Obituary: Dorothy McLaren
McLaren, Dorothy Dickson: born July 3, 1931 in Portland, OR. Daughter of Roy and Ethel Means Dickson. Dorothy grew up with her beloved younger brother, Roy Dickson, Jr., in Alaska, California, Texas and Oklahoma. Her father was a bush pilot in Alaska, then a test pilot for the Lockheed Co. and a corporate pilot for Phillips Petroleum Co. Dorothy’s mother (a teacher) was one of the first women to graduate with degrees in mathematics and physics from Whitman College (1923) in Washington. Dorothy embodied both the exceedingly positive and adventurous spirit of her pilot father, as well as a love of learning, sharp wit, remarkably curious mind, and intellect of her mother. Dorothy was a lover of people and treasured visiting with individuals from all walks of life. She took a genuine interest in learning the background and activities of all those with whom she came in contact and loved sharing stories of her new friends.
From 1948-1952, Dorothy attended The University of Tulsa where she earned her Bachelor’s degree and met the love of her life Bennie McLaren, of Tulsa, OK., her husband of 49 years. Following their wedding in 1954, the couple lived in Tulsa, where Dorothy taught high school and Bennie worked as an accountant for Marathon Oil Co. Dorothy and Bennie had two children, Sharon and Scott, while living in Tulsa. The family relocated to Houston, TX in 1972 as a result of a job transfer for Bennie. There, Dorothy raised Sharon and Scott while also finding time to work as an administrative assistant and volunteer for March of Dimes, the American Heart Association, and at the schools attended by her children. She was truly a unique person, terrifically kind-hearted and compassionate, while at the same time clever and funny.
Dorothy was progressive in her thinking, keenly interested in history and, given her father’s experiences, especially fond of aviation history. In 2009 Dorothy and her brother Roy wrote and published a book, Roy Dickson, 1930s Alaska Bush Pilot, chronicling their father’s adventures as a true aviation pioneer. For the rest of her life, Dorothy consistently promoted this book, passing out business cards and selling DVDs of movies taken by her father while flying in wild Alaska.
After her husband Bennie passed away in 2003, Dorothy moved to Glenwood Springs, CO where Sharon and her husband Kevin Brady reside. Dorothy relished the clean air and cool summer nights in Glenwood and developed many good friends there, participating in book clubs, art & craft fairs, Good Shepherd Lutheran’s Helping Hands group and countless (and intense) Scrabble games.
At the end of 2016, Dorothy moved to Tampa, FL where her son Scott, his wife Mary, and Dorothy’s three grandchildren (Cecilia, Lucy, and William) live. Dorothy treasured the time spent with Scott and Mary’s family, especially visiting with and watching her grandchildren grow up. Dorothy was notably fond of displaying her Scrabble and Jeopardy acumen with all who were brave enough to challenger her.
Dorothy went to be with her Lord and her husband Bennie on Memorial Day 2020. She is survived by: Roy (Uncle Sammy) Dickson, Jr. (and his wife Cassandra, son Shelton and daughter Julie); Sharon (and Kevin) Brady; Scott (and Mary), Cecilia, Lucy and William McLaren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to: the Ethel Means Dickson Memorial Scholarship fund at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington; Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Glenwood Springs, CO; or Doctor’s Without Borders. A celebration of Dorothy’s life is being planned for 2021.
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