Dorothy Laverne Kalmbach McMillan
Dorothy Laverne Kalmbach McMillan
Born April 25, 1929, in a quaint and clean farmhouse in Jarrell, Texas, Dorothy Kalmbach came into this world as barely a whisper, following by a few years, her 12+ pound brother, Ardell. At least, that's how their mother described it. Dorothy picked cotton as a child and used an outhouse.
She was the valedictorian of Jarrell High School as well as class treasurer. After graduating, she followed her older sister Lorine to Austin and landed a job at the Capitol. A few years later, she met our father, Claude McMillan, on a blind date. He was a dapper young law student.
They were married in 1949, when she was 19. They were blessed with three children, Nancy Kay (Nancy), Robert Andrew (Bobby), and Kathryn Ann (Kathy).
Dorothy's sole occupation and one of her greatest sources of joy was being a mother. She played dolls with us and took us on picnics and to our favorite Austin swimming holes before the pools opened in summers.
She also lavished us with pets of all descriptions - kittens, rabbits, ducks, snakes, gerbils, a raccoon, an owl, and even a javelina! There were also many turtles - box turtles, water turtles, and Mexican tortoises. All these orphaned animals lived in our backyard if not our house and were even featured in the Austin American Statesman on two different occasions!
Once she and our dad became empty-nesters, mom took up painting. She gained a new group of lady friends in their classes at Laguna Gloria while developing a true artistic talent that ranged from acrylic and oil to watercolor. It was impressive to see her skill, having never done art in her youth.
Additionally, Dorothy was an active member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, where she taught Sunday School, was a deacon and elder, and was personally in charge of redesigning the flowerbeds and gardens that still grace the church grounds today.
Dorothy lost her husband, Claude, too soon to lung cancer, while at the same time receiving her own diagnosis of breast cancer - all while eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first grandchild. When considering her own treatment, she opted for the path to quickest recovery, as she only wanted to "heal and be able to hold her grandbaby"! Robert Carter Higgs was born 3 weeks after Claude's passing in 1983, which truly was the light she needed.
Robbie named his grandmother "DeeDee" early on, mostly because it was easy syllables he said repeatedly. DeeDee seemed fitting for Dorothy and from then until her passing, that was her name to all.
DeeDee enjoyed the birth of her first granddaughter Kelsey Elizabeth Higgs, soon after, followed in short order by Kathy's children, Charles, Kathryn, Mary Elizabeth, and Claudia. She loved nothing more than being surrounded by her grandchildren.
Dorothy remarried later in life to Curtis Andrews after his first wife died of cancer. She helped raise his four children, Curt, Terri, and twins, Carolyn and Craig, all of whom love her as a second mom.
The unexpected death of her son Bobby in 2012 caused her immeasurable grief, which took its toll physically. DeeDee entered assisted care at Brookdale Westlake Hills in 2014, where she resided until her death. She was the unofficial "Mayor" of Brookdale because she was loved by all. The family would like to thank the caretakers and staff at Brookdale Westlake Hills for the exceptional and loving care of DeeDee for the last seven years.
She leaves many family and friends to mourn her loss and rejoice in her memory. Her daughter Nancy McMillan Higgs, and grandchildren Robert Higgs (Laura), Kelsey Gallegos, and great grandsons Calvin and Max Gallegos. Her daughter Kathy Taylor and her husband Tim, and her grandchildren Charles Taylor, Kathryn Dean and her husband Mark (and great grandsons Peter and Micah Dean), Mary Elizabeth Fleming and her husband Parker, and Claudia Taylor. She is also survived by her sister-in-law Mimi Kalmbach, and her niece Shelley Stall; by Curt Andrews, Terri Rawls (Rocky), Carolyn McMullin (Glenn), and Craig Andrews, and by a host of other cousins, nieces and nephews who all love her dearly, along with many friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Westminster Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas. www.wpcaustin.org
A celebration of her life and tribute to her memory will be livestreamed on May 8th at 2:00 PM. Go to wpcaustin.org/worship/service/
and click on the Facebook Live or the YouTube Channel link.
Remembrances may be shared at www.wcfish.com
Published by Austin American-Statesman from Apr. 3 to Apr. 4, 2021.