In Memory

Mrs. Dorothy DeTar (Physical Education)

From the Daily Republic

Dorothy DeTar

Jan. 25, 1925 — March 24, 2020

Dorothy Ellen DeTar (nee Emigh) passed away on March 24, 2020. Dorothy died peacefully in her sleep in the home of her daughter, Janet McNeill, in Dixon, California. Janet, with granddaughter, Lauren Grounds, were Dorothy’s primary caregivers in her final years.

Dorothy was born Jan. 25, 1925, in Rio Vista, California, the only daughter of Arthur and Lena Emigh. Arthur and a very pregnant Lena were headed to a hospital in Sacramento when a storm diverted them to Arthur’s parents’ home in Rio Vista, where Dorothy was born.

Dorothy grew up on the family farm in the Montezuma Hills outside of Rio Vista. Electricity and indoor plumbing had not yet reached the farm in early 20th century America. Dorothy rode a heavy, one-speed bike over steep roads to the one-room school in town. She and her family weathered the Great Depression.

After graduating from Rio Vista High in 1942, Dorothy matriculated to College of the Pacific (now University of the Pacific) in Stockton, California.
While at COP, Dorothy was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority, where she came into her own as a young woman and formed lifelong friendships.

Dorothy graduated from COP with an education degree in 1946 and married James DeTar later in the same year. The union ended in divorce in 1972.

Dorothy and Jim moved from Berkeley, to Dixon, to Auburn, California. Along the way Dorothy’s four children, Lynne, Cliff, Janet and Kay, were born. When her youngest child was two, the family moved to a ranch in Suisun Valley, California. It was this ranch that provided the backdrop for the Dorothy DeTar that her family and friends deeply cherish. Dorothy was the consummate hostess, always eager to set one or 10 extra places for dinner. She was unstinting in her generosity.

During this time on the ranch, Dorothy began a 20-plus-year career as a physical education teacher. Dorothy taught and coached tennis at Armijo and Fairfield high schools in Fairfield, California. Her former students attest to the fact that Dorothy was a compassionate and firm teacher, and an outstanding role model.

Herself an excellent tennis player, Dorothy eventually had a full-size court built at the ranch. Many of her grandchildren and their friends learned to serve and volley under Dorothy’s tutelage. Dorothy very much enjoyed competition and was a good sport. When not on the tennis court, you might find her at the bridge table, an intrepid player, she was never afraid to double.

Starting in Auburn and continuing to the time on the ranch, Dorothy was an enthusiastic joiner. The list of the clubs she participated in is long: California Retired Teachers Assn. Div. 24, Delta Gamma Sorority, Wednesday Club, PEO, Solano Republican Women, UOP Alumni and American Association of University Women. Dorothy was a member of the Fairfield Christian Reformed Church and a steadfast supporter of youth activities – the 4-H Club and Little League, among others.

Dorothy inherited her father’s passion for baseball. She was an avid fan of the SF Giants and, with other family members, followed the team devotedly.
On Dorothy’s most recent birthday, Jan. 25 of this year, over 50 family members (encompassing four generations!) gathered to celebrate in Dixon. The evening made a deep impression on all who attended.

Consistent with her spirit of generosity, Dorothy arranged to have her body donated to the UC Davis School of Medicine.

Survivors include Dorothy’s younger brother, Richard Mervin Emigh (Faye Franscioni) of Rio Vista; Harold’s wife, Martha (Coupin) Emigh of Woodland; children, Lynne Davies (Tad), Cliff DeTar (Patty), Janet McNeill and Kay Gibson (Terry); 10 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her older brother, Harold Arthur Emigh, in 1995; parents, Arthur and Lena, died in 1961 and 2002. Lena was 103 at the time of her death.

In Dorothy’s last years, she was blessed to have the near-constant company of three great-grandchildren, Grace, Abby and Dottie, the children of caregiver, Lauren Grounds.

The family encourages memorial gifts to NorthBay Hospice or the charitable organization of your choice.

A celebration of a life that touched so many will be scheduled at a later date.