Dorothy B. Sting celebrates 100 years
, 2015

Dorothy B. Sting celebrates 100 years

by Ellen Dugan

Some 60 members and friends of the Yankee Point Racing and Cruising Club joined Dorothy B. Sting to celebrate her 100th birthday with a dinner and party at the club’s facility in Lancaster.

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Dorothy B. Sting makes a wish before blowing out 100 birthday candles—and there’s room for 20 more!

Born on January 13, 1914, Mrs. Sting said the last time she’d actually been on a sailboat was about five years ago.

“Because of my balance, other types of boats are a bit easier for me now,” she said.

She attributes a long life to good genes, going to church and just letting life happen.

“Don’t get in the Lord’s way,” she said.

Mrs. Sting said it was hard leaving her home and friends in Saginaw, Mich. She lives with her daughter Lucy and son-in-law Warren Hottle, YPRCC’s fleet captain.

“I miss the good black dirt, the kind that really feels thick and rich when you run it through your fingers,” she said.

Friends noted that her garden in Michigan had been featured in local newspapers and was considered to be an outdoor showplace.

Hottle noted that while on land, he and his mother-in-law, both experienced cooks, share a kitchen.

“I do the cooking and Dorothy does the cleanup,” said Hottle. He did not speculate as to whether or not the kitchen was big enough to accommodate this arrangement, but friends noted that they had never heard Mrs. Sting complain.

Reminiscing about her life, Mrs. Sting said she first learned to drive on her father’s Model T Ford on a gravel road when she was 14. “It was legal back then,” she said, noting that he had had to help her straighten the wheel when the gravel was too thick. “I’ve been driving ever since,” she continued, “until about six years ago.”

Her first ride in an airplane was in her early 20s over Saginaw with a barnstorming pilot. “I wasn’t a bit afraid,” she said.

She was more nervous on her first “date” at age 19, she said. The occasion was a box social where women packed dinner and decorated the box, and possible suitors would bid on it. “Mine was chicken, an apple and probably something else, and the box was done up real pretty with crepe paper,” she said. Although she doesn’t remember the purchaser’s name, she does recall that he paid $3—an enormous sum—and that she was too nervous to eat. He finally had to ask if he could open it and the two of them then sat together and ate.

Both of her parents were deaf, and as a result she learned sign language as well as normal speech, the latter from her grandparents. At the age of two she was sent to live with them for this express purpose. When she returned home it became her responsibility to teach her younger sister and later her two brothers to speak. “And I’ve been a teacher ever since,” she said.

Before moving to Lancaster Mrs. Sting was a school principal for 22 years and a classroom teacher for 18 years. Part of her educational philosophy as a principal was to teach teachers how to teach and to go right in and help with discipline problems. “Sometimes you have to ‘model teach’ so they will know what to do,” she said.

The highlight of her celebration was the lighting of 100 birthday candles surrounding her cake by Daphne Montgomery, Warren Hottle and John Tidwell. The wooden candle holder (which has room for 20 more birthday celebrations) was created by vice commodore Eddy Whichard. Adrienne Green made the cake.

Ellen Dugan serves as publicity chairman for Yankee Point Racing and Cruising Club.

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