It’s May 18th and in the Desmond family that can mean just one thing: it’s Mom’s birthday–her 101st to be exact. Though she’s been gone now for over 42 years, who could ever forget a face like hers? No wonder our dad fell so hard for her!
Dorothy May Donar, the fourth of five children, was born May 18, 1911 in Manhattan, New York, to Peter Donar and Mary Agnes Kennedy. Little is known about her early years because she rarely talked about them, and sadly, it’s our loss that we rarely bothered to ask.
What is clear is that once she reached young adulthood, the dynamics of the Donar family changed rapidly due to the early loss of two brothers, Jack (26) and Matt (21), and the death of her father, Peter–all before her 25th birthday.
Dorothy never completed high school. She got as far as the 10th grade, though. And she did have, what I’d like to believe was a glamorous though brief career, modeling in Chicago for Saks Fifth Avenue. Eventually she met the man of her dreams, married him in 1934, and went on to have eight kids of her own.
But this post isn’t about all those folks. It’s a tribute to you, Mom, who–before kids and family obligations took over your life–was able for a few short years in the early ’30s to enjoy your time in the spotlight.
Just you, Dorothy Donar: in front of the camera, on the runway, and in modeling shoots on the streets of Chicago as you sported the latest fashions of the day.
Happy Birthday, Mom!