For most of her life, Dorothy Lee has ascribed to “every day, leaving somebody, or someplace, better than how you found it.”
Now 90, that way of life has exponentially affected people and places very well indeed, and now includes the Farragut Public Library.
Dorothy has been volunteering there for about the last year, and is a presence almost daily, primarily in the afternoons, working in the children’s picture book area.
“I come in every day, toward the end of the day, to prepare, so [the area] will be in order for the next day,” she said.
“I enjoy being there; it has been a delightful experience.”
Farragut Library Branch manager Marilyn Jones said she “is glad to have her.
“She keeps a positive attitude, and keeps the books in order.”
Dorothy said that while she is in
excellent health — with the exception of a slight vocal problem — and has no limitations, she “always likes to be doing something worthwhile.”
That also includes working two days a week for her church, the Farragut congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
A native of California, she attended Brigham Young University, where she met her husband, Boyd.
“He was the love of my life,” she said of her late husband. “On our first date I knew I wanted to marry him.”
The couple moved around the country quite a bit with Boyd’s job as an oral pathologist.
The couple came to Knox County in 2009, after Boyd was diagnosed with Alzheimers. Not only did a son and daughter already live in the area, but the reputation of Farragut’s Clarity Point as a quality Alzheimer’s care facility also brought them to the community. Boyd Lee was cared for there until he passed away two years ago.
The community welcomed the couple with open arms, Dorothy said.
“[Farragut] is one of the most gracious cities I’ve lived in. Everyone has been so kind and so friendly, I have almost been overwhelmed.”
Dorothy marvels at the friendliness of strangers in stores, and specifically a kind woman who reached out to her at the Verizon store one day.
“This is one of the best places for family life, and there is just such an attitude of grace,” she said. “It is a remarkable place. I hope people realize that they are so blessed to be here.”
And, through her own positive outlook and contributions, she has been a blessing in return.
“Leaving somebody and someplace better than you found it, affects how you treat people,” she said, noting that it is a quality she also instilled in her five children: David Lee, Deborah Bradsher, Michael Lee, Sandee Hurley and Steven Lee.
Her own unique qualities were recognized by the American Association of Mothers, which named her Tennessee Mother of the Year when the family lived in Memphis.
The organization “was a wonderful way to meet women and to try to make a difference in the world,” Dorothy said.
“It was also encouraging to work with women who were willing to work with projects that would make a difference.”
Dorothy is encouraged to note that she is not alone in her positive outlook on life. She related she had heard of a young man who hopes to start a local “random acts of kindness” movement.
“I was really touched by that,” Dorothy said. “When we hear so
much about the bad things that happen, it makes a huge difference to focus on good-hearted people and the good that
“It is good to be reminded that there is so much goodness in society and in the nation.”