Thursday, December 9, 2021
1:00 PM EST
Chapel Hill United Methodist Church
7028 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49024
Face masks will be required at the church.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Chapel Hill United Methodist Church
7028 Oakland Drive
Portage, MI 49024
United Methodist Committee on Relief
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A caregiver at heart, Dorothy Harrington lived a life rich in faith, family and friends. Her door was always open and Dorothy had a special knack for turning visitors into family. Her children teased that after your second visit to her home, you were “family” and expected to help with the dishes! Dorothy understood the importance of family, service and unconditional love. It was reflected in everything she did. She will be lovingly remembered and deeply missed by her beloved family and friends.
Despite the gloom of the Great Depression, Alford and Katherine (Soughders) Layton, the birth of their daughter, Dorothy on January 30, 1932 provided a glimmer of hope for a better future. Born on a farm, she grew up in Hopkins, Michigan along with her siblings Ronald, Donna and Doris. Farm life meant that from an early age, Dorothy learned the importance of hard work from her parents. They didn’t have indoor plumbing until she was in high school. Though she didn’t have a lot of chores, when the electricity went out, she was right there, milking the cows by hand. Dorothy didn’t mind the hard work, but her long finger nails made the experience less than enjoyable for the cows!
Dorothy attended Hopkins area schools, starting with a one room school house and graduating from Hopkins High School in 1950. She had dreamed of being a doctor, until she was told girls cannot be doctors. So, she set her sights on a becoming a nurse. Following graduation, Dorothy attended Butterworth Hospital Nurses Training. She was a people person and nursing afforded her the opportunity to help others. Though it was hard work and the food was poor (except for the chocolate cake), Dorothy had fun with her fellow nursing students and she proudly completed her Registered Nurse program in 1953.
Working in the operating room at South Haven Hospital was one of Dorothy’s favorite jobs. During her time away from work, she and her friends enjoyed spending time on the beach, in hopes of meeting some eligible young men. It was during one of these visits to the beach that Dorothy met Clifford Harrington. The two hit it off and after dating for a while, the couple was happily married on June 23, 1956 at the Monterey Center M.E. Church.
Shortly after their wedding, Dorothy and Cliff moved to Hancock so Cliff could complete schooling at Michigan Tech. Dorothy found a position at the local hospital, but she said it was like going back in time since they did not have the modern equipment she was used to.
Over the period of five years, Dorothy and Cliff were blessed with the birth of their four children – Kenneth, Kathye, Mary and Sally. As parents, Dorothy and Cliff made a great team, working together to accomplish what needed to be done. Their favorite activities were anything they could do as a family. They enjoyed camping and hiking with some memorable trips including the Grand Canyon, and Glacier National Park as well as countless trips to the South Haven State Park. Later on their grandchildren eagerly looked forward to camping with Grandma and Grandpa. Though it was challenging to get the kids cleaned up after a long day of playing and swimming, as always, Dorothy and Cliff worked together to make it happen!
Dorothy was very active in the lives of her children. She helped in their many activities from Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to attending the 4-H exhibits at the county fair. In addition to volunteering at numerous school events, Dorothy was also active in the PTA. She never missed attending the children’s sporting events, music programs, or school recognitions. A person who stood on principle, Dorothy taught her children the power of prayer, to always take care of your obligations, the importance of volunteering and to love the sinner, but not the sin. Her actions spoke as clearly as her words.
In addition to parenting as a team, Dorothy and Cliff were also partners on the dance floor. They loved dancing. Visiting their daughter Sally when she was a minister in Germany and having the opportunity to see the country was a priceless experience. Central to her life was her relationship to Jesus Christ. She was a living testimony to His love and compassion. Being active in her church was a big part of her life. She and Cliff were faithful members of Chapel Hill United Methodist Church. Dorothy loved to hear her favorite hymns such as How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace, Under his Wings, When the Saints come Marching In. Dorothy’s favorite verse was John 3:16. She especially enjoyed Pastor Dow Chamberlin and his sermons. Dorothy’s church leadership included mission committee, serving as a youth coordinator, and organizing and making calls for the Over the Chapel Hill Gang.
Dorothy found great fulfillment volunteering with UMCOR and helping Cliff with Gideons International. She made countless baby items for layette kits for UMCOR, even after she lost most of her vision - Clifford threaded the serger for her. These endeavors spread the gospel by word and deed. They also allowed the couple to develop deep and lasting friendships.
Dorothy had many pastimes to keep her busy. She loved to read books on nursing and medicine, but her favorite books were historical novels. Dorothy also read all the Harry Potter books. She was an avid Detroit Tigers fan, watching the games on TV or listening to them on the radio. Gardening was another favorite hobby, Dorothy always had a vegetable or flower garden that she would lovingly tend (or have Cliff tend).
Life changed dramatically for Dorothy when, after 62 years of marriage, she lost her beloved Clifford on February 16, 2019. Though his loss was devastating, Dorothy persevered with the love and support of the family she cherished and her many friends at Chapel Hill.
A devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Dorothy will be remembered for her compassion, positive outlook, and unconditional love. Her legacy as a powerful role model and moral compass will live on in the hearts of the family she so dearly loved.
Dorothy Harrington, age 89, of Portage died on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at the Vineyard Assisted Living. Besides her husband Cliff, she was also preceded in death by her grandson Luke Harrington and her brother and sisters. Surviving members of her family include her children: Kenneth (Susan) Harrington, Kathye (Paul) Harrington-Taber, Mary (Michael) Stahl, Sally (Pam) Harrington-Nelson, Dr. Sarah Kim Margolis and Cassia Margolis; 18 grandchildren; 32 great grandchildren; several nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place and a Memorial Service will take place at 1 pm on Thursday, December 9 at Portage Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, 7028 Oakland Drive, Portage. Visit Dorothy’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign her guestbook. In Lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to United Methodist Committee on Relief or Portage Chapel Hill United Methodist Church. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.