Dorothy Stroup

Dorothy Anne Stroup

Dorothy Anne Stroup, age 85, passed away in San Francisco on March 8 after a lifetime of teaching, writing, activism and traveling the world.

Born in Alamosa, Colorado in 1927, Dorothy attended high school there and graduated in 1949 from Colorado College in Colorado Springs. After a few years of teaching, then traveling in Europe and the Middle East, she joined the US Information Service in 1954 and was posted to Tokyo where she began her study of Japanese language and culture. In 1960 Dorothy returned to Japan as a teacher at Hiroshima Women's College and High School. Hiroshima was still devastated by the 1945 atomic bombing and she began cultivating lifelong friendships with many bomb survivors, soon becoming a committed anti-nuclear activist and member of Friends of Hibakusha. In 1987 her novel "In The Autumn Wind" was published by Scribners, the first fictional treatment of the Hiroshima bombing written by a western author. In 1993 she traveled to Siberia to research a sequel (which remains unpublished) dealing with Japanese POWs held by the Soviet Union. She narrated Steven Okazaki's 1991 Academy Award-winning documentary "Days of Waiting," about the western wife of a wartime Japanese-American internee.

In 1972 Dorothy helped found The Berkeley Institute for the Study of English where many Japanese students improved their English and were exposed to American culture in Berkeley. Later, the program was acquired by UC Berkeley.

She spent many years teaching and writing in Berkeley, earned two master's degrees from UC, and was on campus during the 1964 free speech demonstrations. Her teaching career also included work at Skyline College in San Bruno. She published numerous short stories, and her travel articles appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle and The Contra Costa Times. Dorothy bought her home in Berkeley in 1973, renting out the upstairs bedrooms to UC Berkeley grad students from all over the world.

Her friends and family treasured the many dinners and celebrations at her home and she was a welcome and beloved guest wherever she traveled. She was preceded in death by her brother Richard Stroup and sister Barbara Young. Dorothy is survived by her longtime companion and travel partner Alan Geller, her nieces Sarah Young and Elizabeth Sweeney, her nephews David and Andrew Young, grand niece Rachel Young and many dear cousins and friends around the world. Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimers Foundation of America. Services are pending.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Mar. 22 to Mar. 24, 2013