Ranger Exes Memorial - RHS Class of 1941

DOROTHY MAE "DOT" FERRIS SMITH BOLLEN, 85, of Jensen Beach, FL passed away on May 9, 2009 after a long illness, with burial at Forest Hills Memorial Park. Mrs. Bollen, the widow of Martin County pioneer family member Donovan Smith, Jr. was 85. Dorothy was born on Nov. 25, 1923, and was the second of four children born to Sally Virginia (Winn) and James Bennett Ferris in Ranger, Texas. A proud Texan and an outstanding student, Dorothy was salutatorian of the Ranger High School Class of 1941. She attended the Ranger High School Class of 1941 reunion every year and remained “most popular girl” throughout her life. An elegant, intelligent, sophisticated young woman, Dorothy’s love of fashion and style led her to Ranger Community College, where she studied to be a beautician. She earned an Associate of Science degree, but an allergy to the chemicals used in hairdressing caused a change of plans and she focused her attention on business administration. Upon the death of her father in 1944, Dorothy left Texas and relocated to California with her mother and sister Mary. While attending a USO dance soon after moving to California, both Dorothy and Mary met their future husbands, handsome Navy sailors and best friends, on the same night. In 1945, Dorothy married her sailor, Donovan Smith Jr. of Port Salerno, FL. Within a year, she and Donovan headed for Martin County, FL in a 1941 Ford that Donovan had purchased with his muster-out pay. After a harrowing three-week journey, the couple settled in Port Salerno. Dorothy loved to dance and the couple frequented Seymour’s Inn, on the Indian River in Jensen Beach, which reportedly had the largest hardwood dance floor in Martin County at that time. The couple also loved outdoor life and frequently camped with friends and family on the beach near the old “Rand’s Pier”, located at the present-day Sailfish Point property and at “Fisheating Creek,” a remote, wilderness location in Highlands County. Dorothy was the most proper of all Texas ladies, but quickly learned to field dress and cook game over an open fire. One of her camp specialties was “Swamp Cabbage Stew” but at family get-togethers, her dumpling- like noodles and “pie crust sticks” were the first to go. Motherhood came first to Dorothy in 1957, with the arrival of their daughter, Donna Marie. Dorothy was an accomplished seamstress and lovingly sewed baby clothes for Donna while expecting. When Donna arrived, weighing less than 5 pounds, Dorothy brought her home from the hospital dressed as Raggedy Ann, because Raggedy Ann’s dress was the only one that fit. Never discouraged, Dorothy quickly sewed outfits made from doll clothes patterns until her new daughter fit into her own clothes. A much anticipated second daughter, Druann, arrived in 1963. Unlike the first, this daughter had thick, beautiful auburn curls that Dorothy loved to style. Both girls were her pride and joy and she loved being their mom. Soon after Druann’s birth, Dorothy began working at the Martin County Courthouse in the Tax Assessor’s office, where she learned to operate the office’s first computer system. By the time of her retirement, Dorothy was the data entry supervisor and oversaw the creation and maintenance of data that determined Martin County’s property tax base. In addition to her duties at the Tax Assessor’s Office, Dorothy maintained the courthouse vending machines, placed by the Lion’s Club. When her beloved granddaughter, Jessi Marie, was born in 1982, Dorothy was ready to become a “stay-at-home granny” and did so in 1984 when she retired. Upon retirement, Dorothy and Donovan traveled the USA, visiting friends and family from Tallahassee to Texas to California. The couple often camped and hiked in National Parks and wilderness areas. Dorothy was just as comfortable sleeping in the bed of a pickup truck as she was sleeping in the bed of a five-star resort - and always recognized (and appreciated) the advantages of each. Dorothy's husband Donovan passed away in February, 1990. Dorothy's sister Mary (RHS-1942) passed away in California in 1991, leaving that other handsome sailor, Gene from the USO dance all alone. On New Years Eve, 1991, Dorothy married Mr. Gene Bollen, her sister Mary’s widower, thus becoming a newlywed for the second time. Fortunately, Mr. Bollen loved to travel as much as Dorothy and the couple eventually visited every world continent, including Antarctica. Their adventures took them sailing down the Amazon through virgin rainforests; to the Opera House in Sydney; to mountain tops in the Peruvian Andes; to elegant dinners atop the Eiffel Tower; to the great wall of China; to cruises through the Panama Canal – and all points in-between. When not traveling the world, Dorothy and Gene enjoyed gardening and grew pineapples, papaya and other fruit at their home. Dorothy was especially proud of her year-round poinsettias and amaryllises. At the time of her death, Dorothy was survived by her loving husband, Mr. Gene Bollen, of Jensen Beach, FL; daughters Donna Marie Smith, of Orlando, FL and Druann Carter, of Stuart, FL; stepdaughter Linda Giles and stepson Michael Bollen, both of of El Monte, CA; granddaughter Jessi Marie Smith, of Stuart, FL.; granddaughters Kelli and Shannon Giles; great-granddaughters Mariah Giles and Alexis Giles; her sister Ella Joy Ferris Brewer (RHS-1944), of Napa, CA ; her nephews Richard and Robert Brewer; her nephew Randy Ferris; her niece JoAnne Wheadon, as well as many grieving friends and extended family. She was predeceased by her parents; her first husband, Donovan Smith Jr.; her brother James F. Ferris (RHS-1939), & her sister Mary Bollen (RHS-1942).