Terese (Dotsy) Yaffe
1927 - 2020
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Terese (Dotsy) Yaffe

Northampton, MA — "Growing old is not for sissies," so lamented Dotsy Yaffe on numerous occasions in the last 10 years or so of her life. Indeed, she lived out her advancing years braver than most and with a zest for life until the very end of hers on December 22, 2020 at the age of 93.

Born Terese Lucille at home in Joliet, Illinois in 1927, her dad took one look at her and proclaimed, "she is as small as a dot. I will call her Dotsy." So became her life-long nickname.

Dotsy met hardship early when her dad died of a heart attack when she was 14 years old and her mom of a broken heart when she was 15. Raised next by her sister Genevieve who was 10 years her senior and her brother-in-law Joe, Dosty fondly remembers her sister as "very strict" and yet recognized the burden they shared. Her teenage years were full of warmth and simple pleasures. Her pals Lorraine, Lil and Shirley helped her through.

She graduated Joliet Township High School and attended secretarial school.

In 1951, Dotsy married Bill Carnegie, musician and bandleader. They bore and raised a son in Joliet before moving briefly to Upstate New York where their daughter was born and 3 months later packed up the family in a red 1957 Thunderbird and drove west across the country to settle in California's San Fernando Valley. Dotsy went to work as an executive secretary to the agency manager at Mutual of New York and Southern Cal Financial so she could assist Bill through college. She ended up raising her children as a single mother teaching values of love, caring and frugality. She married Seymour Yaffe in 1975. She and Sy retired to Las Vegas in 1994 enjoying golf and card games with new friends, early bird dinners and shows on the strip as well as nickel slots. It was right after Sy's passing in 2008 that Dotsy lost her vision with a macular hole in one eye and a detached retina in the other. She returned to Los Angeles to live with her son and his family and then in 2013 Dotsy returned to the East coast living with her daughter and family before moving to the Rockridge Retirement Community in Northampton. Her infectious warmth and eternally bright smile brought light to her fellow residents and staff alike. Dotsy's resilience in overcoming the obstacles of near blindness inspired all who knew her.

She possessed a playful sense of humor and cheerful enthusiasm for life and she never missed an opportunity to point out your best virtues while always expressing gratitude for your presence whether you were the hired driver delivering her to an outing or appointment or the surgeon who replaced a hip.

She loved a good (audio) book, a cold salted beer, dancing, dirty martinis, telling bawdy jokes, reciting limericks, and being your biggest cheerleader. She disliked and had no tolerance for rudeness.

She attended every one of her son's basketball games and her daughter's swim meets, and each grandchild's bar and bat mitzvah, soccer, volleyball, basketball games and graduations.

She took a girl's trip annually with Lorraine, Lil and Shirl, and emphasized the meaningful importance of friendship and laughter. Near blindness did not dilute her joyful spirit or her willingness to accept every invitation to try something new or seize every opportunity to travel somewhere with family. She 100% squeezed every single drop from this life.

Dotsy is survived by her children and grandchildren whose every accomplishment she shared regularly and with pride to all her friends and the staff at Rockridge as well as grocery store and pharmacy check out clerks: son Alan Carnegie of Tarzana, CA, (first daughter- in-law Ronda Carnegie, future daughter-in-law Jill Varon, grandchildren Joseph Carnegie and Megan Amram, and Stella Carnegie and Bryce Beisswanger); daughter Dana Carnegie of Amherst, MA, ("son-of-one-gun-in-law", Steven Toutant, and grandchild Jesse Carnegie-Toutant), as well as niece Jodi Kammerer and Kevin, (great nieces Shanon Anderle and Chelsea Kammerer, great grand nieces Emerson and Sutton); dear and longest friend Lorraine Pojman and so many adoring extended family and friends too numerous to mention but not forgotten.

Dotsy is reunited with her first husband and favorite dance partner, Bill Carnegie and her second husband and adoring soul mate Seymour Yaffe both of whom visited her regularly in her dreams the last few years of her life, obviously willing her back to them; her sister and brother-in-law Genevieve and Joe Basinger; and her granddaughter Pearl Terese.

Her strength, resilience, faith and love linger on for those whose lives Dotsy touched.

A virtual celebration of Dotsy's life will take place on July 18, at 3pm Pacific, 6pm Eastern on Zoom. Link available at time of service at www.rememberingdotsyyaffe.com. As per her wishes, burial of ashes will take place in California, in September. In Dotsy's memory donations may be made to Perkins Library, 175 N. Beacon Street, Watertown, MA 02472-2790, however modest. The family would cherish your memories of Dotsy at www.rememberingdotsyyaffe.com

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Jun. 11, 2021.
Celebration of Life
Link available at time of service at www.rememberingdotsyyaffe.com
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