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Obituary of Dorothy Elaine Peterson
Dorothy Elaine Robison-Peterson, age 89, passed away on July 10th, 2021, at home admiring her garden of flowers. She was born on March 22, 1932, in rural Sherman County, Oregon. She was number 5 in a family of 8 children. Her parents were farmers and peach growers, George W. and Alma Harper Blackburne. Dorothy is survived by her brother Paul, sister Patty (White), and two children, Christine (Hoyt) and Stephen Robison. During her lifetime she learned to work hard, value family and friends, love and care for animals (especially horses and dogs), grow gardens, make time for flowers, play piano, bake pies and rolls, raise children, dote on her grandchildren, and nurture her artistic soul. We were fortunate to be part of her life. Dorothy attended school in Rufus, Oregon, graduating high school in 1950, as class co-valedictorian. She played volleyball (Go Wolverines!) Dorothy was an avid horse rider through her entire life, starting in childhood on the family farm. As a teen, she rode her horse, Kitten, across the ferry from Oregon to Washington at Maryhill, long before the current bridge was built. Her sister Georgiana lived in Maryhill, and it was on the Washington side that she met her future husband Donald Robison. Don and Dorothy were married in the Methodist church in Goldendale, WA, on September 10, 1950. They moved downriver to Portland soon after, and had three children, Christine, Michael, and Stephen, born in 1952, 1954, and 1959. The family spent their early years in northeast Portland to make it easier to return back to family in Rufus and Maryhill. Dorothy, or Dottie as her friends called her, exceled at growing flowers and sewing. Both Don and Dorothy worked hard to provide for their family- at one point Don worked a second evening job delivering Chinese food, while Dorothy often worked evening or weekend shifts at local golf clubs and restaurants. When not working, the family camped, fished, and hiked the gorge and coasts of Oregon and Washington. Starting in 1964, Dorothy began studying art under the well-known Northwest artists George and Nancy Holden at Cliffs, Washington, upriver from Maryhill. Dorothy enjoyed painting horses and Western scenes, but primarily was known for oil portraits of older, strong charactered men. Dorothy met some commercial success selling these portraits, but preferred to spend the majority of her time in caring for her family. She continued to paint and draw throughout her life, and was a member of the Valley Art Guild in Yamhill County when she passed away. She had a gift, and so did we. We were all so proud of her ability as an artist. As children grew older, Dorothy began a career as an assistant insurance underwriter, working for several companies in the Portland area. In the mid 1970’s she took another leap to work for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, becoming one of the first women to be issued a deputy’s badge there. She continued to work for the Sheriff’s Department until her retirement. Don and Dorothy divorced in 1977, but reunited in 1990. In 1984, Dorothy married Art Peterson. Art was an avid naturalist and rock-hound, and Dorothy accompanied him on many adventures. Dorothy also raised old stock quarter horses on her 12 acre farm in Hillsboro, riding them in local parades as well on mountain trails and beaches. She lived in the Hillsboro area until Art’s death in 1989. In 1990 Dorothy sold her Hillsboro property and retired, along with Don, to a rural 29 acre tree farm in Grand Ronde. Here Dorothy continued her art work, raised quarter horses, and tended acres of garden for the next 30 years. It was a good life, though both worked hard to maintain a large property. She and Don enjoyed many friendships from fellow artists, neighbors, and community. They worked their land, collected treasures, maintained the family home, and grew old together. Dorothy continued to ride her horses until “the ground got too far down.” She sold her beloved horses and got a little John Deere that she rode around the property. She loved to mow her yard and pastures. There is still a John Deere Only parking sign in the her driveway. Dorothy was preceded in death by her son Michael (1954 - 2012), and by Don (1931 - 2017). She is much loved, admired, and missed by all who had the privilege to know her. A celebration of Dorothy’s life will be held at 11 am on Saturday, August 21st, at the community church in Maryhill, Washington. All are invited to come. The family asks you bring a memory and a pie to share. There will be a light lunch, including her famous rolls, following the service.
Saturday, August 21, 2021
103 Maryhill Highway
Goldendale, Washington, United States