DOROTHY T. KANE was born on January 2, 1924, in Wilkes-Barre, PA, to Edward P. and Dorothy Harkins. She is predeceased by her parents, and only sibling, Edward P. Harkins, Jr. and her husband, G. Jerry Kane. She grew up in a house on South Main Street that her father built, and which still stands to this very day. In the backyard she spent many happy hours with her father and mother, tending the rock garden and the roses her mother bred, and helping raise her dad’s prize winning Kerry Blue terriers.
Nearly a century passed when she died in Orlando, Florida, on June 21, 2021, surrounded by her children, Sheila, Thomas, Sally and Kathy.
That back yard was the venue for many family activities and photo sessions. Someone planted a Christmas tree in the middle when Dorothy was a small girl. A series of photos show both Dorothy and the tree growing into beautiful adulthood. However, the tree grew much taller than Dorothy’s five foot one inch!
Her summers were spent at Harvey’s Lake in a small cottage built by her father. It was not fancy, but she loved it. She and her father, who was a police captain in Wilkes-Barre, would go down to the Lake nearly every day, jump in and swim across and back. Dorothy became an excellent swimmer and wound up swimming distance events for Meyers High School.
Dorothy was born shortly after War War I and was a child during the Roaring Twenties, a teen during the Great Depression and a young adult during World War II. She saw a lot! After the war she met the love of her life, Jerry Kane, and they married on June 7, 1947. They had four children in short order and decided to move to New Jersey where Jerry had better prospects for his teaching career.
She and her husband put family first in all things so they made the hard choice to have her be at home for the kids and Jerry work two jobs to support the family. This might have created distance in some families, but Dorothy would prepare hot meals and bring them to her husband, with the four kids in tow, so there could be some semblance of a family meal. The marriage lasted fifty-two years until July 9, 1999, when Jerry passed away.
Dorothy’s reward for always putting her family first was a loving family who cherished their time with her. The end of her husband’s teaching career marked the beginning of a new phase of their lives together. Two of their children had moved to the Orlando area so they decided that moving part-time to Florida made sense. Snow birding morphed into full time residency in Florida, and soon their other two children moved into the area. Now the family was back together and there were Sunday dinners, card games and trips – all of which had an honored spot for Dorothy, who by this time was known as GiGi because, in addition to her four children she was grandmother to six grandchildren and great grandmother to seven great grandchildren, all of whom made her proud and gave her great delight.
Throughout the arc of this long life she remained centered on her core values and devoted to her Catholic faith. No one has a perfect life, and hers had it own series of challenges and triumphs, up and downs, tragedies and joys, but she never lost faith. She never gave up and she never lost her sense of humor and determination to make the best of everything life threw at her. If you asked her to sum up her life, she would probably say, “I had ninety-seven great years and one crummy month–and of course didn’t it have to be the last one!”
Dorothy remained calm and dignified right up to the end. She knew that she had finally hit a problem she would not solve, but she didn’t back down. She kept talking of what she would do and where she would go once she got her strength back. This was her final gift to her family, trying to comfort them and keep their spirits up.
There will be a celebration of the life of this amazing woman and a Mass of Christian Burial on July 9, 2021 at 9:00 AM at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 12600 Marsfield Avenue, Orlando, FL 32837. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you consider making a donation to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, www.stjude.org