Dorothy Jeanne Colwell
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4/25/1924 - 10/24/2013
Born in San Jose, Calif., on April 25, 1924, Dorothy Jeanne Colwell passed away peacefully on October 24, 2013 in Rocklin at the age of 89. She was the daughter of Robert E. Ryan, an honored World War I pilot who flew alongside Billy Mitchell as one of the very first American military aviators, and who later became a sports reporter and editor for the San Jose Mercury-Herald. Her mother was Elsie Knobel Ryan, who was honored by then-Governor Ronald Reagan with a statewide volunteerism award for founding an outreach center for inner-city teens in San Jose, the "Hi-Spot."
During World War II, Dorothy devoted countless hours as a USO volunteer, both as a gifted pianist and as a regular at USO dances, entertaining Bay Area troops on their way to wartime deployments. She graduated from San Jose State College, and then left to teach typing, bookkeeping and shorthand at Grant Union High School in Sacramento after the war. There she met and married a fellow teacher, Stanley B. Colwell (later an administrator and eventually principal of Grant High School).
She left teaching to raise her family, and eventually was the devoted mother to six. The family moved to Penryn in 1959, where Dorothy took on leadership roles in the parent/teacher organizations of her children's schools. Later, she was treasurer for several Del Oro High School improvement projects, including the expansion of the football stadium and the building of the swimming pool. After many years of volunteering and leadership in the Penryn and Loomis communities, Dorothy and Stan were honored as the Parade Marshalls for the Loomis Community Day Parade in May 1984.
Dorothy was a model for us all of devotion to family and friends, and will be remembered fondly for her endless kindness, her huge heart, her willingness to help others, and the love that she gave to so many. Her husband, Stan Colwell; her brother, Robert Ryan, Jr.; and her beloved daughter-in-law, Karen Colwell, who died three days before Dorothy, predeceased her. Her children include Bill Colwell (Ginny) of Springfield, Va.; Bonnie Jean Ueltzen (Michael) of Sacramento; Bob Colwell (Karen, deceased) of Centennial, Colo.; Shirley Maybie (Jim) of Carmichael; Rich Colwell (Nancy) of Penryn; and Cathy Yanez (David) of Penryn. She leaves behind her treasured seventeen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren (including two more to be born before the year ends). Dorothy's family extends special thanks to her friends and the staff at Casa de Santa Fe in Rocklin, where she enjoyed her final years surrounded by caring people.
A Celebration of Life for Dorothy was held on Monday, November 4, 2013 at the First United Methodist Church in Loomis, followed by her burial in the Newcastle District Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Dorothy may be made to the
, with acknowledgements to: In Memory of Dorothy Colwell, 2500 Penryn Road, Penryn, CA 95663.
Godspeed on your journey, Mom, Grandma, and Great-Grandma, and "may angels carry thee to thy rest." You are forever in our hearts, forever beloved. Now you can dance once again with Dad-always the couple sweeping the dance floor with grace, all eyes on your easy style together. Those whom you have left behind profoundly mourn your loss.
Published in Gold Country Media Newspapers from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7, 2013