Dorothy Cooley Martin was looking forward to her 100th birthday, but came up three days short of her goal.
She was born in East Sioux Falls, S.D., Jan. 7, 1909, the daughter of George E. and Minnie Turre Herman. She was one of two girls and five boys. She moved to Montana with her family in 1917 and lived in Fromberg until 1923, at which time they moved to the Big Horn Valley. Graduating from Hardin High School in 1927, she was the last surviving student of her graduating class.
She taught for two years at Sarpy Creek Country School, then married Ray S. Cooley on June 26, 1929. Their marriage was blessed with four children.
She attended Eastern Montana College, received her teaching degree in 1962, and taught at Yellowstone Boys Ranch from 1962 to 1976. She was hired to replace Harold Wright, the first teacher at the Boys Ranch.
After being a widow for several years, she married Charles Martin in 1976.
During her lifetime, Dorothy was active in various organizations, including Federal Wives, several Masonic affiliated associations, and was a Past Matron of Edna Hedges Chapter Order of Eastern Star.
She was a 68-year member of Polyrock Extension Homemakers Club and was one of the three remaining members who met regularly. Other organizations included Billings Garden Club, Delta Kappa Gamma Society, Yellowstone Valley Retired Teachers Association, Alpha Delta Kappa, Billings Camera Club, Yellowstone Historical Society and AAUW.
She was a member of Grace Methodist Church, Mayflower Congregational Church, United Methodist Women, Church Women United and Wesleyan Circle.
She looked forward to the weekly five-generation dinners, which often included her grandson, Congressman Denny Rehberg.
She had a sweet tooth and anything chocolate was not safe if left around. Peppermints were a staple, and she was always good for a visit, a cup of tea and a game of cards. She said she didn't care if she won or lost, just enjoyed the opportunity of finding someone to play with her.
An avid reader of the Bible, one of her favorite passages was: "I am ready on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day."
Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents; her husbands, Ray Cooley and Charles Martin; five Herman brothers, Eugene, Stanley, Marshall, Albert, Wally; one sister, Eleanor; and grandson Richard Cooley.
Survivors include Janice Milner of Angier, N.C., Patricia Rehberg (Jack), Billings, Raymond (Shirley) of Snyder, Texas, and Robert (Sheri) of Las Vegas. Other family members include Deanna (Earl) Bley of Loveland, Colo.; Charlie's two sons, George and Art, and John Byfield of Washington State and their families; 14 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren, nine great-great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
She loved to quote poetry that she memorized as a youngster. One of her favorites is the last stanza from "The Last Leaf" by Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Funeral services will be held at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, at Smith West Chapel, 304 34th St. West. Memorials may be addressed to Eugene F. Herman Scottish Rite Language Center, 514 14th St. West, Billings, MT 59102, or Big Horn Historical Museum, Rt. 1, Box 1208A, Hardin, MT 59034.