Dorothy Josephine Deuerling

June 9, 1919February 16, 2018

Dorothy Josephine Deuerling (June 9, 1919 – February 16, 2018)

Dorothy Josephine Deuerling née Novak, age 98, of Orlando passed away on February 16, 2018. She was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 9, 1919. Dorothy was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and compassionate person who made friends easily. Her perpetual happy disposition influenced other people in many positive ways. To her family she will be always affectionately remembered as Mum. She will be missed by all, but her spirit will live on forever.

Dorothy grew up in the Spring Garden section of Pittsburgh. She attended Allegheny High School, maintaining good grades and an Honor Roll status. Midway through high school she met her future husband Richard at a party. They were the classic high school sweethearts. It was the time of the Great Depression and money was tight, but one of their passions was going to the movies with a stop for ice cream on the way home. They also enjoyed ice skating and big band dancing.

After high school graduation in 1937 she was hired as a clerk by Woolworth’s, a five and dime store and worked there for about ten years. She also was employed by the H. J. Heinz Company for several years. She had hoped to attend college, however it was not financially possible. Meanwhile, Richard was drafted by the U. S. Army Air Corps and served in the European theater during WW II. Upon his return from Europe, they were married on November 19, 1947 and remained happily married for 65 years until Richard’s passing in 2013.

Shortly after marriage, the couple purchased a small farm near Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania about 90 miles north of Pittsburgh. Dorothy’s parents owned a summer cottage in the vicinity named Hoople Manor. They enjoyed the rural life, welcoming the change from the dense urbanization of Pittsburgh. They raised a few milk cows, but the corn crop was the major source of income. Dorothy enjoyed gardening and preserved many of vegetables which were stored in mason jars in the cellar for consumption during the winter. Dorothy enjoyed playing in the snow with her children. She enjoyed visits by the Pittsburgh relatives and a corn festival was celebrated every year. Fresh corn was picked and immediately cooked producing the most exquisite flavor. A good time was had by all during these visits. The family grew during the time on the farm to four children – two boys then two girls.

In 1959, the Deuerlings moved to Orlando, where they purchased a house that remained the family residence for 54 years. Shortly after arrival, the family was blessed with another boy. Richard secured employment at the U.S. Post Office in Pine Castle, where he worked until retirement. Dorothy settled in to raise the kids. She served as a den mother during the boy’s tenure in the Cub Scouts as well as supporting her daughters in the Girl Scouts. Dorothy also served as a volunteer nursing assistant known as a “Gray Lady” at the St. John Vianney Catholic School. She even worked for the U. S. Post Office as well, as a temporary employee during several Christmas seasons.

Dorothy enjoyed cooking and made the best egg custard pies. They were so popular that we always joked that there was no point in cutting them into slices since each child would consume an entire pie. One time she hid some pies in the oven so that they would be saved for dessert and not be devoured by her children prior to the meal. She forgot about them and preheated the oven to prepare supper resulting in a smoky kitchen, a roar of laughter, and a lost menu item.

After their arrival in Florida, the family became weekend voyagers, traveling to most of the state parks to camp and hike. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was also the site of many a family camping adventure. Richard was always willing to provide his children with an education with regard to the outdoors. On several occasions it involved encounters with the local wildlife like wild pigs or alligators. Dorothy never seemed to be in the immediate vicinity during these times and it is assumed that her function was to explain to the authorities what had actually happened. On one trip, Richard, nicknamed “Turk”, came close to losing control of the family vehicle on a steep slope. Dorothy yelled, “You’re gonna flip it Turk!!!” Of course, this became the universal cry whenever someone didn’t like Richard’s or, for that matter, any family member’s driving.

Dorothy had a love for animals and was always surrounded by pets. At the farm it was cats, dogs, cows and pigs. In Orlando in addition to a cat, snakes, mice, fish and guinea pigs were added to the family. The reptiles probably were her least favored pets. One time a box turtle had escaped in our car. Dorothy did not know about it and hopped into the car to go to the store. She screamed and scrambled out of the car when the turtle nudged her ankle. Riding in the country the family often encountered rattlesnakes crossing the road. Of course Richard would always please the boys and stop and tease the snake until it rattled. This also led to another universal cry from Dorothy of “You’re gonna get bit!!!” This was uttered whenever in close proximity to any potentially dangerous animal.

Dorothy was an avid reader as well as a crossword puzzle aficionado. She probably read every Barbara Cartland novel ever written. On many of the outdoor adventures she spent at least some of the time in camp reading her books. She also liked to play card games, a skill acquired no doubt from her father.

After Richard’s retirement in 1982, Dorothy enjoyed the freedom to travel. And travel they did, mostly in the western United States. Too old to be considered hippies, but exhibiting hippie values, they did not stay in hotels, but spent the nights in their Volkswagen camper. National Parks or National Forests were the preferred camping places. Dorothy believed that the best part of retirement travel was not having a schedule; they spent as much time as they wanted anywhere they wanted. She also imparted to her children that traveling before you get too old is one of the best things you can do in your life.

Dorothy was predeceased by her husband Richard J. Deuerling, Sr., eldest son, Richard J. Deuerling, Jr. and her daughter-in-law Judy Kelly Deuerling. She is survived by her sister Lois Novak and children Timothy Deuerling (Betsy), Judy Jamison (Tom), Amy Gilland (Michael), and John Deuerling (Karen). Also ten grandchildren: Robert Jamison (Liz), Joshua Deuerling, Justin Deuerling (Marcia), Paula Farrell, Nichole Barone (Kyle), Jonathan Deuerling, Kelly Deuerling (Richard), Jon Michael Gilland, Zachary Deuerling and Dylan Deuerling. Also eight great-grandchildren: John & Madelyn Farrell, Liliana & Luke Jamison, Layla, Harper, & Kinsley Deuerling, and Eliana Jenkins.

The memorial service will be held on March 10, 2018 @ 1:00 pm at Orlando Lutheran Church, 300 Church Street, 18th Floor, Orlando, FL 32801.

In Lieu of Flowers, the family requests donations be made to Cornerstone Hospice & Palliative Care Foundation, Orlando Region, 2445 Lake Park Road, Tavares, FL 32778-9648. To donate online visit:

Dorothy and Richard visited the Okefenokee Swamp during their honeymoon, enjoying the experience immensely and indicated in later years a desire to have their ashes scattered over the swamp after their passing. In light of their enjoyment of the outdoors during their entire lives, the spiritual return to Mother Earth seems only fitting and the family feels honored to be able fulfill this request. Rest in peace Mum and don’t worry, we won’t flip the boat.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, March 10, 2018

Dorothy Josephine Deuerling

have a memory or condolence to add?

Paula Farrell

February 24, 2018

I love you grandma. You will be in my heart always and forever. You are much loved and you will be missed.

February 21, 2018

"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die." You will always be remember and your memory cherished. Our deepest sympathies to the Deuerling family. Sincerely, Ricardo and Maria Torres