In 1956, she met Francis X. Duester at a high school dance. That encounter turned into a 59-year marriage. Dorothy and Frank started their lives together during Frank’s service in the Air Force, including a long stay in Portsmouth, NH. After his discharge from the service, Frank joined the NYPD and they returned to New York City, eventually living in Bethpage, Williston Park and Oyster Bay on Long Island. In 1983, Dorothy and Frank moved to Skaneateles with their children, setting up home in a beautiful 1850s farmhouse. Her children were the focus of her life and she, and they, became a part of the Skaneateles community.
Leaving the city enabled her to live out her love of animals, with a myriad of goats, cats, dogs, rabbits, and hamsters. The farmhouse became the canvas for her interior decorating, a lifelong passion. The “next Martha” put her skills to work, for many years operating the Earll Manor Bed & Breakfast at the farmhouse.
Dorothy’s grandchildren were the love of her life. Despite over 25 years of cardiac problems, multiple open-heart surgeries and recoveries, she never missed an event or moment in their lives. Nothing pleased Dorothy more than attending an Odyssey of the Mind competition, a hockey game, a tennis match, or a marching band performance. Despite an ailing heart, nothing could keep her away, whether it was a game at Allyn Arena or in northern New Hampshire.
Her dedication to her grandchildren was unmatched. Two years in a row she was awarded the Carl Wellman Fan of the Year Award by the Skaneateles High School hockey team (dying her hair with the team in 2019, clinching her second award). She could be found in rinks from Boston to Philadelphia to Buffalo to New Hampshire, along with shorter treks to the many rinks in Central New York. For many of these trips, she was discharged from an extended stay at Strong Memorial Hospital and then hopped in the car for a drive to Boston or Buffalo to watch hockey games or to visit grandchildren at school in Wolfeboro, NH or in Canton, NY, carrying medical equipment and batteries along with her. Her grit was amazing. Despite all her physical ailments, she never let it keep her from her children’s and grandchildren’s lives.
She is survived by her husband, Francis, children Amy Duester, Michael Duester (Kelly), Cynthia Lynn (Timothy), and Chelsea Beccam (Vector), and grandchildren Luke Lynn, Ryan, Conor and Olivia Duester, and Brianna and Madison Casper. She is also survived by her siblings Pamela Kendrick and David Dolan (Carolyn).
There will be no calling hours. A Private Memorial Mass for family will be celebrated on Monday, January 11, 2021 at 10:00AM at St. Mary’s of the Lake Church. The Mass will be livestreamed at: https://youtu.be/k9hIEasJzos
Always giving, Dorothy donated her body to SUNY Upstate Medical University. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions in Dorothy’s memory to either the Central New York SPCA, 5878 East Molloy Road, Syracuse, New York 13211, or Helping Hounds Dog Rescue, 7268 Caswell Street, North Syracuse, New York 13212.
To send condolences, visit robertdgrayfuneralhome.com.