Dorothy ‘Dot’ Sheehy
Loving mother, grandmother, educator and entrepreneur
Please allow us to share our thoughts and memories of our mom, Dorothy “Dot” Sheehy. She loved her community and her family so much that we feel it fitting to bring the two together to try to capture her essence more than a standard formal obituary could ever do, although we know we cannot do her essence justice.
Our mom, Dorothy “Dot” Frances Sheehy, was born on April 20, 1943 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. She died suddenly and unexpectedly on September 29, 2014. She was 71 years old.
Dot spent her entire childhood in Holyoke with her parents and younger brother Joe. This is the town where she met our dad, Jack Sheehy, in high school. They dated throughout high school and college. Our mom attended and graduated from Salve Regina College in Rhode Island and our dad attended and graduated from the nearby Brown University. They married shortly after graduation in 1965.
Our dad was an officer in the Marine Corps and was sent to Vietnam only two weeks after their oldest child Erin was born. Their second child, EJ, was born in 1968 and little sister Tara followed in 1969. Our mom raised Erin for the first 18 months of her life without our dad, waiting day-by-day and praying for his safe return. It must have been so difficult.
She was proud of her husband’s dedication to his country (service which earned him a Bronze Star and Purple Heart medal). Military and post-military life sent them on several moves around the country including South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Missouri and then finally, Claremont, California. In 1978, our family moved to Claremont, a city where our mom has lived and which she has enjoyed ever since.
Dot was an educator. She started in the classroom and then moved onto special education in the Ontario-Montclair School District, where she worked for 30 years. We can only imagine the lasting effect that her skills and patience must have had on thousands of students. Some kept in touch with her, and she spoke of them as if they were her own children.
In 2007, she retired from teaching but didn’t want to completely stop working. She started an errand/courier business—Dot Will Do It—complete with magnetic placards on her white Lexus that became a regular sight throughout the community. What started out as a personal shopping business grew into much more. Much of her time was spent assisting handicapped and elderly folks with bill-paying, rides to appointments, shopping and, of course, companionship. We don’t believe she ever considered it a job; she truly enjoyed the people she met and the stories she heard.
Her errand business took up some of her time, but her greatest love and enjoyment came from her three grandchildren who also live in Claremont. There wasn’t a sporting event, kindergarten sing or Halloween parade she ever missed. In fact, she always got to the event at least 30 minutes early to secure the best seat for pictures. She was an invaluable help with the Tisopulos children and would also show up 30 minutes early for an elementary school pick-up, “just in case there was traffic or her car broke down.” Although we laughed at the thought of excessive traffic in Claremont, her punctuality and reliability brought great peace of mind to the working daughter she was assisting!
It was not surprising to our family to be so surrounded with love and support from the parents and teachers at our beloved Condit Elementary School, because she was a constant smiling presence there for more than a decade. It was also not surprising to see so many high school kids in the community supporting us at her service. She was Claremont’s Grandma Dot and she loved the title!
Other things in our mom’s life that she truly enjoyed were her involvement with Children’s Fund, Delta Kappa Gamma, the Claremont Educational Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.
She was proud to serve as an ambassador for the Claremont Chamber of Commerce and was a dedicated member of Our Lady of the Assumption parish.
Our mom was preceded in death by our dad, Jack, who passed away suddenly in 1996. She is also survived by her brother Joseph Mangin and by her children: Erin Sheehy Robb of Pacific Palisades and husband Christopher; Edward “EJ” Sheehy of Seattle, Washington and his wife Vita; and Tara Tisopulos of Claremont and her husband Laki. She is further survived by the three greatest joys of her life, her granddaughters Alexa, Kyra and Melina Tisopulos, all of Claremont.
Having lost her own father at the age of 48 and her husband at 52, Dot knew to live each day to the fullest. She was never without a smile, nor did she ever have an unkind word to say about anyone. She was a role model to us as her children as well as to her grandchildren, who will always understand how important they were in her life. If we had our last moments with her to do over, we would say “thank you for showing us the true meaning of unconditional love and finding joy in the everyday moments that the rest of us take for granted.” Heaven is a better place with our mom in it, and we know we have a guardian angel.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Claremont/West End Auxiliary of Children’s Fund, PO Box 134, Claremont, CA 91711 or to the Claremont Educational Foundation at 112 Harvard Ave. #191, Claremont, CA 91711.
Peace and love,
Erin, EJ and Tara Sheehy Tisopulos