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Obituary: Dorothy Mae Niebuhr

Published on January 1, 2018 12:01AM

Dorothy Niebuhr

Dorothy Niebuhr


May 27, 1928 — Dec. 3, 2017

Dorothy Mae Niebuhr, 89, peacefully passed away at her home in Seaside, surrounded by her family, on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. She was born on May 27, 1928, in Los Angeles, California, to Raymond and Ida Jacobs. Dorothy graduated in 1946 from Washington High School in Los Angeles.

She married Raymond Niebuhr on Nov. 20, 1946, in Los Angeles. Following their wedding, they moved to Walcott, Iowa. They had three children and lived in Walcott until 1958, when they moved to Beaverton, Oregon.

Dorothy was a person of many gifts and talents. Bright and inquisitive, she had a knack for solving problems, thinking strategically and finding good bargains. She enjoyed playing golf and duplicate bridge, shopping, traveling, exploring new places and challenges.

At one point in her life, she restored old homes and built new ones from the ground up — a real feat in those days before women were accepted in construction trades. She happily took on several young men as apprentices during her homebuilding days, men who went on to pursue careers in construction. Each of these men remained good friends with Dorothy, and always expressed their gratitude for the learning opportunities and “career start” she provided.

When her children were young, she planned annual summer vacations, driving or taking the train from Iowa to destinations out West. She knew the locations of all significant historical markers along the route, and made sure her family stopped for each one. Dorothy or one of her children read them aloud, and once back on the road they’d talk about the events and people of that historical place.

In the second half of her life, Dorothy began traveling again, expanding her horizons. She visited Alaska three times, including a side trip into the Arctic Circle. With good friends from Seaside, she went to New England one autumn, and experienced the spectacular fall colors. She cruised through the Panama Canal, and journeyed down the Amazon River, venturing up its tributaries to remote indigenous villages. She hiked around Machu Picchu, and explored other ancient ruins in Mexico, China, Thailand and Cambodia. There was no end to her curiosity and interest in different countries, cultures and people.

Yet more than building houses, playing golf and bridge or traveling, Dorothy loved her family and friends. She raised two families, her three children and later, three grandchildren. Her home and heart were always open and welcoming. She had a gift for reaching out and connecting with people in a deep, enduring way. She truly enriched the lives of many, and definitely lived her life to the fullest.

She is survived by her three children, Susan Niebuhr McCormick (Greg) of Polson, Montana, Sally Niebuhr Higgs (Kendall) of Seaside, and Michael Niebuhr (Debbie Fry) of Cannon Beach; her five grandchildren, Genesee Dennis (Anna), Lineah Dennis, and Shellie Dennis, all of Seaside, Sage Marie Niebuhr of Arch Cape and Rachel Niebuhr of Portland; and by her six great-grandchildren, all of Seaside.

A celebration of Dorothy’s life is planned for late spring 2018.

If friends would like to make a donation in her honor, please consider giving to Camp Kiwanilong in Warrenton or to Lower Columbia Hospice in Astoria.


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