Dorothy Evelyn Wachter passed away at St. Joseph's Hospital on Jan. 10, 2013. Surrounded by her large and loving family, her passing was sudden but peaceful. Dorothy was born in Bellingham on Aug. 8, 1917 to longtime Bellingham Jeweler Harry Wellman and his wife Gertrude Prowse. She had one brother, Leonard Wellman, who died in 1987. Dorothy married George L. St. James in 1936 and the couple had three children. Her second marriage was in 1955 to Louis B. Wachter with whom she had one son. Louis passed away in August of 2005. Dorothy graduated from Whatcom High School in 1933, and attended Bellingham Business College. She spent a career working as a secretary, first at Puget Sound Pulp and Timber, and then for Western Washington University, where she retired in 1980. Dorothy is survived by her children, Margaret (Margo) St. James of Orcas Island, Claudette Sterk of Everson, George R. St. James of Tonasket, and John L. Wachter of Orcas Island. Also surviving Dorothy are 16 grandchildren, 54 great-grandchildren and 38 great-great-grandchildren. Her intense facility for remembering and encouraging each of her descendants and her many friends, will be long and fondly recalled by all. Apart from activities involving friends and family, Dorothy loved gardening and her cats. She served with pleasure for many years as a pianist for several churches that she attended locally. Memorials may be made in Dorothy's name to the Bellingham Theater Guild where she was a lifetime member with over 50 years of service. An active and enthusiastic Theater Guild volunteer, Dorothy served as a director, actor, makeup artist, and in virtually every other capacity within the organization. Blessed to the end with relatively good health and a sharp mind, Dorothy radiated pride in her family. For over 95 years she never missed a birthday, wedding or other special family event. Always the grand dame at such events, with delight she posed for numerous five-generation photos during her family's most recent Christmas gathering. While her place at the Christmas dinner table will be empty next year, her living legacy of vitality and love will carry on. Private interment will be at Greenacres Cemetery. A memorial service celebrating the life of Dorothy Wachter will be held at 2 PM on Sunday, January 10, 2013 at First Christian Church, 495 E. Bakerview Rd., Bellingham, WA.
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Published in Bellingham Herald on Jan. 13, 2013