Dorothy M. Blake, 87: Busy 'career woman,' active volunteer always had time for others

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SCARBOROUGH — Dorothy “Dot” May (Drinkwater) Blake, 87, died peacefully on Feb. 13 at Piper Shores.

She was born March 21, 1927, in Belfast, one of eight children of Doris Ruth (Knight) and Edward Barker Drinkwater. After graduating in 1945 from Rockland High School, she moved to Portland and attended the Maine General Hospital School of Nursing.

While in her training, she met Robert S. Blake, and the couple eloped on Nov. 15, 1947. A Portland newspaper had promised not to publish their marriage announcement, but mistakenly printed it anyway. The nursing school’s house mother read of the wedding, and forced Dorothy to leave her training, as students at the time were not allowed to be married.

As she and her husband started their family, Blake worked at Hay’s Drugstore and also as a waitress at a restaurant on Commercial Street in Portland. In 1957, after the births of her five children, she took a job at Hannaford Bros. Co. There, she was only the second woman to become a salaried employee. She went on to enjoy a successful career at the company, retiring after 30 years in 1987.

During her career, Blake also served as president of the board of directors of the Hannaford Employees Federal Credit Union. In addition, she and her husband were the driving force behind REACH, a Hannaford retiree volunteer group, of which she was president for several years. On behalf of the group, she accepted an award from the National Retirees Volunteer Council in 1991.

The Falmouth Lions Club presented its 1992 Citizen of the Year Award to Dorothy and Robert for their extensive volunteer work in the region. She was also asked to speak at a conference sponsored by former U.S. Sen. William Cohen on senior volunteerism.

While extremely busy as a wife, mother and volunteer, Blake also found time to sew and knit. She was always making something for someone: wedding gowns, prom dresses, Halloween costumes, Christmas stockings, baby sweaters, quilts and much more. 

Blake was predeceased by her husband of 55 years; her granddaughter, Heather Jo Blake; her brothers, Alton Drinkwater and Richard Lunt; and her sister, Alice Mank.

She is survived by her five children: Linda D. and husband, Al Carville, of Cape Elizabeth; Robert W., of Otisfield; Ronald E. and wife, Lisa, of Turner; Thomas E. and wife, Dee Dee, of South Portland; and Judith A. and husband, Tom Mosier, of Tolland, Connecticut. She also is survived by 13 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; three sisters, Shirley Bodman, Joyce Nemeth and Jean Curtis; and a brother, Royce Lunt.

At Blake’s request, there will be no funeral, but a celebration of her life will be held Friday, Feb. 20, from 3-4:30 p.m., at the Holbrook Building of Piper Shores Assisted Living, in Scarborough.

The family expresses its gratitude to the staff of Piper Shores, and asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Falmouth Land Trust or to the Piper Shores Memorial Fund, c/o Dorothy Blake, P.O. Box 6210, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107-0010.

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