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Doroth Koenig


1933 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Doroth Koenig Obituary
Dorothy Ann Koenig

March 18, 1933 - May 28, 2018

Dorothy Ann Koenig, age 85 of Berkeley, California died on May 28th, 2018, from complications of peripheral and coronary artery disease. Born and raised in San Francisco, she resided in the Bay Area for most of her life, excepting 9 years spent living and teaching in East Africa. Her early years were greatly influenced by her father's large Bay Area family of German ancestry and her mother and aunts who relocated from rural Kentucky to San Francisco. Love of language and appreciation for rural sensibilities remained cherished values throughout her lifetime.

Dorothy loved learning. A blazing curiosity was a signature trademark that followed her throughout life. She was a proud graduate of Lowell High School in San Francisco and of the University of California at Berkeley. She received an undergraduate degree in English with honors, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her Junior Year, and earned a Masters degree in Library Science. While she dabbled with pursuing a doctoral degree, she opted instead to develop and follow her own intellectual passions. Major pursuits included: the study of Incan culture and language, a fascination with Latin and Middle English, mastery of German, French, Spanish and Swahili, and a deep appreciation of the Dutch language. Dorothy was internationally respected among genealogical scholars. She identified her maternal ancestors as among earliest Dutch settlers of New York City. This propelled a fifteen-year-long publication. New Netherland Connections, which traced the migration of the passengers from a single ship landing in New York and their subsequent dispersal throughout the colonial frontier.

One of the most formative parts of Dorothy's life was her decision, after college, to join a Catholic missionary order, the Maryknoll Sisters. She was assigned to Tanganyika, Africa (now Tanzania) at a time when few Americans were living, working or visiting the area. She taught English and Geography to the first generation of African girls who, later, took on leadership roles after Uhuru (Tanzanian independence). She and her students composed a prayer known as "The African Canticle," which, many years later, was recognized by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. While Dorothy ultimately chose to leave the convent, under her obligation of holy obedience she embraced numerous challenges. In addition to spending nine years in Africa, she both wrote and performed a religious puppet show broadcast live from Rockefeller Center in New York City every Sunday morning.

When Dorothy returned from Africa, she was hired by the University of California Anthropology Library. She later split her time among Anthropology, the Library Science collection, and General Reference. She happily worked in the library system for forty years. Dorothy's varied intellectual interests, voracious reading habits and ability to retain, synthesize, and readily recall information made her one of the best reference librarians in the University of California system.

Dorothy recognized the importance of balance, the Yin and Yang of life. She self-identified as a "Seeker." She not only studied ancient eastern philosophies, she put them into practice. She found community at Saint Alban's Episcopal Church where she made many cherished friends. Her home pursuits included cultivation of a large kitchen garden, enjoyment of simple, fresh "farm" to table meals, a decades-long weekly coffee klatch with her long-time friend Emma, adopting unique cats, regular competitive poker games where laughter reigned and, most recently, a surprising but avid interest in following the San Francisco Giants along with good friends Deni and Robert. She was highly regarded and shared heartfelt friendships with neighbors, local shop employees, delivery persons, service providers and the health professionals who increasingly provided support during her later years.

Dorothy was predeceased by her sister, Walita Lee Koenig, her parents, Karl Frederick Koenig and Daisy Lee Worthington, her Aunts Alice Koenig, and Ethel and Billie Worthington. She is survived by her longtime companion Lenore Ralston, close cousin Karen Worthington, numerous Koenig and Worthington family members and many, many wonderful friends.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 2 PM at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, 1501 Washington Avenue, Albany, CA 94706.

Should you wish to make a contribution in Dorothy's name, the charities which she recently supported include:

St. Alban's Episcopal Church, 1501 Washington Ave, Albany, CA 94706;
San Francisco Zen Center 300 Page St, San Francisco, CA 94102-5649;
The Milo Foundation (animal rescue), 220 S Garrard Blvd, Richmond, CA 94801.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on June 3, 2018
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