Obituary Dorothy Julia (Skeeters) Smead July 25, 2014
Published:  July 24, 2014

Dorothy Julia (Skeeters) Smead

Dorothy Julia (Skeeters) Smead passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of June 29, 2014. She was born October 14, 1926 in St Louis Missouri to Artie and Mabel (McCleery) Skeeters. When she was six months old, the family moved to Ventura, California. Dorothy grew  up there, attending Ventura High School and the newly created Ventura College. As did many of the “greatest generation”, Dorothy began working at a young age. She was a telephone operator while in college, and then had a career as an airline stewardess with Viking Airlines.
In 1948, Dorothy married Earl Smead.  At the time, a career as an airline stewardess was for single women only. She left the airlines, and became the personnel manager at the newly opened Sears Store in Ventura. She and Earl moved to Santa Paula in 1952. Together they opened the State Farm Insurance Agency with Earl as the Agent and Dorothy as the Office Manager. In 1952 the Agency was located on Harvard before the 126 Freeway was built. They moved the Agency a few years later to its present location on 8th Street in Santa Paula. It continues as the Smead State Farm Insurance Agency 62 years later with Dorothy’s youngest son, Steve as the Agent.
In 1953, Earl and Dorothy’s second son John was born with learning disabilities. It was then that Dorothy discovered her true passion and calling. She, along with friends and neighbors, Hazel Kay and Wanda Mason worked tirelessly with the Santa Paula Elementary School District to start a Special Education program. This led her to become one of the founders of the ARC of Ventura County in 1954.    Although this organization was started in Santa Paula, it has always served the entire county. Today it is the largest ARC Chapter in the State. She served on the Board  of  Directors of the ARC for  many years, and was President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer more than once. As a result of her dedication to those with disabilities, she was honored as a Santa Paula Soroptimist Woman of Distinction in 1985. In 2003, Heritage Valley Community Integration Center located in the old Santa Paula Chronicle building on 10th Street was renamed the Hazel Kay/Dorothy Smead Center to recognize the hard work of these two remarkable women.
Dorothy’s faith was always very important to her. She grew up in the Ventura Baptist Church, attended the First Baptist Church in Santa Paula as well as the Ventura Missionary Church in Ventura. Her volunteering nature led her to serve as a Sunday school teacher, a docent at the Santa Paula Oil Museum, as an election judge and a literacy tutor. She was also a member of the Junior Ebell Club and the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority.
Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents Artie and Mabel, husband Earl, brother Cline and his wife Ann, brother Eugene, nephew Ryan McEntee and niece Gina Skeeters. She is survived by her three sons, Chuck (Carol), John, and Steve (Rene). She is also survived by five grandsons, Isaac (Veronica), Aaron (Marci), Mark, Jacob and Lucas, one great grandson Roman as well as numerous nieces and nephews and their extended families.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to Moran Manor in Ventura for the wonderful care they gave Dorothy the last two months of her life. She was fortunate to be able to live in her own home prior to that time.
Please join us for a celebration of    Dorothy’s  life  Saturday,  August 2, 2014 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 147 N. 7th St., Santa Paula at 2:00. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the ARC Foundation of Ventura County, 2128 Knoll Drive, Ste. C, Ventura, CA 93003.

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