Dorothy (Reid) Lancaster

May 26, 1924 ~ December 22, 2020 (age 96)


Passed away on December 22, 2020 at the age of 96 at the Fairport Baptist Home.  

Dorothy was born May 26, 1924 in the Malone, NY area to Frank Reid and Ruth (Davidson) Reid. On April 2, 1945, she married Robert (Bob) Lancaster of Rochester. Dorothy graduated from Franklin Academy, Malone, NY in 1941 at the age of 17. Following graduation, she moved to Rochester, NY to work for the Superba Tie Factory.  Subsequently she worked on radar for Stromberg-Carlson to support the war effort. She also worked for Sibley's, later returning to Stromberg-Carlson (General Dynamics) to work in the accounting department, from which she retired.

Dorothy is survived by her daughter, Marcia; two sisters, Helen Salina of Fullerton CA and Carol Johnston of Rochester; and many adoring nieces and nephews.  Dorothy was predeceased by her husband, Bob; her parents; her sister, Gladys Lusk; her brothers, Lorne Reid, F. Bernard Reid, Gerald Reid and Donald Reid. Dorothy was loving and adventurous, a joy and inspiration to everyone she touched.

Dorothy's family would like to thank the Fairport Baptist Home for the excellent and loving care that she received.  A private service was held at White Haven Memorial Park.  Memorial contributions may be made in Dorothy's memory to a charity of your choice or to the Humane Society at Lollypop Farm, 99 Victor Rd., Fairport 14450 ( 

The following was the eulogy given at Dorothy's service:

For those of us who are familiar with the journalist Tom Brokaw, we remember that he wrote a book entitled "The Greatest Generation."  Dorothy was part of that generation.  In many ways she quietly exemplified the best of her time.  During World War II Dorothy went to work, as did so many young women at the time, to support the war effort.  She married, raised a family, worked and led the life of many American women.  

There were 8 children all growing up in the great depression.  They knew the sadness of loss as only seven survived to adulthood.  However, when Dorothy reminisced, she most often told sweet stories like these that several have shared these last few days.  Shoes were a luxury that their father could scarcely provide.  Dorothy laughingly told about her father bringing home old lady style shoes that she was embarrassed  to wear.  Her mother tried to smooth it over, telling her that she had something other girls wouldn't have.   

The boys loved their sisters but they were still children.  When Dorothy and her brother Don went berrying, Don ate almost all his bucket of berries.  Not wanting to incur his father's wrath for coming home empty handed, Don volunteered to carry his little sister's heavy, full bucket.  Since she came home empty handed, she was the one in trouble.  

The family had a Shetland pony named Cricket that the children made a pet.  Their mother, Ruth, was peeling potatoes but stopped to go outside.  When she came back in, the kids had brought the pony in the kitchen to feed it the potato peels.  Ruth didn't get upset.  She just said what are you kids doing with that pony in the house?

Dorothy was the ultimate tomboy who played football with her brothers, jumped in haystacks when a more cautious brother might have slid in, raked and bundled hay, and drove a tractor when she was 12.  Dorothy appreciated that as the brothers grew older they were very protective of their mother and sisters.  Her sister Helen talks today about how the siblings all shared and supported each other.  After Dorothy graduated from high school at 17, she went off to Rochester in a spirit of adventure to find a new life.  Even then she didn't forget her sisters.  When the younger girls lacked school supplies, Dorothy sent money home for them to have what they needed.  Later Dorothy found that her sister Gladys needed a watch to use in her nurse's training.  So Dorothy scraped together the money to buy the watch.  For Helen, back at home in the cold Franklin County winter, Dorothy bought ice skates.  Snow seems to figure in Helen's memories of Dorothy.  Years later Dorothy and Bob, Helen and her husband Bill took a road trip to Lake Tahoe in October. Unfortunately it snowed.  They had to buy chains for the tires.  Each morning, though, the 4 of them piled in the car singing Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again."

Some of us are fortunate to have a friend come into our lives, one who feels more like family than a friend.  For Dorothy this loved and chosen daughter was Cathy Speciale.  For Cathy, who treated and loved Dorothy like a mother, this bond was undeniable.  Cathy and Dorothy were God's gifts to each other.

Ever willing to have an adventure, at 95, Dorothy wanted to travel back to Franklin County to revisit memories.  With Cathy, she made plans to meet her nephew, Ron, in the north.  Those 3 then set out to see homes and countryside that Dorothy lived in as a girl.  One family, who was living in a home that Dorothy remembered well, invited them in for a visit.  Dorothy pointed out the banister that she slid down as a little girl.  At each stop along the way Dorothy had so many great memories.  They visited the Mohawk reservation where Dorothy's father traded maple syrup for blankets.  Dorothy loved maple syrup.  In fact her favorite way to have it was just to drink it straight.  It was a pleasure and an honor for Cathy and for Ron to make this dream trip come true for Dorothy.  To prove Dorothy had a good time, she told Cathy the next trip in 2020 should be to California to see her sister Helen.  

Dorothy always saw the positive side of a situation.  Talking with Cathy about the intense  political division in our country, Dorothy told Cathy to remember at least in the United States we have the right to vote.  Not everyone in other countries has that privilege.

Dorothy was a woman many of us were honored to say we knew.  She was a sounding board for whatever was on our minds.  She was a model of loving kindness.  Best of all, as you may have noticed, she taught us to live our lives with gusto and a spirit of adventure.  On a flight, the pilot told the passengers to look to the left as there was a storm forming.  Instead of being afraid Dorothy eagerly looked to the storm.  Certain that she would never be in the clouds again during a storm, she didn't want to miss the experience.  With that spirit in mind this is a poem by Henry Van Dyke entitled "Gone From My sight", which speaks to how we see Dorothy being received in her next adventure.

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,

spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts

for the blue ocean.  She is an object of beauty and strength.

I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck

of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone."

Gone where?

Gone from my sight.  That is all.  She is just as large in mast,

hull and spar as she was when she left my side.

And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"

there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices

ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

And that is dying...

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