Dorothy Arnold Waite

Dec. 1, 1923 - April 11, 2007

Dorothy Arnold Waite, 83, of Waukesha, died Wednesday, April 11, 2007, at LindenGrove in Waukesha. Dorothy "Dot" was born to Remmie L. and Charlia Arnold on Dec. 1, 1923.

Dot grew up in Petersburg, Va., where she formed lifelong friendships and a fierce loyalty to her southern roots, connections that stayed with her forever. She attended Sweetbriar College in the early 1940s. It was at this time that she met Robert Waite (Bob), who was stationed at Fort Lee, Va.

After their marriage on April 15, 1944, they remained in Petersburg for several years, raising their three sons, Robin, Steve and Rick. In 1956, the family moved to Waukesha. With an always willing and cheerful spirit, Dot began her legacy of community service by becoming a member of the Waukesha Service Club, which raises funds in support of Waukesha Memorial Hospital and numerous other local agencies. She volunteered her time in that organization for 25 years, in many capacities, including a year as its president (1971-1972). She then joined the Senior League, an auxiliary of the Service Club, and continued making contributions of time and energy for another 20 years.

She was an active, well-recognized member of St. Matthias Episcopal Church, filling a leadership role as director of the altar guild for many years. Dot also belonged to Beacon Lights for more than 40 years, a group whose early members were instrumental in forming Waukesha’s first library. The Beacon Lights’ focus on education, history and all manner of assorted topics fit well with her insatiable curiosity and desire to uncover new information. Here again, she served a term as its president.

Woven through all the years was her ever-present knitting and needlepoint projects. She knit sweater after sweater for every family member but was also always working on something to donate. In her earlier years, she knit many items for the hospital gift shop. In her later years, she knit several shawls for AngelsGrace Hospice and helmet liners for the troops in Iraq. Dot patiently shared her vast knowledge by teaching several classes in knitting and needlepoint at the YWCA and WCTC. Tennis was another of her passions. She delighted in its physical demands and competitiveness. She played social tennis with the intensity of a pro, followed her grandchildren’s involvement in the sport, got the opportunity to see a grandson play at Wimbledon and was still playing year round into her 80s with women much younger than herself.

Although her heart and her life’s focus were on her family, Dot always had a bag packed, ready to travel anywhere, anytime. She and Bob saw most of the United States, visited many European countries, traveled to Russia, China and even took an African safari. She listened intently to the details of anyone else’s trip experience and happily watched travel slides, her own or someone else’s. For Dot, there were always new vistas to explore.

Her gracious, lively spirit will be cherished by those who survive her: beloved husband, Robert J. Waite, Sr.; children, Robert Jr. (Susan) of Waukesha, Stephen (Shirley) of Waukesha and Richard of Cary, N.C.; grandchildren, Jack (Carole), Madeline (Shawn) Ogles, Emily (Darren) Bisaro, Ursula (John) Lampsa, Stephanie, Stacy, Sarah (James) Burgin, Michael, Matthew and Abigail; great-grandchildren Alexis, Sarah and Sophia; and many more extended family members and dear friends.

Memorials are appreciated to the Waukesha Regional Cancer Care Center, 725 American Ave., Waukesha, WI 53188 or the Retzer Nature Center, S14-W28167 Madison St., Waukesha, WI 53188 or any charity or organization of your choice, in Dorothy’s honor.

A memorial gathering celebrating her life will take place at the Retzer Nature Center on Saturday, May 12, with visiting from 4 p.m. until the 6 p.m. family eulogy. Private interment at Prairie Home Cemetery in Waukesha.

For more information, please call Randle-Dable Funeral Home at 547-4035 or go online to www.randledable.com to leave a tribute.