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Dorothy's Story

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Dorothy Marie McGarry Cole died at St. Luke's CHI Hospital in Houston on June 20, 2016. She was born on October 5th, 1940 in West Newton, Massachusetts to Patrick J. and Nora Quirk McGarry, the fourth of five children. She attended St. Bernard's High School and she matriculated at Emmanuel College in Boston. She taught English in parochial schools in Brighton and Salem, Massachusetts. Later she pursued post graduate degrees at Fairfield University, Notre Dame University, and San Francisco State University.
She married Dr. T.C. Cole Jr. September 8th, 1979 after a brief courtship and lived happily in Huntsville until her last illness. Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents and by her sister, Mary Duffy, and brother, Tommy McGarry. She is survived by her husband of 36 years; her sister, Barbara Rizza of Newton, Massachusetts; her brother Joseph McGarry of Framingham; and an host of nieces and nephews.
Dorothy's mother pointed out she led three lives. She was a popular, beloved teacher and drama coach for decades. She returned to school and worked in California for large corporations, such as Bank of America and Itel. Upon returning to Huntsville with Dr. Cole, she managed his clinic with expertise and élan. She observed that this work was similar to the mission work she had done for the Catholic Church in Appalachia, except harder.
She undertook restoration of the old John Thomason house and doctor's office, having lived in similar old mansions while teaching in Salem and on Massachusetts's North Shore. She won National Register of Historic Places designation for these structures, and was acclaimed in American Heritage Magazine and Smithsonian publications for her work. As Mrs. Thomason had been a charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Dorothy hosted this group for their centennial celebration. They voted her an honorary member of this oldest of Huntsville's civic clubs. She always looked forward to meetings with these historically minded ladies. She was a member of the Outlook Club and loved the intellectual growth this scholarly literary society advanced. When she picked a book that she would give a "lead" upon, she would tailor a family vacation to visit the site related to the book or its author. Eventually most continents were visited.
Dorothy was a dedicated scriptorian and the highlight of each week for her was the Bible Study Fellowship meeting in Conroe for this group's careful study of scripture. For years she was a greeter and held various other positions in BSF. She met many of her closest friends here. This was her "nest built on the greatness of God." She had advanced theological training and this was the theme closest to her heart. She attended St. Thomas Catholic Church Saturdays and on Sunday would accompany her husband to First Methodist Church.
In Huntsville, Dorothy led a life dedicated to the service of others. Decade by decade she encountered illnesses that she could overcome or cope with, such as complicated pregnancies, collagen vascular disease, breast cancer and heart disease. With the supervention of Alzheimer's disease in 2005, she came upon a "brook too broad for leaping." The process took a decade to collect its strength and strike.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church Building Fund or to St. Thomas The Apostle Catholic Church. There will be a visitation at her home at 1207 Avenue J, Thursday, June 23rd, from 5 to 8pm. A Mass of Christian Burial celebrating her life will be held at 10:30am, Friday, June 24th, with Father Fred Valone as celebrant.
Honoring Dorothy as pall bearers are Tom T. Cole, Bill Elliott, R.B. Thomason Jr., Edwin Thomason, Dean Thomason, and Dr. C.S. Sung. Honorary pall bearers are Robert Heartfield, Stephen King, Ralph Vaun, Dr. Darrell Wells, Dr. Frank Thornton, Tom Keeland, Clark Roberts, Dr. James Mallery, and Will Vick Jr, Dr. John Talmadge and Brock Lively.
The family wishes to thank the doctors and nurses at St. Luke's CHI Hospital ICU and Dr. C.S. Sung; Mrs. Embrailia Hamilton for years of dedicated care; the nurses at Stat Home Health; Burt and Delia Young, and Mrs. Latrelle Lindon for gracing her last months with music.
Published on June 22, 2016
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