June 25, 1922 - Dec 15, 2012 OKLAHOMA CITY Dorothy Crooks Otto, who made doggie quilts for every dog adopted out of the Oklahoma City group of Oklahoma Westie Rescue, died at her Rock Knolls home on December 15 at the age of 90. Dorothy made and donated hundreds of quilts for adopted dogs, each quilt for their bed bearing the dog's name. Through the group, she was able to bring a lot of happiness to people - and their dogs. Born Dorothy Crooks to Charles and Nellie Crooks in Chicago, Dorothy moved to Waukegan, IL at age four, where she was raised. She went to Northwestern University and then received a teaching degree at Northern Illinois State Teacher's College. Working as a USO volunteer at the Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago in 1946, Dorothy met sailor, Robert Otto, who had survived the Japanese bombing of the USS California at Pearl Harbor. They were married in Long Beach, CA in 1947, settled and raised two children in southern California, but were divorced in 1964. Dorothy worked as an elementary school teacher in southern California, retiring in 1987 after 40 years of teaching. Dorothy was spooked by an earthquake in Arcadia, where parts of the house collapsed and she was trapped inside and moved to Oklahoma City in 1993 to join her older brother, Raymond Crooks, and his family. Asked why she chose tornadoes over earthquakes, Dorothy replied, "At least you have a warning that a tornado is coming." She fell in love with West Highland white terriers at an outreach event put on by Oklahoma Westie Rescue at Leadership Square in 2002, adopted her first Westie, Maggie, and became a volunteer worker for the rescue group. When Maggie died, Dorothy adopted another Westie, Maggie II. A meticulous quilter, she began making quilts for the dogs and organized other volunteers to help at her home until her health started to fail two years ago. Dorothy leaves a son, Gary Otto, of Silver Springs, FL; grandson, James Otto, of Seattle, WA; daughter, Nancy Wilding, of Los Angeles, CA; brother, Raymond Crooks, and sister-in-law, Lois Crooks, of Oklahoma City; three nieces: Susan Linford and Jane Childress, of Oklahoma City; and Dorothy Willig, of Kansas City; two nephews: George Crooks, of Oklahoma City; and Mark Crooks, of Encinitas, CA - and Maggie II.
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Published in The Oklahoman on Dec. 24, 2012