Dorothy T. Clemens, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. She was the daughter of Max and Ora Thelen of Berkeley. She married William A. Clemens on January 22, 1955 and had four children: Catherine (James) Palmer of Normal, Illinois, Elisabeth Clemens (David Larson) of Chicago, Diane Knott (Jeffrey) of Fullerton, California, and William V. Clemens (Ryoko) of Berkeley. She is also survived by seven grandchildren and an extended family of in-laws, nieces and nephews, grandnephews and grandnieces. She will be deeply missed and her love will live forever in all of our hearts.
A longtime Berkeley resident, Dorothy attended John Muir Elementary, Willard Junior High, and Berkeley High School, where she met her future husband, Bill. After a long courtship and a quick draft-driven wedding, she completed her degree in social work at the University of California Berkeley, before joining Bill in Germany for his tour of duty with the US Army in 1955-56. That year marked the beginning of wide-ranging travels, including many European trips, multiple sabbatical years in both England and Germany, and journeys to Japan, China and Mongolia. In autumn of 2014, she and Bill enjoyed their first cruise, through the Greek Islands and along the Turkish coast, bracketed by visits with many friends in London, Munich, and Berlin. When at home, from Kansas to Berkeley to Europe, she welcomed colleagues and students of paleontology for dinners, parties, and extended stays.
Dorothy’s memberships in both the University YWCA and First Congregational Church of Berkeley began in her university years and continued until the end of her life. She served on the University YWCA board and as interim Executive Director, while contributing to the Y’s centennial as author of Standing Ground and Starting Point: 100 years with the University YWCA in 1990. She revised the volume 20 years later. Dorothy was a valued member of the First Congregational Church, serving as Moderator in 1977. To both institutions she brought her enthusiasm, graciousness, capacity for diplomacy, and formidable organizational skills. For many years, she worked part-time at Berkeley Adult School, teaching English as a Second Language, and volunteered with English in Action at the YWCA.
Dorothy held her extended family together as the center of all news and memories. She wrote her father’s biography – Max Thelen: Straight into the Law – maintained wonderful scrapbooks, and corresponded extensively with family and friends, both local and international.
The family would like to express our deepest thanks to her caregivers, especially Lilly and Molly, and to her doctors as well as the home nursing and hospice staff of Kaiser Permanente. We are grateful for the dedicated care and support given by all.
A memorial service will be celebrated Saturday, October 17th, 2015 at 2 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way. A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall at the church. A private inurnment will be at Sunset View Cemetery, El Cerrito.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dorothy’s honor to the YWCA Berkeley/Oakland, YWCA 2600 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94704, or to the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704.
Date: Thursday, January 1, 1970
Date: Saturday, October 17, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm
First Congregational Church
Address:2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA, 94704