The Port Arthur News
Dorothy Ann Preston Short, age 85, passed away April 1, 2014. She was a loving wife to husband, Bill, and a wonderful mother to her two sons, Jerry and Michael. Her family was her greatest priority and joy in life.
Dorothy was raised on a farm in Burkburnett, Texas, where her father operated a dairy, which later evolved into a creamery operation known as Preston Dairy Products. Her father also farmed and raised cattle. Dorothy worked on the farm throughout her early youth, milked cows, rode horses, and also participated in milk delivery in the mornings before school. On days when her chores made her late for school, she began to believe she might be special when no one asked about her tardiness, but that might have actually resulted from her father being on the school board. She played tennis and participated in elocution competitions in school. Her mother trained her in elocution. She was selected as Rode Queen in Burkburnett one year, another event which may have added to her thoughts of being special, but that may have actually resulted from her father donating the land where rodeo events took place. Like all growing up during World War II, she learned of the sacrifices required in those times.
Dorothy was introduced to her future husband, Bill Short, by her cousin Brack Preston, while attending Hardin College in Wichita Falls, Texas. Although previously hearing about his impressive personality, she asked her cousin “What’s so hot about him?” after the initial meeting however, she must have decided there was something there because she married him shortly thereafter on August 23, 1947.
Dorothy and Bill left the Burkburnett/Wichita Falls area to attend the University of Oklahoma. First son, Jerry, was brought into the world in 1950. They moved to the Groves/ Port Arthur, area in 1951, where Bill went to work for Gulf Oil Corporation as a Chemical Engineer. Michael was added to the family there in 1952. Bill’s career included several transfers: to Holland; back to Port Arthur; to Buras, Louisiana; back to Port Arthur; to Los Angeles; and finally to Houston, where Bill retired in 1977. Dorothy was the backbone of the Short family in all of the moving and uprooting. When Hurricane Camille destroyed their home in Buras, Louisiana in 1969, Dorothy did not hesitate to become an expert with liquid Lysol to clean what could be salvaged. She could always rise to the task. Dorothy was a doting mother. She encouraged her children to seek higher educations and both obtained two college degrees. She cooked, hammered, stained, sanded, painted, and insulated when the family built a vacation house on weekends, primarily by themselves, in Sam Rayburn. Although unbeknown to her, that house would become the home she lived in longer than any other.
When Bill experienced kidney failure after retirement and endured nearly seven years, Dorothy drove him to and from dialysis each time and even assisted Bill in hemo-dialysis at home in Sam Rayburn for a period of time. When additional moves were needed for Bill’s medical conditions to Beaumont and later the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Dorothy was again up for the task. She took care of the moves, mostly on her own. She was a trooper. But after his passing in 1995, she moved back to Sam Rayburn.
Dorothy loved dogs, particularly one little miniature Dachshund for 15 years. But after he died, she could not bear the pain of loss again, and instead collected miniature dachshund figurines and images to fill the void. She also collected angel figurines.
She loved to travel and continued to do so even in her later years. In July of 2013, she and son Michael spent nine days in Rome. In 2012, they made trips to Scotland and Switzerland. Another trip was planned to Canada later this year but Dorothy decided her trip to heaven would be better. Michael will have to find another travel partner.
Dorothy was a member of the Lake Rayburn United Methodist Women, the Ladies Auxiliary, the Rayburn Garden Club, and P.E.O. She is preceded in death by her husband Bill, son Jerry, father Hugh Cole Preston Sr., mother Charlotte Harene Mansfield Preston, and brother Hugh Cole Preston Jr. She is survived by her son, Michael of Sam Rayburn, and her granddaughter Julie Quaranta along with husband Chad of Brookshire, Texas.
Visitation will be held on April 4, 2014 at Levingston Funeral Home, Groves, Texas from 6pm - 8pm. Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 5, 2014, at 11 am at the Lake Rayburn United Methodist Church, Brookeland, Texas, conducted by Reverend David Hicks with assistance from church staff. Burial services will follow at 4:00 pm at Greenlawn Memorial Park, Groves, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the MD Anderson Center Children’s Art Project in Houston, Texas.