Sustaining the Future: Dorothy Westhafer (left)
Dorothy Westhafer first joined LWV as a young bride in Dayton, Ohio. Her husband, Jim, was the co-pastor of a Presbyterian Church and she met many League members who were part of the congregation. She began going to meetings regularly and, by the time she left Dayton in 1962, she was Vice President of the Dayton League.
Little did she know, but, through her League leadership, Dorothy was following in her grandmother’s footsteps. In 2010, Dorothy discovered that her grandmother, Jennie Holloway, had served as president of the Akron, Ohio League from the time of its organization until a few months before her death in 1928.
A cum laude graduate of Miami University with an art major and Phi Beta Kappa member, Dorothy put her considerable talents into community leadership. In 1962, Dorothy and James moved to Lockport, New York where there was no local League but she maintained her membership at the state level and began a “Keeping Up” program through the YWCA Board. Soon Dorothy found herself coordinating a provisional League. When the family again moved, this time to Grand Island, New York, Dorothy joined the LWV of Buffalo. Last year, she was honored as a 50 Year Member of the League.
As with many League volunteers, Dorothy was more than a member and a mother, she also worked as director of the Niagara Community College Art Gallery for 11 years and did some teaching in art history at Buffalo State and Niagara University.
Today, Dorothy continues to volunteer in her community. In addition to being a lifetime League member, she enjoyed tennis, taught Sunday School, has served as a docent at the Albright Knox art gallery, and is active in the Western New York Land Conservancy. She also serves on the Conservation Advisory Board for the Town of Grand Island.
The League owes much to Dorothy for her volunteer leadership over more than 50 years but, as is typical for Dorothy, she goes further and gives financial support to the state League. Dorothy has made an annual gift to the state League every year for over 10 years. Her leadership level support allows the League she loves to continue to educate voters and support good government. In her own words, “The League of Women Voters is a critical group due to its non-partisan education of voters and its encouragement of citizens to participate; participation is crucial for democracy to work.”
We thank Dorothy for her dedication to making democracy work.