Obituary: Dorothy Harris McCullough

Longtime Claremonter, charity volunteer, grocery store owner

Dorothy Jo Harris McCullough, former owner of Garris Food Store in the Village, died November 30, 2017.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 6, 2018 at La Verne Heights Presbyterian Church, 1040 Base Line Rd., in La Verne. 

She was born February 6, 1922 in Oklahoma City, and was raised in nearby Norman, Oklahoma.  Dorothy attended Oklahoma University but moved to Los Angeles in 1940 to finish her education at Woodbury College. She married Charles Harris in 1941, a week before the attack on Pearl Harbor. She worked at California Shipbuilding Corp in Long Beach during the early years of World War II. 

In 1943, the couple moved to Claremont and purchased the meat department of the Garris Food Store, which is now Espiau’s Restaurant. They later opened and managed The Economy Market in La Verne.

In 1959, she joined Harvey Mudd College as a part-time research secretary for George I. McKelvey, and worked in various positions at the college until her retirement 30 years later. In 1973, she was appointed as the first assistant vice president in the school’s history, which was all the more noteworthy given that she was a woman.

Dorothy had a heart for giving, contributing to and serving on the boards of various charitable organizations during her lifetime. She was past president of the Foothill Guild of Crippled Children’s Society (now AbilityFirst), Vice President of University Relations for the ARCS Foundation, a member of the founding team for Shoes that Fit, a member of the Foothill Philharmonic Committee and an elder at La Verne Heights Presbyterian Church.

Following the death of her husband, Charles, she moved to Mt. San Antonio Gardens where she served as president of the Residents Council, served four years on the board of directors and managed the gift shop. While residing at the Gardens, she met, fell in love with and married Robert McCullough. They had a very happy marriage until his death in 2009.

She is survived by her loving children C. Douglas Harris (Evaleen) of St. Cloud, Florida and Richard L. Harris (Beverly) of La Verne. She was predeceased by her treasured daughter, Cathey A. Anderson, who died December 22, 2015 (survived by Mark) of Escondido. She had seven adoring grandchildren and a growing number of great grandchildren, in addition to dear extended family.

In lieu of flowers, Ms. McCullough requested that donations be made to Shoes that Fit, at, or Freedom Challenge at


Submit a Comment

Share This