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Dorothy Forgey - Celebrating 100 years

By: Katherine Trowbridge

February 29, 2024

Dorothy Forgey was joined by family and friends at a celebration of her 100th year of life on Saturday, Feb. 11. Dot, as she is affectionately called by her grandchildren, wasn't in favor of the celebration and told her daughter so. Despite her reluctance, she was excited to see many who came and expressed her gratitude to all who came to celebrate with her.

Guests shared a variety of memories with us from her days as a waitress at the Golden Harvest and Hazy’s to her days as a bus driver, her kind heart, and her sense of humor. 

Connie Koch shared, Dorothy was our bus driver back in the day. She drove a suburban to get the Heiders, Herrons…. I had so many conversations with her.” Koch added that she grew up with her son, Pat. “She has been a dear friend all through the years. She had a positive influence on my life,” Koch said.

Marcial Heider, Koch’s mom added, “I’m just thankful she kept all the children safe. She was a safe and caring bus driver for all her students.” 

Cindy Welch recalled when her mom and all the ladies used to get together and play cards, including Dorothy.

Mary (Cerna) Pruett stated the Forgeys were one of the first families they met when they first moved here. Her kids were the same age as Pruett’s siblings and so they grew up together. Over 60 years they have known Dorothy. 

Casey Hart recalled babysitting across the street from Dorothy’s house while in high school while “Dot” would be taking care of her grandchildren. She observed, “She was always really attentive and a good grandma.” 

Bob Vanderbilt said he remembered that yellow house on the corner was, “always Mrs. Forgey’s house.” 

Sharon Jensen Ford, the oldest Forgey cousin, stated her mom didn’t like Dorothy when she married her brother. They had a hard time getting to know each other but after a while became the greatest of friends. Ford stated she is a wonderful cook and loving mother. She told of when Aunt Dorothy sent her a Christmas card with a message from her mom (after she had passed) and how much that meant to her. “She is such a good person,” Ford said.

Another recalled when Aunt Dorothy was up on the mountain picking huckleberries at age 92. 

Her neighbor told us that she made cookies to give them for Christmas, at age 99. They also said she can often be found talking over the fence.

Dorothy shared, “I never thought I’d live to be 100. I really don’t feel 100, except for my arthritis.” She added, “I’m thankful my mind is still good and I can still walk around.”

There is a lot of life to share in 100 years. Dorothy said she went through the depression, attended a one room school house from grades three to eight, and walked two miles to school. She said they had a radio but no TV. Life was much quieter. “To tell you the truth, I’d like to throw the TV, internet, computer, and those cell phones - all that out the door,” she said.

She explained food wasn’t so easy to come by, we grew our own.

“I look back and, you know, those days were hard, but still we learned a lot from them,” she said, “Your neighbors were so willing to help you.”

Dorothy was born in Sandpoint, Idaho in 1924. Her mother died when she was eight years old. She is the eighth child of 13 (and the last living member of her siblings). Her favorite color is green. 

She came to the Columbia Basin in 1949 to 1951. Her husband, Jim, worked for the railroad and they moved to Montana and back to Idaho before settling in Connell permanently in 1956. “It’s been 68 years now,” she said, “I think it was a good move.” 

This wasn’t the only celebration this month. In honor of her 100th birthday, the railroad also honored her with a plaque.

Dorothy’s motto for life, “Be kind to everybody and help them as much as you can.”

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