Dorothy Valborg Schafer

April 23, 1912March 31, 2014

Dorothy Valborg Gustavsen Schafer, 102, joined her loving husband of 61 years, Walter Schafer, in heaven on March 31, 2014.

In addition to her husband, Dorothy is predeceased by her daughter Joan Tatum, her son-in-law, A. Lewis Allen and her great grandson, Asa Allen. Left to cherish her memory are her daughter, Kaye Allen Williamson and husband (Bill), her son-in-law Sam Tatum, her grandchildren Michael Allen (Karen), Kevin Allen (Jill), Christopher Allen (Donna), Sarah Spata (Michael) and George Tatum (Lori)

Gammy also leaves twelve great grandchildren: Alexander, Elizabeth, Benjamin, Samantha, Ryleigh, Paxton, Samuel, Quincy, Emma, Zoe, Makennah and Hallie.

Dorothy grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts, graduated from Tufts College and married her high school sweetheart, Walter, in 1928. Her husband managed the New York office of Aristotle Onassis (the shipping magnate). They subsequently moved to Newport News with their girls in 1951 when he accepted a partnership with Hasler and Company.

As their girls were raised, Dorothy was a loving wife, mother and homemaker. She participated in PTA and the Girl Scouts and involved the girls in the arts. As a young woman she was a lifeguard and retained that love throughout her whole life, swimming until she was 100 years old. She was active in the Alter Guild of St Andrews Episcopal Church for many years and also a member of PEO. Another interest was gardening, and she and her husband developed and maintained a beautiful flower garden at their home on Oakland Drive in Newport News.

Dorothy moved to Williamsburg Landing in 1988 and has resided there ever since. For twenty years she managed the weekly vespers conducted by Bruton Parish at the Landing. While there, she also participated in a full life by playing bridge, rummy cube and working with the library. During this time, her life was enriched by the associations with her loving daughter, Kaye, her granddaughter, Sarah, the other residents of the Landing and the dedicated attention of the Landing staff. Dorothy was a truly remarkable woman who led a long and healthy life and who remained intellectually bright right up until her “coming home”.

There will be a memorial service held at Woodhaven Manor in the Landing at 2:00 PM on Thursday, April 3rd. A private inurnment will be held at Bruton Parish Church at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the American Cancer Society.


  • Memorial Service Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dorothy Valborg Schafer

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Sheila Mayes

April 10, 2014

You were a fine lady and will be missed.