Never will I forget Dorothy Jones’ warm, boisterous greeting as she came to get eggs every week at our farm.  “How’s Johnny today?!” spoken with sincere interest and her obvious love of people.  She was a role model for the women of her generation and a bright light to the very end of her nearly 87 years on this earth.

To have met her once, was to know her. She touched your soul, even mine as a young boy entering his teens in the early ’70s.  Indeed, I feel blessed to have grown up with outstanding women like Dorothy who embodied the true meaning of the word leadership in our farm community of Beverly Township.

She was a farmer’s wife to Kneale, raising their four children on a dairy farm that went back a few generations and is still in the family.  She was involved! Check this out from her obituary:

“Dorothy was an active and faithful member of Copetown United Church, Past President of Copetown UCW, life member of Orkney Women’s Institute, Past Lady President and honourary life member of Rockton Agricultural Society and recipient of the Joe Fletcher Citizen of the Year award (1994). She was a longtime volunteer with the Friends of Westfield, 4H and former board member of the CAS.”

Most telling are the comments from those who knew her.  Her contemporary Jean wrote, “Dear Dorothy – the most admired, loved and respected lady I know. We will miss you but know you are joining the loved family and friends gone before.”  Katie wrote, “Dorothy was a very special woman and positively touched the lives of all those who were blessed to have known her.”

Joe wrote, “Dorothy was a person that sincerely cared about you and always wanted you to suceed in what you were doing …. a geuine person that would phone you to congratulate you on any of your sucesses and give you strong suport you in your failures also. I am proud to say I have known her since my birth. I spent many times at the Jones as an infant when my mom was sick in the early 60’s. She took me to my first day of school during those early days. I am going to miss her great big hello’s.”

She lived independently on a lot off the farm even after Kneale passed away in 2006.  She attended every community funeral and was there for my mother’s passing this past April, 2012, as well as at Russ Dyment’s. Indeed, she was at the wedding of Mike and Marie’s beautiful daughter Diane just two weeks ago, full of life.

When I leave this world, I want to die like Dorothy.  On Wednesday, she found out her eyesight failed the standard needed to keep her driver’s licence. She knew what it meant. She told her son Rick, “I better start looking for a retirement home.”   She sounded positive as always but this had to be hard news. Thursday she felt sick, like a flu was setting in. Her daughter Marilyn stayed with her overnight.  Friday they took her to the local emergency at the doctor’s advice.  She chatted up a storm on the way to the hospital.  By the time they got there, she had slumped over. She suffered a heart attack. They kept her alive until Saturday when it was clear there was no hope.  All of her children were there whereupon she passed away peacefully.

Dorothy was a role model of a centered woman. Sharp in mind, sincere in emotion, deep in faith and strong in body, she lived life to the fullest each day, to the very last minute. Life doesn’t get better than that.  She inspired me then and she inspires me today.  God bless this great woman.