence extends well beyond her immediate family to her great-great nieces and nephews and all those in between who find themselves as they always have, deeply grateful to have been loved by this remarkable woman.

     Dottie has joined her mother and father, sister and brother and her son, Steven, in Heaven. The rest of her family will celebrate her life at a private service.

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