Obituary: Dottie Kelleher
Dottie Kelleher passed away on March 9, 2020. She was born July 15, 1926 in Somerville, New Jersey. Upon completing a four-year degree at Rosemont College in Philadelphia in 1948 she returned to New York City and worked at Women’s Wear Daily. By 1955 Dottie was ready for something new. She had decided to become a ski bum. While vacationing at Mont-Tremblant ski area near Montreal in the spring of 1955 she made inquiries with the local ski instructors about where she should go if she wanted to be a ski bum the coming winter. They suggested going to Colorado: either Aspen or Arapahoe. Dottie settled on Aspen. She worked at the Sun Deck Restaurant for 65 cents an hour including a ski pass that first winter in Aspen. That enabled her to ski all she wanted in her off hours.
In the spring of 1956, she traveled to Mexico with some of her new Aspen friends. It was the first of many trips to Mexico and Central America. When Dottie returned home, she began working at the local import shop called Valley Kilns and after six years she bought it. Wherever Dottie traveled she brought back things to sell in the store. When the pedestrian mall on Hyman Avenue was built the rent started going up on the space rented by Valley Kilns. After a couple of increases the rent for Valley Kilns became too much and Dottie closed the store.
Dottie’s trips to Central America weren’t solely taken to purchase imports for the Valley Kilns. In the 1980’s she joined up with Witness for Peace in Nicaragua and began sending letters back to Colorado. The letters were distributed to a list of people she thought should know about the tragedies that were happening there. Innocent people were being killed in the crossfire between the Sandinista government and the Contras. Dottie made several trips to Nicaragua with Witness for Pease.
Dottie was always active. In addition to skiing she hiked the mountains and biked around town. Into her 70’s she hiked on trips with the “Great Old Broads” of Aspen.
Dottie is survived by her brother, William T. Kelleher Sr, and nephews William T. Kelleher Jr. and John A. Kelleher.
A mass will be held at St. Mary’s Church in Aspen to be announced later.