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Dorothy C. McMaster


 Dorothy Clark McMaster passed away on May 15th with family members by her side.   A resident of the Athenaeum in Skaneateles, she was 103 years old.   Born in Bridgeport, CT on January 29th, 1921, she grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, and Flushing, New York, graduating from Flushing High School.  While living in New Haven, where her father worked for Edward Malley Department Store, she used to attend football games at the Yale Bowl during the 1920s with him. In the late 1920s, the family moved to Flushing, New York.  Sadly, Dorothy’s father died at the young age of 40 in 1930 and her mother, Viola Clark, started work for Con Edison as a bookkeeper in order to support the family, including Dorothy and her older sister, Esther.  The family struggled during the 1930s depression, but managed to make it through after downsizing their Flushing apartment many times. Dorothy tells the story of going to the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread and bottle of milk for 24 cents with 25 cents from her mother. She was told she could not use the extra 1 cent for candy, since the family needed the money.  She was an excellent student and salutatorian of her grade school class.     Amazingly, during these tough times, she was able to attend Barnard College by working as a model in New York City during summers.   

​              She graduated from Barnard in 1942 and worked for American Airlines (at LaGuardia Airport) and in the travel industry after graduation.  Although an English major, she talked fondly of her Zoology and Latin classes at Barnard.  Throughout her life, she made many trips to New Orleans, where her mother had grown up in the French quarter, and her parents had met.     Dorothy’s entry from the 1942 Barnard Morterboard:     Lovely blond curly locks…effervescent personality… gets lots of fun out of life...after graduation has ambitions for theatre work, publicity, staging, or costume designing, along with that marriage and lots of children…         

       One interesting cross-country trip that Dorothy made was in the 1940s, after college but during World War II.  She and a friend were delivering a car to the family home in Colorado and they made the trip from New York to Denver on what were then mostly secondary roads.  Along the way, they broke down and were stuck in West Virginia for several days before finally getting the needed part.  After arriving in Colorado she spent time in the Rocky Mountains before heading back to New York.  This trip involved a flight to Omaha, train to Chicago, flight to Buffalo, and finally a final flight to New York.  She was able to get flights during the wartime, when soldiers always had first priority, due to her employment at American Airlines.

        Dorothy met her husband, Andrew McMaster, who preceded her in death in 2000, on a blind date in 1946 on 5th Avenue near the New York Public Library.  Andrew had returned from active duty in World War II after serving in France and Germany.  Andrew and Dorothy were married on October 26th, 1946 at Grace Church in New York City, and initially lived in Sea Girt New Jersey. Later, they moved to Morristown where their four sons were born.  In 1957 Andy was transferred with the Monroe Calculator Company to Syracuse where he was a regional manager, and the family moved to Skaneateles where Dorothy lived for the remainder of her life, 66 years.  Andy and Dorothy were married for 54 years.

      Dorothy was very active in St. James Episcopal Church, serving on the Altar Guild, and in many other capacities including staffing the Thrift Shop. She was also active with the Skaneateles Garden Club, Meals on Wheels, and other local activities.  In retirement, Andrew and Dorothy were able to travel across North America (drove across the trans-Canada highway), South America, Europe and Africa (crossed the Straight of Gibraltar to Northern Morocco). Dorothy was a lifelong learner, and would check out 2-3 books a week from the Skaneateles Library.  In the 60’s she took classes in Italian and became fluent.  After losing most of her eyesight later in life to macular degeneration, she quickly shifted to books on tape, and continued to be a veracious reader “listener” right up to May 2024.

     Dorothy maintained many many friends in Skaneateles, many of whom were members of St. James Church, to the very end of her life. She spent the last six years at the Athenaeum where she celebrated her 100th birthday in 2021.

    She is survived by four sons: Peter, Stephen, Andrew Jr., and Robert; nine grandchildren: Phillip, Barry, Adam, Sarah, Megan, Andrew III, Matthew, Keiko, and Katherine; and eight great grandchildren.

To view previously archived obituary and guestbook for Dorothy, please click here.

1 comment

1 Comment

Jun 28

Condolences to the family. Andy and Dorothy were my parents best friends.

I shall always remember her as being such a gracious ,caring person with a wonderful sense of humor and great laugh.

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