DOROTHY ANN HART passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at the age of 79, surrounded by her family and friends in Fairfield, California.
She was born July 10, 1939, at Saint Catherine’s Hospital in East Chicago, Indiana where she lived and worked in ‘The Harbor’ area until 1966 when she met and married her husband of 52+ years, Marshall Hart. Dorothy met Marshall on a blind date, introduced by Marshall’s cousin, Tess and during their courtship Marshall was able to convince Dorothy to marry him after he promised he would buy her a horse. Shortly after they were married, they moved to California; living in Petaluma, Vallejo and finally settling in the Napa Valley where she finally received her horse in the early 1970s.
Dorothy had several horses during her lifetime, but her love for Arabian horses spread quickly to her family and together they participated and won in many horse shows at local, state and nationals levels. She also became active as a 4-H leader and when no one stepped up, Dorothy eagerly volunteered to be the Sheep leader in the local 4-H charter. While she did not know anything about raising sheep, she took on the task of learning with the children and within a few years, the Rutherford 4-H Sheep group became well known for their success in the Napa Valley.
Her love for animals continued long after the horses and sheep went away, and while dogs had always been a part of her family life, Dorothy ended up joining her daughter, Ruth, in raising and showing Boxer dogs. Again, she jumped in eager to learn and took it seriously when breeding her dogs; always looking to advance the breed with better health and breed type. You can call it luck or maybe her dedication to doing it correctly, but her breeding program produced many well recognized national & international champions. Their kennel name Crossroad Boxers is still a respected name in the Boxer community even though it has been out of the breeding program for over 15 years.
Later in life, after her retirement from the Department of Fish & Game, Dorothy rediscovered her love of art. She took painting classes at the local college and continued to challenge herself and improve her skills by working with many different formats; acrylics, oils, watercolor, etc. Whenever you came to visit Dorothy at her home, you would quickly observe all the beautiful paintings hung on the walls, and you couldn’t help but notice her newest project sitting on the easel. While she loved to talk about her work, she rarely ‘liked’ anything she finished, hence her family nickname “The Reluctant Artist.”
Dorothy also had a talent for crocheting the most beautiful and sought after afghans. She crocheted in her downtime, as she said it kept her hands busy. Dorothy could make an entire afghan in less than a week and generously gave them away to family, friends and local charities. Her artwork and afghans left behind are considered family treasures that will be cherished forever.
All of her life, Dorothy was an avid reader and after retirement discovered the ease and enjoyment of audio books. She was often found with headphones in her ears listening to her favorite authors while painting, crocheting or searching for a new recipe for the evening meal. Her extensive collection of recipe books are full of notes, tags and ear marked pages of her favorite recipes.
Aside from Dorothy’s love of animals and art, her greatest joy came from her time spent with her family and friends. From the many traditional family taco nights, trips to Disney, to just stopping by for a visit to Grandma’s house, she lit up the room with her smile, warmth, and wit.
Dorothy will be missed tremendously by those who loved her and we are thankful for the many special and beautiful memories she has left behind. Please don’t keep those memories to yourself, but help keep her memory alive and share a thought or story about Dorothy with someone you know and bring a smile to their face. She was too special to forget.
Dorothy is survived by her husband of almost 53 years, Marshall Hart of Fairfield, CA. Their daughter, Ruth Appleby, and son-in-law Patrick Appleby of Yountville, CA. Her amazing grandchildren, Richard (Christina) Appleby of Napa, Matthew (Caren) Appleby of Fairfield & Eric (Michela) Appleby of American Canyon. She also left behind six incredible Great Grandchildren, Christopher, Paige, Claire, Grace, Ryan & Emma. She is survived by her brother Paul (Bonnie) Ross of Plainfield, IN, four nephews and a niece. She is preceded in death by her parents Hershel & Opal Ross, and her sister Jean (Harry) Stoddard.
The family wishes to extend their thanks, love and gratitude to everyone who supported and followed Dorothy and the family with their prayers and caring words throughout the final months of her life. If this family could leave you with just a few quick thoughts from this amazing woman it would be, spend time with your family, do what you love and most importantly, ‘Eat dessert first!’
A Celebration of Life
with a ‘dessert’ theme is scheduled to honor
Saturday, May 18, 2019,
from 4pm - 6pm
at the home of Pat & Ruth Appleby.
Please feel free to join us to honor Dorothy and share a story that will make us smile.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to your favorite charity in Dorothy’s name.