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Pianist. Writer. Painter. World traveler. Those are just a few words to describe Dorothy Coleman. Like many fashionable ladies, Dorothy gets her hair and nails done every week and loves going to the library. Six months ago she enjoyed a trip to the Wild Animal Kingdom. Dorothy is 106.
Currently sharing a home in Oceanside with her daughter Pat and her granddaughter’s family, Dorothy has lived in a variety of cities all over the world – Vienna, Austria; Naples, Florida; Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, to name a few. In her eighties, Dorothy travelled to India and spent 17 days there; she celebrated her 84th birthday in a hot air balloon over Del Mar, CA; and at 91, she became a published author. Her life has been filled with adventure and travel, but she had a hard time naming her favorite place. She said, “there’s good and bad in everything. My mother always used to say you take the bitter with the better.”
The walls of Dorothy’s four-generational home are covered with art – paintings created by Dorothy as well as photography and framed textiles she and Pat have acquired on their various journeys. This house tells a story of people who have seen the world.
Dorothy created a memory book for her loved ones called Come With Me. It is a collection of her travels, her writing, and special photographs she has taken along the way in places like Zimbabwe, Portugal, New Zealand, Morocco and India.
Her love of music began with the piano. Dorothy’s father was one of eight children. One of his sisters, Beulah, played the piano and young Dorothy was fascinated just watching her fingers dance across the black and white keys. At five years old, Dorothy began taking piano lessons and years later, had the good fortune of studying with a concert pianist in Vienna.
Pat is an only child and she shares her mother’s passion for travel, although never took to piano (“I took lessons. I hated it!” Pat said). At 82, she’s not slowing down any time soon either. “I just started French lessons. Next spring, I’m off to the South of France for a full immersion program,” Pat said. Of her mother, Pat loves her positive, upbeat attitude. “That is what has kept her going. She has always had a zest for life and sees the bright side of things. I do believe that is the reason for her longevity.”
Hospice of the North Coast began service with Dorothy in July. She looks forward to visits from her caregivers who she said are all “very kind and nice.” Pat added, “Our experience with HNC has been great. Everyone is very positive, knowledgeable and does a great job of keeping in touch. Hospice called over the weekend just to check in and ask if there is anything we needed. I thought that was a nice touch.”
Dorothy loves to share stories of her adventures. Spending time with her is an inspiration to all of us to follow our passion and keep discovering the world.