Brattleboro - Dorothy J. Milkey, 99, of Brattleboro, Vermont died peacefully in her home on September 26th, 2017.
She was born on May 22, 1918 in Brattleboro, VT; graduated from Brattleboro High School in 1935; earned a secretarial degree from The Brattleboro Branch of Baypath College, Longmeadow, MA; and was married to Edwin W. Milkey on September 15, 1944.
She was predeceased by her parents, Alina Ingeborg and Thorwald Johnson, her husband Ed Milkey (2009), her daughter Joan Chavez (2010), and her two brothers, Harry Johnson and Ernie Johnson, Sr.
Dot’s parents emigrated from Sweden, and Swedish was her first language until she entered first grade. Learning English in that setting must have contributed to her incredible ability to become a high achieving student. She skipped sixth grade and then went on to graduate second in her class from high school. She was also secretary to the class of 1935 and continued to organize activities for her class for many years.
After marrying Ed, Dot joined the First Baptist Church, where she was an active member for many years. Once her four daughters were grown, she and Ed joined the choir, and until the age of 92, she “kept the books” for the Women’s Society.
Dot belonged to the Dennis Rebecca Lodge from the time she was young, though she wasn’t as active while raising her daughters. Well into her 90’s, she would mention going to meetings and making bandages for soldiers. She also volunteered for RSVP of Windham County, for several years keeping track of the hours for over 200 volunteers, doing the math by hand “to help keep her mind sharp.”
Employed by Huestis Supply Company in Brattleboro as a bookkeeper/stenographer after she graduated from Baypath, Dot left to raise her children in 1947. She returned to work for Huestis from 1961, when her youngest child reached first grade, until her retirement in 1981, continuing to manage the household while working full time - something that was less common in the early 60s than it is now. Hence, she was also the CFO of the Milkey family, managing all the finances so that her four daughters could all receive a college education - something that was out of her family’s reach when she finished high school.
Dot dedicated her life to the care of others. She was a devoted mother, providing a safe, nurturing environment for her four girls. Growing up during the depression and then living through WWII had a lasting impact on her: gas ration cards for some wedding presents allowed Dot & Ed to honeymoon in Maine; they used coded correspondence while Ed was overseas; and they both were committed to making their children’s lives easier than theirs. She was an environmentalist before the term was coined, saving, recycling and reusing long before it was common.
Dot has cared for many people during her lifetime, always willing to help others. Only recently did she need care herself. After Ed died in 2009, she lived alone until January 2013. The family was blessed to have a wonderful caregiver, Elizabeth Addey, live with her for the past 3 ½ years so that Dot could remain in her home of 64 years, where she wanted to be. They will be forever grateful to Elizabeth for her kind and loving care.
She is survived by her three daughters: Gini Milkey and Ed Paquin of Barre, VT; Sue and Bill Minard of Richmond, VT; and Mary Milkey-May and Ernie May of Amherst, MA; son-in-law Freddy Chavez of Albuquerque, NM, and sister-in-law, Lois Johnson of Cumming, Georgia. Dot was a wonderful “Mormor” to her three grandchildren: Jared and Arima Minard of Waterbury, VT; Kristin and Sean McMahon of Avon, CT, and Alfred and Kellan Mahoney-Chavez of Albuquerque, NM. In addition, she is survived by 8 step-grandchildren and several great grandchildren and step-great grandchildren, all of whom enriched her life, along with several nieces and nephews.
A private burial was held by the family on Sunday, October 1st. A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held on Saturday, October 14 at 11:00 AM at the First Baptist Church in Brattleboro. All arrangements were made by Atamaniuk Funeral Home in Brattleboro, VT.
The family is doubly blessed to have had Dot with them for so long, and she will be dearly missed by all who knew her. They would like to acknowledge the many years of outstanding care provided by Dr. John Glick for both their parents. As well, they would like to express gratitude to the Brattleboro Area Hospice for their extraordinary care.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First Baptist Church or Brattleboro Area Hospice.