Lola Ardelia Dority passed away peacefully at her home in Santa Maria, California on Friday, August 25, 2017. She was born in Wood River, Nebraska to Ada (Dickinson) Dority and Frank Albert Dority on May 23, 1920.
Miss Dority and her three brothers were raised on the family farm during the height of the Great Depression. Despite the tough times, her mother always made sure Lola had books to read, including her favorite Nancy Drew stories. This led to a lifelong love of reading, and a lengthy career as a librarian specializing in children's services at army and air force bases in Alaska, Texas, Germany, and finally at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
After her retirement from VAFB in 1986, Lola spent many years as a volunteer librarian at the Santa Maria Public Library and the Allan Hancock College Library. She was recognized by the AHC College Board as the Outstanding Volunteer for 2008-09, and by the Santa Maria City Council as Volunteer of the Month for July 2013.
Miss Dority was a proud member of the Dickinson-Dority family, which has a distinguished history including ancestors who arrived in America in 1630 as part of the Massachusetts Bay Company. Her grandfather, civil war veteran Nathaniel Dickinson, was a member of the Army of the Potomac under Generals Meade and Grant, and survived the battles at Manassas, the second Bull Run and Gettysburg. He later homesteaded the family farm in Wood River, Nebraska.
Lola enjoyed travel and the theater, as well as reading, gardening and cats. She was a talented performer, creating puppet shows that entertained thousands of children. She was also a prolific writer who helped document her family history. She was a well-known philanthropist, supporting many libraries on the Central Coast as well as the Santa Barbara County Foodbank, Domestic Violence Solutions, Literacy, the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, and other organizations.
Miss Dority was preceded in death by her parents and three brothers, Verle, Wayne, and Willard Dority. She leaves behind loving nieces and nephews, many good friends, and generations of readers. A private memorial service will be held prior to her internment in Cameron Cemetery, Nebraska. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in her memory to the Friends of the Santa Maria Library or the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society.