“All men have the stars, but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You- you alone- will have the stars as no one else has them. In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. So it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night. You- only you- will have stars that can laugh!”
-Antoine de Saint Exupéry, from The Little Prince
Dorothy (Dottie) Farley went to live among the stars at 11:20 am on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. She departed from her home in Fort Myers, Florida, in the company of her beloved dog and 17-year companion, Wesley. Her leave was unexpected but peaceful.
Dottie was born in New York on September 16, 1950. She grew up in Oradell, New Jersey, before moving to Virginia in 1968 to attend Lynchburg College. Dottie married after graduation, and moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she earned a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and began what would become her life’s work: a long and successful career in public education. Dottie retired from Carroll County Public Schools in 2004, after 31 years in the classroom. She enjoyed her first well-deserved golden years in Maryland, before relocating to Florida in 2010. It was there, in Fort Myers, that she built her dream home, spent countless days collecting shells in the sea spray at Bonita Beach, and made many, many dear friends.
Dottie leaves behind two children, Kirbey, born in 1983, and Dayne, born in 1987. They were the center of her world, and her “munchkins.” She was thrilled to welcome her first grandchild, Aria, daughter of Dayne and his wife Erika, in 2020. Dottie’s family will miss their Bubba terribly, but could not be more proud of who she was, what she stood for, and all that she accomplished throughout her life.
In addition to her biological children, Dottie had thousands of other kids, who affectionately called her “Far.” She loved and accepted her students for who they were, and nurtured their development into knowledgeable, curious and compassionate adults before she turned them loose to change the world for the better. Many of the students she taught, mentored and traveled the world with ultimately became her lifelong friends, and she loved them dearly. Her kids are her legacy.
Dottie lived a life of purpose, on her own terms. She had an abiding love of beauty, and found meaning in literature, nature, art, travel, and connection with others. She was a proud Jersey Girl, and a staunch advocate for public education, children, and any deserving underdog she encountered. She was generous, intelligent, and fiercely independent. She freely engaged with the world around her, but refused to allow anyone to “boogie her slinky,” and never backed away from a challenge. She loved deeply, and would want all of those who grieve her loss to listen for her infectious laughter when they gaze at the stars.
In Lieu of flowers please consider memorial contributions to www.plannedparenthood.org,
https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/default.aspx?tsid=10043, or www.stjude.org