Dorothy Saul, mother, sister, dear friend, and teacher to many, was born on December 26, 1929, in Lake Charles, Lousiana. She was one of six children. Raised there by her grandparents in the 1930s and 1940s, she knew a lot about the early 20th century homesteading way of life.
It was a tough childhood for Dorothy in some ways. As a child, her family once had to move, because a “white kids’ school” was being built nearby. The first major building of that time, people of color were not even allowed to do labor. Being a great-granddaughter of a slave girl named Sophie Baker, Dorothy was still able to hold her head high through all the hardships and racism she experienced in her early years.
Dorothy was baptized at age seven at the old Emanuel Church in her hometown. Her profound belief in God gave her strength and she lived her life as an overcomer over every odd she ever faced. She married in 1945 and had a beautiful son in 1947, who was the light of her life, Steve. Due to domestic violence, Dorothy and her 16-month-old son Steve moved away to Houston, Texas, to be with her mother.
In 1955, her mother sent her to college, where she was able to obtain her credentials and teaching degree. Dorothy and her young son were very close and had many adventures, including moving to Anderson Air Force base in Guam for a serviceman medical job after graduation, before transplanting to a much smaller island, Vashon Island. On Vashon, she became an elementary school teacher, and everyone fell in love with her. Many generations of children grew up adoring her and maintained that friendship into adulthood, many of them still dear friends who had become like family, even to her passing. A few words from some of her former students: “I had her in ’81/’82. I am a teacher now and owe a lot to the great example she set for me. A sense of humor and a down-to-earth personality to connect with kids is a must and she had both.” A student in Dorothy’s third-grade class said, “My favorite teacher.” “She was a great teacher and such a kind soul.” “Mrs. Saul … my Favorite Teacher! I will never forget my invite to dinner at her house!” “Always loved seeing her at church and around town. Such a spirited lady.” “She was the best!” “She made us stone soup!” “Favorite teacher of all time. She was my third-grade teacher but also helped me learn some life lessons at that early age that helped me see a light on many dark days. There is a big difference between being a teacher and being an educator. Mrs. Saul has always been an educator.” “I loved Mrs. Saul, she was my favorite teacher … she had a wonderful impact on my life.” “What an amazing woman, had her in 2nd grade. Whenever I would run into her, she would tell me she still has the pet rock I gave her.”
After retiring from Burton Elementary, Dorothy began a new adventure, traveling and working on a ship, a research NOAA vessel. This became a fulfilling mission in this next chapter of her life. She traveled at sea for a number of years and spoke of happy memories of this time. She maintained deep friendships with her “Sea Sisters,” for the rest of her life.
Dorothy carried many funny sayings and stories from her early years to her elder years, delighting those who knew her with her humor and wit. Sayings such as “I like to stir my own stew pot,” “I like to paddle my own canoe,” or “I like to sit on my own nest,” always made her friends smile.
She was predeceased by her beloved son Steve, in 2012. She has a sister, Vera, in Texas.
To know Dorothy was to love her. She was one of a kind. We love you, Dorothy! You are precious to us all. You will be deeply missed. Rest in Peace. Until we meet again!
Dorothy loved helping others overcome tough odds, loved animals, and her faith in Jesus Christ was everything to her. Suggestions as to donations in Dorothy’s name are DOVE, VIPP, or to her beloved church, Calvary Full Gospel, or whatever domestic violence help, animal rescue, or church charity that is dear to your heart.
A funeral service will be held Friday, November 8, 2019, at 11 a.m. at the Island Funeral Service chapel. All are invited to attend.