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Dodi Morrison says so long with a book in hand

Dodi (Dorothy) Morrison, 92, died Nov. 28.  A frequent contributor to the Western News, Morrison was an avid reader, writer and walker. - File Photo
Dodi (Dorothy) Morrison, 92, died Nov. 28. A frequent contributor to the Western News, Morrison was an avid reader, writer and walker.
— image credit: File Photo

With a book in one hand Dodi (Dorothy) Morrison died just how she would likely have wanted to.

“Yes, not a tragedy but certainly a loss,” said the author’s son, Chris Morrison, who lives in Calgary. “The way she went was she had her supper and they put her in her bed and she was reading a book. When they found her she was lying there the way I have always seen her go to sleep with a book in one hand and the television remote control sitting beside her on the other side. It was on her terms, as so much was.”

Dodi, who was 92-years-old when she died on Nov. 28, was a long-time contributor to the Penticton Western News with her column From All Angles. Her sister, Heather Spears, was a Governor-General award winning poet, artist and author. But Dodi also had her own place in print and on radio. She was the author of Okanagan Reflections which summed up 80 years of her writing, and also hosted a children’s program on CBC radio.

Dodi’s love for the outdoors and music was passed along to her children. Chris is a musician, her other son Patrick, who lives in Hawaii, is a musician and daughter Lesley in New York City was also a musician for a long time. Dodi’s very first published story, It’s Not A Very Good Road, won her a $35 prize from the CBC and she went on to publish hundreds of articles, letters, book reviews and segments for CBC Radio as a seniors’ correspondent for the B.C. Interior. Dodi referred to her writing as the kind you have to put down from time to time to return to it later.

She wanted to make people think. Chris remembers his mother as outspoken, as most who knew her found out quickly.

“She always had very strong opinions and I think most people in Penticton knew that and it was great that she had somewhere to vent other than her direct family,” said Chris followed by a chuckle.

“I don’t know if she would have called herself a women’s liberation type, but she certainly acted it.

“She wasn’t afraid to work outside the home, be involved in things and express herself.”

In 1942 she graduated from UBC and taught high school before marrying Robert Franklin Morrison, who was also involved in music as a hobby. She continued teaching elementary school when they moved to Yellowknife from Trail, even though at that time a married woman was not supposed to be a teacher. That career lasted until she retired at 65.

Dodi was a fighter, Chris said. He thought the family was going to lose her just after their father died in 2003. Dodi had not been doing well but then got back to the outdoors and walking. She often could be seen pushing her walker from Brandon Avenue all the way down to the Penticton Farmer’s Market. That was until about three years ago when she started losing mobility and moved in to Haven Hill.

“I think the walking is what kept her alive all those years. Through sheer force of will she forced herself to walk everyday and brought herself back,” said Chris.

JaneTurnell only knew Dodi for a few years, as they were both involved in the Grandmothers for Africa organization.

“She was getting weaker and weaker at the time and I helped her out here. It was more like she kind of picked me to be a friend,” said Turnell. “One day she needed a ride home and asked me. By the time I got her home Dodi said ‘My gosh we have really hit it off well.’ We were friends ever since.”

Turnell added Dodi’s death came as a surprise to many because she was doing well that day.

“Dodi had real strength of character as well strength in her body.”

A memorial celebration has not been scheduled yet. Condolences may be shared by visiting www.everdenrust.com.

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