Dorothy Helen Wright Colburn

06/15/1914 — 11/19/2006

From Richland, WA, US | Born in Duluth, Minnesota

Dorothy Helen Wright Colburn

Dorothy Colburn, 92, a resident of Alterra in Richland, died Sunday, November 19th at Hospice House in Kennewick, WA after a brief illness. She was a sweet little white-haired lady who loved cats and always wore blue. Dottie had a keen sense of humor, a twinkle in her blue eyes, and a kind word for everyone.

Dottie was born to Mary Hoxsie Sheffer Wright and William Earl Wright on June 15, 1914 in Duluth, MN. Her parents preceded her in death, as did her husband, Franklin Dimond Colburn; their young son, John Wright Colburn; her brother, William Marion Wright of Houston, TX; a step-daughter, Valerie Colburn; a nephew Peter Smith, and many pets, including her special Siamese kitty, Judy. She is survived by her sister, Caroline Smith of Medford, OR; her son, William Edward Colburn, of Belvidere, IL; her granddaughters, Hollis and Perri Colburn of Bloomfield, NY; her daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Mike Lilga of Richland, WA; a step-son and his wife, Perry and Ruth Colburn, of Memphis, TN; and her special nephews and their families.

Dottie attended school in Duluth and graduated in 1936 from Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL. As a student, Dottie was a camp counselor and taught many people, including her mother, to swim. One of her fondest memories was helping underprivileged youths at Camp Kellogg overcome their fear of water. As a young college graduate, Dottie boarded an east-bound train with friends. She disembarked in Chicago to begin her new life. Later she moved to Pittsburgh, where she worked in customer service for Bell Telephone. She met Franklin Dimond Colburn through a friend who was taking care of his cat. When Frank returned from his trip, they met and a romance bloomed. Frank and Dottie were married at her sister’s home in Riverside, IL on June 15, 1944.

Dottie was honored to be chosen to sponsor a ship launching for the Navy on July 25, 1944. The ship, LST-758, was built by American Bridge Company on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, where Frank was comptroller. LST-758 saw action in both WWII and the Korean War, including the battle at Iwo Jima, and by some accounts, provided the second flag that flew on Mount Suribachi. Dottie cherished the anchor pin presented to her to commemorate the launching.

Frank and Dottie moved to a country home near Coraopolis, PA where their first child, Johnny, was born. Sadly, Johnny died of leukemia at the age of 15 months. Later, Bill and Mary came along to complete their family. Dottie tended fruit trees, made preserves, and grew a large flower and vegetable garden. She loved pansies and took care of 60 rose bushes. She and Frank loved to picnic, swim, row boats, skip stones, and ice skate, and their children have fond memories of many family outings to parks, swimming pools, lakes, and skating rinks. Frank died after a brief illness in 1964, and Dottie went to work in, and later became manager of, a hospital gift shop in Sewickley, PA. She dearly loved working there, made many wonderful friends, and put her heart into making customers and patients happy. She retired in 1979 and moved to New Smyrna Beach, FL where she made more new friends, enjoyed golf and bridge, delivered meals on wheels, went on birding trips with Audubon, walked the beach, and swam and played in the ocean waves. After almost 20 years of retirement, she moved in with her son, Bill, and his family near Atlanta, GA and spent three enjoyable years with her young granddaughters. In 2001, she moved to Richland, WA to be near her daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Mike Lilga. She loved living at Alterra, and made friends with many residents and staff members during her five years there.

Dottie loved life, spread joy and laughter everywhere she went, and had no idea how much her words and mannerisms endeared her to everyone whose life she touched. Her family misses her presence here on Earth, but rejoices in knowing that she is at peace in the company of angels and experiencing the amazing grace and divine love of the Lord.

Services will be held on Wednesday, December 6th, first at The Divine Fellowship, 513 Barth Ave. between GWW and Jadwin, N. of Falley in Richland at 11:00am, and then at Alterra, 1629 Geo. Wash. Way at 3:00pm. Placement of the urn at Sunset Memorial Gardens will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Benton-Franklin Humane Society, 8620 W. Gage Blvd, Kennewick, WA 99336; to the Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society, P.O. Box 1900, Richland, WA 99352; or to Hospice at Tri-Cities Chaplaincy, 2108 W. Entiat, Kennewick, WA 99336.

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  • Aunt Dot was a very special lady and I’m glad that she was a part of my life and my childrens’ lives. I will always remember her smile and how she enjoyed life.

    Priscilla A Corsi
    November 4, 2014
    Denver, CO, US
  • I am very thankful that Aunt Dot was able to meet my children. I have a beautiful picture of her holding my youngest daughter that I will treasure forever!

    Kristen Palmer
    November 4, 2014
    Grass, Valley, CA, US
  • Mary & Mike,

    My prayer’s are with you at this time, Your mom was a very blessed lady who made the world come alive in many different way’s. Her soul will live on in all our hearts. God bless to both of you. Love, Dana

    Dana Hanifen
    November 4, 2014
    Richland, WA, US
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