Dorris Bergstrom passed away peacefully on October 24, 2020 in Seattle, Washington at the age of 97. Born in 1923 in North Fork, California to Robert and Edith Caballero, Dorris spoke fondly of her childhood growing up enjoying life's simple pleasures with her beloved sisters Lolita, Edith (Messner), Lorraine (Bauermeister) and brother Bob. The five of them were each other's favorite playmates and loved hiking and exploring the California foothills. Her family later moved to Los Angeles, where Dorris discovered her passion for drawing. During her youth, she drew paper dolls, as well as everything else that interested her. Unknowingly, she developed an outstanding portfolio by the age of 20, which impressed an animator friend and led to a job in the Ink and Paint Department of Warner Bros. Classic Animation. There she became an Assistant Animator and her work included Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester and Tweety. Dorris then worked at Walt Disney Studios on movies including Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. She was fortunate to work with some of the most talented and creative artists from the Golden Age of Screen Cartoons and shared many stories of her fun-filled days in the studios. In 1954, she married David Lower and happily became a homemaker to raise her two daughters, Denise and Julie in Laurel Canyon and later Westlake Village. Dorris returned to work in 1972 and continued her career in animation until her retirement in 1986. During this second stage of her career, she worked at Filmation Studios (Archie's Series); Hanna-Barbera Productions (Heidi's Song, Charlotte's Web, The Tom and Jerry Shows, Flintstones, Pink Panther, Star Fairies); Bill Melendez, Inc. (Peanuts, Flash Beagle); Mihahn Inc. (The Chipmunks Adventure); Ruby-Spears Productions (Scooby-Doo); Bakshi Productions (The Lord of the Rings); and Walt Disney Animation Studios (The Little Mermaid). In 1974, Dorris married Bill Bergstrom and over the years lived in California, Hawaii and then Washington. Together they pursued their interest in music and growing orchids, becoming active members of the Thousand Oaks Classical Music Club, and the Malibu, Conejo and Hilo Orchid Societies. They also shared travel adventures exploring Europe and collecting orchids throughout South America. Dorris will be remembered as a gentle person with a big heart who loved people, animals, plants, music, and of course, many forms of art. She was a very loving, supportive and exceptional mother and grandmother, who will be dearly missed. Dorris is survived by her daughter Julie Lower Shaw (George); her grandchildren Forrest Escobedo, Monica Shaw and Andrea Shaw; and her stepchildren Rick Bergstrom, Cindy Bell, Dennis Bergstrom and Darren Bergstrom. She was preceded in death by her husband Bill Bergstrom in 2020, daughter Denise Escobedo in 2018 and her four siblings. Due to the Coronavirus, a celebration of life for Dorris will be held in California in 2021.
Published in Los Angeles Daily News on Dec. 6, 2020.