Mrs. Dorothy Marie Lehman Hershberger, 91, passed away peacefully on September 26, 2019, at her Homewood apartment, in Martinsburg, PA. Her health had steadily declined in recent months. The first of four children born to Walter B. Lehman and Margaret Murr Lehman of Lawn, Dottie was born August 20, 1928 in Lawn, PA.
She married Rex Wilbur Hershberger August 12, 1952 in Lititz, PA and they made their home in Martinsburg, PA. Dottie served as a role model and inspiration for her children: Kimber Hershberger (John Wetzel), of Richmond, VA; Loren Hershberger (Christine), of Hollidaysburg, PA; Bernie Hershberger, of Portland, ME; and Dan Hershberger (Mary), of Martinsburg. She was very proud of her 7 grandchildren: Brenton Joo Mitchell (Morgan); Rebekah Mitchell; Eli Hershberger; Mara Hershberger (Logan Hanley); Eva Hershberger Karns (Brian Karns); Luisa Barry-Hershberger; Miriah Hershberger and her great grandson Otis Joo Mitchell. She is survived by a beloved sister, Mrs. Janice Ruhl of Lititz, PA with whom she shared rambunctious adventures throughout her life. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband on February 19, 2015, her brother Melvin and her sister, Mrs. Elva Jean Miller.
Dottie’s children, grandchildren, and many others in her community have attested to the role she played in teaching them how to live well. Her ability to love unconditionally reverberated through the communities where she lived. She had an unwavering willingness to learn, explore, question, and prove that getting older doesn’t mean you can’t change, be open to progress and have fun. Dottie understood that we each have only one precious life and sought to fill her days with as much party hosting and red wine drinking as possible. She loved hosting festivities at her Deerwalk home on Tussey Mountain. She was a consummate hostess and created environments that were welcoming, balanced, and celebrative. Her grandchildren say that many of their best qualities and attributes came from her, and they hope to live with her strength, enthusiasm, and grace.
To say Dottie was a woman ahead of her time would be an understatement—she was a pioneer. After graduating from Milton Hershey High School, she took her pioneering spirit to Juniata College and graduated in 1950 with a degree in education. She taught in area schools for a time yet stayed connected to Juniata as a volunteer. Eventually, she was asked to serve as Alumni & Development Director of the College. During her time as a staff member, her refusal to accept the status quo and desire for change blossomed. She planned Juniata College’s first Celebration of Women highlighting the valuable contributions women had made to the College and promoting the need for more focus on the valuable contributions women make in many contexts. She leveraged her connections at Juniata to host UN Peace Seminars at her mountain home bringing together the importance of diplomacy, fellowship, and understanding others.
In retirement, Dottie continued her desire for growth, learning and service. In 1997, she was elected to the Spring Cove school board, serving for two terms and as board president for three years. After she and Rex moved to Westminister Woods in Huntingdon PA, she was an active member of the Stone Church of the Brethren. She believed strongly in the church’s welcoming statement that claims all persons are loved and accepted by God. To broaden herself, she audited classes at Juniata College where she embraced eating organic food, hosting students over holidays who did not have a place to go, and embracing the digital era with iPhone in hand. Her passion for community building was contagious as she raised funds and recruited students for Juniata and spear headed capital campaigns for Martinsburg’s Memorial Park and a wellness center for Homewood. Dottie was a remarkable woman who thought big and had great vision. Even though she was sometimes frustrated by the pace of change, she continued to be an agent of change who lived out her values of loving and serving others - always trying to understand people more deeply at every opportunity.
The family will hold a celebration of her life on November 2, at 3:00 p.m. in the Bice Chapel of Homewood Homes in Martinsburg, PA with a reception to follow. (Please dress in vibrant colors to honor Dottie's love of color). In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Juniata College to the Dottie and Rex Hershberger Memorial Fund. Gifts can be made online at www.juniata.edu/give, or checks should be mailed to the Office of Development Juniata College, 1700 Moore St, Huntingdon, PA 16652.
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The Office of Development - Juniata College (The Dottie and Rex Hershberger Memorial Fund)
1700 Moore St, Huntingdon PA 16652