Sharing the life of an amazing woman whose life was a dance of hard work and commitment to family and friends all while living through the dust bowl.
Dorothy Marie Moon-McKinley was born in Shattuc, IL on January 10, 1916, to parents Hattie Mae Zick and George Hoffman. She went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on October 13, 2013, in Las Vegas, NM, at the age of 97.
As a young child at age 3, Dorothy’s folks moved to Mills, NM where she grew up and attended school even playing on the girls’ basketball team during her high school years.
Music played an important part in Dorothy’s life with her favorite music being of the upbeat, toe-tapping variety. Her mother played guitar, teaching her daughter to sing and play a few chords. As a child Dorothy took every opportunity to play around on the piano. Later in life she followed her dream by taking piano lessons.
Dorothy recalled going to community dances in neighbor’s homes where all generations gathered to enjoy an evening. Included in the recalled memories of these gatherings was the wonderful live music. She was always proud to say good times were had by all and there was no alcohol involved.
It was at one of these gathering that she met Odel Moon when she was only 16 years old. They were married January 7, 1933 in Raton, NM when she was only 17. As an only child, it was quite a shock to suddenly be part of a large family. Odel was the next to oldest of 14 children from the Plainview, TX area.
During their early married life they farmed in the Mills and Yates communities. Dorothy did lots of canning filling the cellar each growing season from their large garden. She even canned meat as did many other people during those years prior to refrigerators. They milked cows and sold cream as well.
Dorothy told stories of New Mexico dust storms and how they would climb in bed, covering their heads to take refuge. After the dust storms, even during the 1950’s, dirt in the house would be piled from the window sill to the floor and had to be hauled out by the bucketfuls. She recalls ‘Black Sunday’ in the 1930’s when the dirt swallowed the sun which inspired the words to a song her oldest grandson wrote about his Grandma.
Dorothy’s mother had been an accomplished seamstress and Dorothy picked up the talent. She sewed many items of beautiful clothing as well as quilting even into her 80’s.
Two sons were born to the young couple, James Odel born in 1936 and Larry Edward born in 1942. Dorothy’s parents had moved back to Illinois to be near family because of her mother being ill. In 1944 Dorothy and Odel sold all their belongings and moved to Illinois to help care for Dorothy’s mother who was by then very ill. After Dorothy’s mother passed away they missed New Mexico and soon returned to Harding County.
Upon returning to Harding County in the mid 1940’s Odel’s love of farming/ranching led them to try to farm again. However they were never able to really make a go of it after having sold everything prior to moving to Illinois.
They moved to the town of Roy where Odel worked at the light plant and soon became an auto mechanic at Pendleton’s Garage. He was known as the “go to mechanic” for bringing a vehicle engine back to performing even better than new.
Around that same time Odel also started driving a rural school bus route for the Roy Schools. He traveled many miles through the dust, rain, mud, snow and ice always bringing the students safely to and from school.
In the early 1950’s, Dorothy started working in the small insurance office in Roy, NM. Eventually she took over as office manager until Odel’s 1968 retirement from Pendleton’s and the school bus route.
Dorothy, Odel and boys belonged to the United Methodist Church in Roy for many years later transferring their membership to the Roy First Baptist Church. Dorothy was a member of the famous Roy Baptist Church Choir during the 1950’s and 60’s. She also served several years as the church Treasurer.
Their son, James moved to California in 1955. In 1959 he joined the army, getting married that same year. After a stint in Germany, James and Sandy went back to California giving Dorothy and Odel their first grandchildren, twin girls, Rene’ and Rhonda.
In 1961 Larry married Pat Horn and also moved to California. Before long there were three more grandchildren, Natalie, Michael and Justin. With all those grandchildren in mind; in 1968, Odel and Dorothy followed their sons to California. Another grandson Melborne, was born in 1971.
After the move, Odel worked helping out one of his brother’s who had a roofing business as they enjoyed time with their sons’ families and many of Odel’s siblings, who had also migrated to California. Sadly, Odel had a stroke and passed away in 1969 at the age of 61. Dorothy stayed in their California home in Santa Clara and went to work for Fireman’s Fund Insurance, where she worked until retirement in 1980.
Upon retirement Dorothy moved to Mariposa, CA, where Larry was living. In 1985, she married her widowed brother-in-law, “Doc” McKinley. Doc had lost his wife Pearl, Odel’s sister, three years earlier. Dorothy and Doc enjoyed retirement life together until Doc’s death from cancer in 1996.
Perhaps the hardest loss for a parent, Dorothy lost her son James in 2000, after a long battle with cancer. In 2005 Dorothy returned to New Mexico to live in an independent living apartment in Santa Fe to be closer to Larry and Pat in their new home in the mountains west of Las Vegas.
A broken hip and increasing memory loss forced her into skilled nursing care in 2008. In spite of her losses and failings, during the last few years she had the pleasure of family visits, often including music. Her care-givers enjoyed her sweet, happy demeanor and love of life. She died peacefully with her son Larry, daughter-in-law Pat, and grandson Michael at her bedside.
Dorothy Marie Moon-McKinley was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 36 years, Clemmie Odel Moon, her second husband William “Doc” C. McKinley, son James Odel Moon, and a great-grandchild James Lee Simpson.
She is survived by her son, Larry Moon and his wife Pat of Las Vegas, NM. She has 6 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, 1 great grandchild and many other relatives and friends. The most important things in her life were family and friends.
Services were held at San Jose Funeral Service, San Jose, CA, on October 24, 2013. The service was followed by a graveside committal at Mission City Memorial Park Cemetery, Santa Clara, CA where she was laid to rest with her husband C. Odel Moon.
Dorothy was a member of the generation who took what they had and with hard work and commitment made it more than enough to take care of their family. At the end of each day she made note of each day’s happenings on her wall calendar transferring important dates to a note book. Christmas cards and letters always deserved a personally written answer as soon as possible after receipt.
A defining statement about Dorothy would be… “Dorothy showed her love for family and friends by commitment and dedication to them while honoring God in all she did.”
My take away from having this wonderful lady in my life for most of my life was respect for doing all I do in honor of God and others. She taught me many things simply by the way she lived. Some of them are (in no particular order):
· When there is a task to be done.. do it right.
· When there is a task to be done.. finish it.
· When there is a task to be done.. do it now.. do not put it off.
· When something important happens.. make a note of it on paper.
· Live within your means.. wants are not needs.
· A tidy, uncluttered house is easier to clean.
· A tidy, uncluttered house is always presentable for guests.
· Committed love will get you through the tough times.
What is your take away from reading this life story? Tell me in the comments below.
(follow this link to music and a video, Grandma's Dance compliments of Michael and Dawn Moon, grandchildren of Dorothy Moon-McKinley)
Pat has been married to the same man for 52 years, is the mother of 3 adult children, and grandma to 8 grandchildren. Growing up in the country gave her a head start to living a healthy lifestyle. This grandma became interested in nutrition as a mother and for the past 27 plus years she has specialized in teaching others the importance of good nutrition. Challenges along the road have been many; her father overcoming congestive heart failure with nutrition, her husband's battle with GERD and avoiding a major heart attack, her daughter's battle with a brain tumor, her grandson beating Hodgkin's Lymphoma, her mother's stage 4 lung cancer, her mom-n-law's dementia, and others. Her goal is to empower the future health of others with wisdom, knowledge and common sense so they can have the BEST REAL HEALTH possible.
Join Pat in having the Best Real Health possible.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(All information on this blog site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information on this site has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.)
Copyright© 2013 Pat Moon – All Rights Reserved!