Dorothy Liebig Berg Tracy Mace, formerly of Burns, passed away in Aberdeen, Wash., Feb. 13. At 100, Dorothy succumbed to the toll age takes on the human body. She died as she lived, without complaining.
She lived a long and adventurous life. She was born in Fresno, Calif., July 23, 1915, to Conrad and Cynthia Liebig. She had an older brother, Norman. Dorothy’s family moved a bit and finally settled in Oregon. After she graduated high school, Dorothy traveled to California to study at a business school, staying with an aunt. On New Year’s Day, Dorothy would reminiscence about the time she saw the Rose Parade in person.
Upon returning to Oregon, she secured a job as bookkeeper for the local lumber mill. She truly enjoyed working, and even in the last few years would often remark how much she missed her work and that she really should just go out and get a job.
She married her first husband, Carl Berg, and together they had a son, Bob Berg. After the couple split, Dorothy returned to work, and then met and married Glen Tracy. She had two sons by Glen, Michael Tracy and Jeff Tracy. The family moved several times, including a stint in Alaska, and finally settled in California. The couple divorced, and Dorothy started working again as a bookkeeper.
Eventually, she returned to Burns to be with her brother, Norman. There, she met and married Lou Mace, a long-time friend of her brother that she knew from when she was a young girl. The two moved to Springfield. When Lou passed, Dorothy returned again to Burns and resided with her brother, Norman. To Dorothy, Burns was always home.
After Norman passed away in 2002, Dorothy moved to Washington state and lived with her son, Michael, and his wife, Debi, in Hoquiam. Dorothy enjoyed politics (a Democrat) and a good basketball game featuring her favorite L.A. Lakers. She also enjoyed playing cards. Her favorite pastime of all, however, was reading. She read so many books, often having three or four started at the same time. She held a subscription to the Burns Times-Herald and enjoyed keeping up on what was going on in her hometown.
As her memory started to fade to the point where it was dangerous for her to be home alone during the workday, she moved to Harbor Pointe Shores in Ocean Shores, Wash. The back of the assisted living facility was situated right on the harbor, and when she went outside, Dorothy could see all sorts of birds, including eagles, as well as deer, raccoons, and other wildlife.
While living there, her second son, Michael, preceded her in death. Following that event, Debi tried to make sure Dorothy wasn’t lonely, taking her on trips to get her hair done. Dorothy would ride “shotgun” while Debi ran errands. Debi would also take Dorothy to the beach to watch the waves and kites, often stopping for an ice cream cone on the way home. Dorothy was particularly fond of peppermint candy ice cream. She also enjoyed scenic drives around the Ocean Shores peninsula.
While at Harbor Pointe, Dorothy took a fall and broke her hip. Even at her advanced age, the hip was replaced, and Dorothy recovered, although she was confined to a wheelchair after that. This necessitated her living at a nursing home for advanced care, Grays Harbor Health and Rehabilitation in Aberdeen, Wash. This also greatly curtailed the opportunity for outside trips.
Although her memory was greatly impaired, she retained something of the adventurous spirit that was a hallmark of her life. She and her roommate (who also had a less than stellar memory), would often wheel their chairs to the nursing station, demanding to know the way to the parking lot, as they were “taking off” to an unknown destination.
Eventually, Dorothy was moved to the Alzheimer’s Care Unit of the nursing home. It was tremendously sad to see a vibrant, intelligent, adventurous soul like Dorothy’s confined to a chair, confined to a building, and confined to a couple of rooms.
The care she received was excellent, and she lived to see her 100th birthday. Despite the pain she felt, she would never complain. “How are you?” was always met with Dorothy’s reply of “Fine.”
She lived through the passing of many loved ones, relatives, and friends.
Dorothy is survived by her son, Jeffrey Tracy of Petersburg, Alaska; granddaughter, Kim James; great-granddaughter, Anissa James; and great-grandson, Steven Bathke; daughter-in-law, Debi Tracy of Albuquerque, N.M.; stepson, Lou Mace Jr. of Rancho Mirage, Calif.; nephews, Steven Russell of San Francisco, Calif., and Fred Thornton of La Grande; and great-nieces, Tina Thornton and Kari Mussatto.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Norman; husband, Lou Mace; sons, Bob Berg and Michael Tracy; and beloved niece, Pamela Thornton.
After her long life, all who knew her truly wish Dorothy a much-deserved rest in peace. Dorothy was cremated, and interment of her ashes will be at the Burns Cemetery. She shares a headstone with her long-time companion in life — her brother, Norman Liebig.