Obituaries » Dorothy Ann (Crombach) Shewey

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Dorothy Ann (Crombach) Shewey

September 15, 1935 - May 4, 2024

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After living 30 years with kidney cancer, Dorothy died peacefully in her sleep Saturday night, May 4. She spent her last day at beautiful Evergreen Hospice Care Center, surrounded by family members talking and telling family stories—her favorite thing.

Dorothy (who also went by Dotty or Dot) was born in Rochester, New York, on September 15, 1935, to August F. and Mildred L. (Keller) Crombach. Beginning in the 1840s, her various grandparents and great-grandparents settled in Rochester after emigrating from Scotland, Canada, Germany, and Ireland. She grew up with a large, extended family, all living in the Rochester area. When she was about 5, Dorothy’s family moved to their longtime home on Meigs Street, which they shared with her grandparents, Nellie and Frank Keller. She and her sister, Marilyn, enjoyed childhood surrounded by neighborhood friends, and playing, skiing, and ice-skating in beautiful Highland Park.

Dorothy was the first person in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree: she graduated from Nazareth College, Rochester, in 1957. Then for three years she taught 3rd graders at the local Rush Henrietta School District. She lived at home, and while most of the time she was incredibly busy between teaching, taking night courses for her master’s degree, and working at Kodak, she recalls one magical summer circa 1962 when she did nothing but stay home with her dad, Gus, who had recently retired. She really enjoyed that time with him.

After three years spent teaching and obtaining her master’s degree (another first for the family), she was ready for new things. Dorothy was adventurous and always embraced travel and change. In the early 1960s, she moved to the Coleman Kaserne American Army base at Gelnhausen, West Germany, where she taught at the base school. There she made lifelong friends who, for decades, held their annual Gelnhausen reunions at various places across the United States. While in Germany, she and her friends took time to travel around Europe and Egypt, immensely enjoying their time there.

While in Germany, Dorothy purchased a seafoam green Volkswagen bug, and somehow convinced the U.S. Army to ship it back to New York, free of charge. Shortly thereafter, she and Marilyn loaded up the VW and drove from New York to California where Dorothy had a teaching job waiting. The sisters were always up for adventures!

At her California apartment building, Dorothy met fellow tenant Gerald Shewey. Married in 1963, they enjoyed the sunny California life, swimming, water skiing, camping, and taking road trips. Soon the first of four children arrived. In a few years, Dorothy and Jerry moved to Idaho, first to St. Anthony and then to a home they built in the beautiful hills outside of Pocatello. Jerry worked as a real estate appraiser for his Uncle Loyd “Ike” Shewey. More adventures followed: fly fishing, camping, birdwatching, skiing, ice skating, road trips, and adventures with the extended Shewey family, not to mention the work of raising four children.

When Jerry contracted lymphoma, the family moved to Salem, Oregon to be near his parents; Jerry and his father, John, built the family’s beautiful house on Friendly Acres Road near the small town of Shaw. When Jerry died of cancer in 1980, Dorothy immediately responded to the challenge of supporting her family. She worked at a restaurant while getting her Oregon teaching certificate, and then relaunched her teaching career with Aumsville School District, near Salem, a job she held until retirement.

After retirement, Dorothy moved to the Seattle area to be near her daughter and grandchildren. She flourished there, making many lifelong friends through water aerobics, church choir, and later, at her Emerald Heights senior community.

Dorothy instilled her lifelong love of learning in her children. Despite financial hardship, she worked diligently to guide all four kids through college, all of them receiving degrees. Imbued with Dorothy’s sense of curiosity and edification, her children and grandchildren all continue the path of learning that she exemplified.

Dorothy became an early adopter of the computer and used it to further her investigations into family genealogy. After she retired, she spent weeks each year in Salt Lake City, pouring through records and putting together the family histories.

Dorothy lived with grace and equanimity. Despite her physical ailments, she never complained, kept a keen interest in life, and maintained a positive attitude. You could call her anytime and she was always up for talking! Dorothy’s enjoyment of life was on display up until her last days with us.

Dorothy is predeceased by her husband, Gerald Frank Shewey (1935-1980), her sister, Marilyn (Crombach) Krepps (1940-2023), and her grandson Alexander Shewey (1998-2022). She is survived by her children Sheila Bishop (Byron), John Shewey (Liz Kiren), Mike Shewey (Stacy Miller), and David Shewey; and her grandchildren Grant Bishop, Casey Polk (Samuel), Erica Bishop, Jackson Shewey, Morgan Shewey, Hailey Shewey, and Joseph Shewey. She will be interred with her husband, Jerry, at Belcrest Memorial Park in Salem, Oregon.