Inspirational teacher of English and theater

Published in the December 16, 2015 edition

wellingobitLYNNFIELD — Dorothea Marie (McCausland) Welling, formerly of Wakefield, died on Dec. 8 at the age of 98.

Dottie was born on Nov. 22, 1917 to a charismatic pharmaceutical salesman, Carl Enders and his beautiful Irish lass, Mamie Cahill. She spent her early years in Buffalo, N.Y. under their tutelage, where they instilled in her a passion for life and the stamina she would need to conquer this world. She completed her bachelor of arts degree in English Literature and Theater at Buffalo’s D’Youville College and continued her studies in education in Boston when she moved to Wakefield in 1959.

Her compassion and commitment to help all of God’s creatures, especially those less fortunate, was unwavering. She began her educational career in Buffalo but she spent much of her life teaching English and Theater at Woburn High School, retiring from there at the age of 78. She advocated for and inspired many, especially her most challenged students, by recognizing and employing their unique talents and believing in their innate goodness. She mentored everyone she met, student, friend or acquaintance telling them all they were, “way above average,” engaging them all in the creative process.

She taught her students to compose and direct their own plays, to write poetry and prose and to use their voice to challenge the status quo, to inspire and to influence others to make morally correct choices and to overcome injustices such as racism, spousal and child abuse as well as drug addiction. She and her students spent much of their time performing at local nursing homes and Shriners Hospital in Boston. Or, they often hosted theatrical performances in order to raise money for charitable causes.

In her spare time, Dottie raised alone her six children: Stephen Welling (deceased), Craig Welling, Tamara Hoare, Dagmar Brizee, Eric Fogal (deceased) and Heidi Tourkistas, and instilled in them a deep appreciation for the inborn gifts God bestowed on them, so they too would choose a life with purpose. “Never say you do not care,” chastised Dottie.

Dottie was known by some as a hostess at the Pier Four Restaurant in Boston, or as the owner of the Doll House gift shops of Wakefield and the Shopper’s Closet gift shop at the Holiday Inn in Peabody, which she closed at the age of 88. She could be found some summers nestled in a Bearskin Neck, Rockport kiosk peddling hand-crafted wares as well.

Many from the Suffolk Downs and Rockingham Park race tracks remember Dottie fondly as their skilled handicapper. She traveled to Europe each spring with her students to broaden their understanding of the world. Although she was a petite woman, she had Herculean energy and was a force to be reckoned with when anyone wronged a student of hers or a disadvantaged individual.

Her grandchildren, Adam and Luke Welling, Kurt Welling and wife Audrey, Amy van Meeteren and husband Art, Allyson Cellucci and husband Brian, Jonathan Walsh and wife Stacey, Fred Brizee and wife Dawn, Kevin Brizee and Jennifer Missett, Janelle Blais and husband Michael, James, Michael Ryan and Matthew Tourkistas, Mary Julia and Eric J. Fogal and her great-grandchildren Benjamin and Troy Welling, Mikayla Cellucci, Sean and Jake Walsh, Emma and Elizabeth van Meeteren, Cassandria and Zachary Ricker and Cashen Blais, will miss their Grammie’s infectious sense of humor, zeal for adventure and mostly her many amusing costumes and hats she wore to family gatherings. She was predeceased by her son-in-law Alfred Brizee and her grandson Joshua Walsh.

“We cannot do great deeds unless we are willing to do the small things that make up the sum of greatness.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Dorothea Welling’s sum of greatness is measured by the many meaningful deeds she devotedly performed in her lifetime to inspire others to believe in their strengths so they could impact the world in essential ways.

Her funeral services was held at the McDonald Funeral Home, 19 Yale Ave., Wakefield on Saturday, Dec. 12, followed by a funeral Mass in Our Lady of the Assumption Church, corner of Grove and Salem streets, Lynnfield. Interment took place Forest Glade Cemetery, Wakefield. Visitation for relatives and friends was held at the funeral home on Friday, Dec. 11.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to “MGH Alzheimer’s Research Fund,” mailed to Shawn Fitzgibbons, Massachusetts General Hospital, Development Office-Suite 540, 125 Nashua St., Boston MA 02114.