April 29, 1925-Nov. 4, 2020
With her camel turtleneck tucked into pressed khaki trousers and meticulously coiffured brown hair, Dorothy Gallus Gravelle’s tenderness and quiet courage made her a bedrock of strength in the lives of her family and friends. It is with great sadness that her family announce Dorothy passed away November 4th, 2020 suddenly, but peacefully, of complications from a recent illness.
Dorothy graced the lives of family and friends with her rich and storied ninety five-years. She was a treasured wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt; a generous and warmhearted friend to a multitude; a truly kind and gentle soul. She embraced everyone she knew firmly in her arms and in her love. Dorothy was remarkable for her unmatched listening abilities, undivided attention, and unwavering faith, which made those in her company feel heard and cherished. Dorothy was born in Little Falls, Minnesota in 1925, to Mary and Daniel Gallus. She was the tenth of eleven siblings in a tight-knit, musical family. Dorothy excelled at mathematics, outscoring everyone in her high school class. At the age of 19, she was recruited for this talent to work as an administrative accountant in a POW camp during WWII.
Following the war, she married her lifelong love, Charles “Chuck” Gravelle in 1949. They were married for 57-years, when he preceded her in death in 2006. Dorothy and Chuck moved to Atherton, CA in 1962 where they lived for over 50-years before they moved into the Vi in Palo Alto. They made a life for themselves, textured with hard-work, travel, sports, family fun, and tradition.
Above all, Dorothy was an extraordinary and hands-on mother and grandmother who offered indefatigable interest and support to her children Doug, Steve and Cindra, and grandchildren Kelly, Stephanie and Alex. “Nana” was their rock, the rose of their lives, and every birthday, holiday, and special occasion always found them gathered around the table.
Dorothy didn’t tell them how to live; she lived and let them learn by watching her do it. They learned the essentials of how to live a good life, from the practical lessons of sewing, ironing, cooking, good nutrition, and keeping a tidy home, to the larger, more essential lessons of self-esteem and self-confidence. She set the example for choosing the morally right path, being a friend to everyone, helping the less fortunate, and being a giver not a taker. Above all she led with the power of faith as her cornerstone.
In addition to motherhood, Dorothy had many interests and hobbies. She traveled internationally along-side Chuck throughout his career. She explored foreign cities on her own and met up with Chuck in the evening to share her adventures over wine and cheese. She enjoyed golfing at Menlo Country Club and Hawaii, boating at Tahoe and the Delta, bridge and cards, French cooking, art and metalworking, read-ing, and gardening. Today, the rose garden she planted at her home on Park Lane continues to thrive under the care of its current owners.
Throughout her life, Dorothy was an active member of the Church of the Nativity. Faith, prayer, and solitude were the source of her tungsten-like strength, sustaining her through many losses during her life. Her unwavering hope and confidence that she would be reunited with Chuck, her sons Stephen and Doug, her 10 siblings, and best friend Lucille, brought her comfort to her final day.
Dorothy’s strength, elegance, and generosity live on through her daughter Cynthia Gravelle, grandchil-dren Kelly Nicholson, Stephanie and Alex Sliwinski, brother in-law Richard and wife Rose Gravelle, nieces and nephews Kathy and Dan Furtado, Mary Liz Perez, Stephanie and Greg Siegel, Mike and Andrea Gravelle, Barbara and Greg Thomas, Pamela Fritz Lott, Mary and Mark Kedrowski, Tom and Patty Meagher, and Marilyn and Phil Prozinski, and 18 grand-nieces and nephews.
We look forward to sharing a celebration of her life when a gathering can be held in her honor.
Donations may be made to “Foothill Auxiliary to Peninsula Family Service,” 24 Second Avenue, San Mateo, California 94401