Dorothy Peaslee “Dot” Smith, a longtime resident of East Swanzey, passed away at Genesis-Keene Center on Jan. 23, 2021, of complications from COVID-19.
Dorothy was born on the family farm in South Pittsfield on Nov. 10, 1924, daughter of Francis A. and Elizabeth (Jenness) Peaslee. The Peaslee and Jenness families were Quakers and Dorothy was a member of the Society of Friends.
Dorothy’s lifelong love of animals, especially cows and cats, came from growing up on the farm, as did her interest in, and prowess with, landscaping and gardening. She always shared her life with at least one cat, and was known for her meticulously maintained property and productive vegetable garden. In season, a visitor would never leave without a bag of fresh vegetables or, if too busy to stop, one might turn up on your front seat, or front porch.
From Dorothy’s countless, fascinating stories, growing up on a farm in the 1920s and ‘30s with her dad, mom and beloved older sister, Esthe,r was quite an adventure. Even late in life, as dementia robbed her of her dignity and so many of her memories, when prompted, she would love to recount with you stories from her childhood. In addition to helping out on the farm, Dorothy attended Pittsfield schools and went on to graduate from the University of New Hampshire in 1944 with a degree in education.
After college, Dorothy taught at schools in White River Junction, Vt., as well as Laconia and Dover. When home for the summer helping on the farm, she met William M. “Bill” Smith, who happened to come to work one day as a replacement for his younger brother, Henry, and they were married in 1950. Dorothy took time out from her career to start a family and through the 1950s three sons were born. Ever committed to her family, she also returned to teaching at Chichester Elementary in Chichester. Then the family moved to East Swanzey in 1967 and she finished out her career at Troy Elementary School, retiring in 1985 and becoming a member of the N.H. Retired Teachers. Dorothy was dedicated to her profession and to her students. To the end, if one asked her what she was up to, invariably one of her replies would be that she was “going back to school soon.”
In her retirement, Dorothy loved to spend time out in her yard and garden (a fellow teacher once commented that she “saw Dot out vacuuming her woods”!), as well as visiting with family when they stopped by. She was an accomplished baker and was known especially for her cookies — seasonal decorated sugar cookies, as well as Peaslee family recipe molasses and her own chocolate chip. A Tupperware cookie box would always come out for visitors, accompanied by a hot drink, in season, brewed from a kettle steaming on the woodstove, or a glass of cranberry juice spiked with ginger ale. Then it was time to sit back and catch up on family and friends.
Dorothy leaves behind her children: William and Susan Smith of Fitzwilliam; Richard and Marcy Smith of Alstead; and Thomas Smith and Debora Panzieri of Harrisville; her grandchildren: Michelle and Valdinei Lopes DaCruz; Jennifer and Anil Gonnabathula; Andrew Smith and Kendra Frye; Wallace and Thomas Maguire; Taylor and Danielle Doolittle; and Spencer Doolittle; her great-grandchildren: Jade, Jasmine, Eli, Amelia, Sam and Olivia; and her great-great-grandchildren: Grayson and Amara; in addition to many, many, beloved nieces and nephews. Dorothy was predeceased by her husband, William M. Smith; and her sister, Esther M. Fox.
A private family service will be held in the spring or summer when it is safe to gather. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dorothy’s memory to the Monadnock Humane Society. To view Dot’s online tribute, send condolences to the family, or for more information, visit www.csnh.com.