WASHINGTON, D.C. — Dorotha Dailey Hershey (Dottie), 96, passed away April 28, 2017, at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C. Dottie was born on March 11, 1921, in Great Bend to Jack and Ann (Kummer) Dailey. Raised there, she attended St. Rose Elementary School and Great Bend High School. In 1942 she moved to Los Angeles, Calif. and worked at North American Aviation.
Learning about the formation of the Women Marines, she enlisted, becoming a member of the second class to complete basic training at Hunter College in New York City. Dottie’s first duty station was Camp Lejeune Marine Base in North Carolina as an assistant cook. Subsequently promoted to Staff Sergeant, E-6, she served as a mess supervisor.
While there, she met and married Cpl. Rodger Hershey, making Marine Corps history as the first two Marines married with permission. Dottie loved Rodger and their nomadic military life for the 30 years of his service in the Carolinas, California, Virginia and Hawaii. Of note, she cared for their homes and children single-handedly during Rodger’s many deployments overseas.
Honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, Dottie worked as an executive secretary in numerous fields, both military and civilian. After the arrival of children, though content to be known as a homemaker, she was a most active and conscientious volunteer. After Rodger’s second retirement, they moved to Pittsburgh, Pa., especially enjoying their travels to coin and military conventions in the USA, and memorable trips to Germany, Italy, the U.K., Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Ireland. Dottie returned to Great Bend to live after her husband’s passing in 1996 until 2002. She spent the last 15 years of her life in a military environment and a city she considered one of the most beautiful in the world, Washington D.C.
She will be remembered by family and friends for her thoughtfulness and generosity, steel trap memory, baking skills, green thumb, and her Emily Post-approved way of life. She was the queen of presentation, an avid reader, clipper of newspaper articles, fan of JFK and World War II movies, and openly patriotic. (To her children’s chagrin, she sang the national anthem aloud in base movie theaters.) Most importantly to her, she was proudly and fiercely independent until her last few months.
She was predeceased by her parents, beloved husband, Rodger, and siblings, Don Dailey, Patricia Dillard, Gwen Bible, Jack Dailey Jr., William Dailey, Peggy Dailey, Jim Dailey, Jerry Dailey and two infant brothers. Surviving siblings are Dick Dailey of Great Bend, Janiece Burke of Denver, Colo., and Eleanor Dailey of Great Bend; as well as sisters-in-law Francine Dailey of Sandy, Utah, and Betty Dailey of Tulsa, Okla.
Dottie is survived by seven children, Suzanne (Patrick) Ford of Smyrna, Del., Ed Hershey of Woodburn, Ore., Michelle (Nick) Poccia of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Denise (Pete) Seaman of Bremerton, Wash., Paul Hershey of Redondo Beach, Calif., Jim (Dora) Beavers of Kailua, Hawaii, and Stephen (Peggy) Alford of Ulysses; 17 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.
Dottie will be honored at a group memorial service at Armed Forces Retirement Home - D.C. at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24. Her inurnment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery with military honors at a date yet to be determined where she will share a niche in the columbarium with her husband Lt. Col. Rodger E. Hershey.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Women Marines Association Emergency Needs Fund, P.O. Box 377, Oaks, PA 19456-0377.
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, May 21, 2017**