Dorothy Louise Alderson 'Dori' Starkey
July 16, 1935 - January 27, 2021
Dori Starkey passed away peacefully on January 27, 2021. Dori was born July 16, 1935 in San Diego to Dorothy Louise McNeil Alderson and Winston Towle Alderson. She spent her first years in the Johnstown area near Lakeside; her family then moved to the Hillcrest area when her father, an engineer, began work at Ryan Aeronautical in San Diego. She attended Alice Birney Elementary School, Horace Mann Middle School, where she was class valedictorian, and San Diego High, where she was involved in many activities and served as head cheerleader and art director of the yearbook. She cherished sports and regularly played softball, basketball and tennis- she was an avid tennis player and fan until late in life. Equally at home in a studio and on the court, she went on to attend Scripps College on an academic scholarship, selecting it for the quality of its art program but lamenting the lack of a women's basketball team. At Scripps she worked with Phil Dike and Millard Sheets, and received the Nicholson Award for the study of art. She went on to graduate study at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and further study in Mexico City. Dori met Craig Starkey while working at Alderson Jewelers in Hillcrest, and they were married in 1960. They moved to Chula Vista in 1962 and then to Rancho Santa Fe in 1971. Dori was devoted to the San Diego community and played an active role in many civic and charitable organizations including Las Madrinas, Junior League of San Diego, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Symphony Association, Children's Hospital Auxiliary, National Charity League, Wednesday Club, and ZLAC Rowing Club. She resumed her art career in the late 1980s, joining the Market Street Group of artists, and opened a gallery in Rancho Santa Fe in 1990, which she operated until 2013. She found a mentor in the renowned Spanish impressionist painter Sebastian Capella, who would inform her work until his death. During this time she traveled extensively with Craig and gathered material for her paintings, which were exhibited widely including in an exhibition in Paris. Dori was instrumental in the founding of the Rancho Santa Fe Art Guild and was a member of the La Jolla Art Association. A woman of deep faith, she served for decades with the Altar Guild of St. Peter's Church in Del Mar. Dori was an exceptional, engaging woman who exuded natural grace, genuine style, warmth, and charm with her welcoming smile and good word for all those who spent time with her. She had a sincere interest in others, a gift for listening, a sympathetic spirit, and also a keen sense of her own passions. A woman of many talents, Dori would attend social events, including the Charity Ball, often in formal attire she made herself inspired by haute couture - a skill she learned from her mother who made outfits from designs she found in Vogue. She was a devoted, encouraging mother, often described as an angel on earth who looked for the good in others and brought it out in them. She was blessed with a best friend for life in her twin sister Donna and had the affection and devotion of all her family. She is survived by her children Scott (Carrie) Starkey, Charles (Nicole) Starkey, and Kirsten Starkey (Todd) Telander, and grandchildren Miles Telander, Oliver Telander, Madeline Starkey, Abigail Starkey, and Emma Louise Starkey. She was preceded in death by her parents and sisters Donna Alderson Abbey, and Ann Alderson Cannon. A memorial gathering will be planned at a future time.
Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on Mar. 14, 2021.