I first met Dorothy when she started the group eventually named The Gun Violence Prevention Promise (GVPP). Her outrage and sense of duty after the Sandy Hook massacre matched my own. It was inspiring and admirable to watch her navigate the landscape of various established national groups in order for us to discover how we could learn from, coordinate with and establish ourselves. No matter whether it was planning sermons, visiting neighborhood organizations or inviting elected officials to speak with us, she was relentless in seeking a path forward for GVPP.
Dorothy was also a cultured devotee of the arts. She recounted her years of endless service to LA opera and I once ran into her at a Thousand Oaks Christmas concert. Her love of all things beautiful, equitable and fair defined her.
When our GVPP hosted the 19thAmendment service at church, Dorothy left no detail unattended. She ordered white satin body sashes in order for us to reflect the authentic look of the suffragettes. Her excitement at our full church the Sunday of that service epitomized the enthusiasm she brought to every project. She wanted the world to care as deeply as she about the peaceful and just America she sought and for which she fought. She is irreplaceable, memorable and forever in my heart.
To think of Dorothy is to bring forth her consistent, cheerful, gracious, seemingly effortless goodwill. This, at the same time that her chosen mission was to have us stare into the face of gun violence and be outraged and push back.
We spoke often, visiting and working together over the years. She was a mom, a grandma, and a sister. Her family was always with her despite being scattered as they were across the country. A thoughtful person, full of love. She was a nurse. Her love was infused with science and clarity and understanding. So when she got her diagnosis, she knew what the deal was, and part of that was a decision to be OK with it because, no stranger to adversity, she knew the only other choice was despair. And that certainly was not Dorothy in any way.
She had been in pain, but when I saw her, she was quite comfortable. The third of her daughters had, just ten minutes before, driven in from Houston with the collie who couldn't be left behind. The sisters went into the bedroom to be with each other, leaving Dorothy and me to visit. We talked for a good while. It was so pleasant. Then at some point she said very matter-of-factly, “You know, I have only a day or two more to live,” and then went on. We spoke of friendship and caring and love. We hugged a big hug.
And so it was.
We will sorely miss Dorothy Wait, who passed away on Christmas Eve. She was someone you could stand with to fight for what she believed in and know she'd keep going as long as she had breath to breathe -- when she joined the church all those years ago and started a gun violence prevention group right off the bat, it was obvious she "got it" and wouldn't let go. She was a bright, intelligent, no-nonsense, tenacious spirit and someone who understood friendship better than anyone I know. Her arc definitely bent toward justice, with energy and optimism.
Dorothy was a treasure--charming and delightful but also passionate and persistent. She began the Gun Violence Prevention Promise out of a deep desire to right a wrong and lessen the gun violence in our country. She and I planned the music carefully for both the rallies against gun violence and the services to commemorate those caught in the crossfire. She was a devoted mother, and all four of her children were gathered around her at her passing. We will miss her deeply.
Dorothy was a kind and gentle spirit and a great friend.
Her genuine love and compassion for children engendered in her so much horror at the tragic deaths of 20 children and 6 adult staff during the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, she was impelled to create the Gun Violence Prevention Promise group at UUCSC.
Her tireless and selfless leadership and activism in this cause, along with her devotion to family and tremendous grace and courage during illness are a tribute themselves to what a great human being she was.
Deepest condolences and thoughts to her family and many friends.
I first met Dorothy Wait many years ago when she started coming to UUCSC. We liked to refer to one another as “the other Dorothy.” She was a beautiful person in every way. Her countenance was elegant and gracious. She was soft spoken yet had a strong, active and vocal commitment to social justice as was evidenced by her leadership in work on gun control to end gun violence.
Her family ties were strong. I recall her sharing stories about getting together annually with her sisters who live around the country. She was a devoted mother, raising her family and balancing a nursing career. I was in awe of her intelligence, courage and strength managing life on her own with calm focus. I only ever saw her with a kind, radiant smile on her beautiful face. I will miss our conversations and her wisdom. In the end, as a nurse, I know she understood the progression of her illness; and, while I’m sure she wanted more time, she was blessed with a peaceful passage with her daughters by her side. Dorothy Wait was an example to me of a life well lived. I am so grateful to have known her and been touched by her light.
“the other Dorothy”
When I first met Dorothy, I thought “what an elegant lady.” One of Dorothy’s greatest accomplishments is that she felt compelled to do something about the Sandy Hook Massacre. This led her to form the Gun Violence Prevention Promise. Dorothy made a difference and she had the ability to influence others. She lived the way she died--with dignity and acceptance.