Family & Friends
Dorothy Jane “Dottie” Pierce, L57064, who served as FMCA’s national president from 1995 to 1998, died on September 24, 2007, in Clearwater, Florida, after an eight-year battle with colon cancer. She was 79.
Dottie was born August 21, 1928, in Wilmington, Delaware, one of nine children raised by her parents, Emmer and Ida Cloud. She grew up in the area, attending Alfred I. DuPont Grade School then Alexis I. DuPont High School. It was during her school years that she met her husband of 61 years, Martin.
“I knew Dottie just about all my life,” said Martin. “I guess I first met her in grade school. I was friends with her brother, and we were three years older than her. I remember her when she was just a pain. But then in 1944, when she was 16, she grew up and became a woman all of a sudden.” They dated for two years, then married on June 21, 1946.
The couple had three children “” Martin Jr., Joy, and Tammi “” and remained in the Wilmington area until 1956 when, upon the advice of a physician, they moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, to help Martin Jr. better cope with his asthma. There Dottie worked as office manager for Beautiforms Foundations. Following the couple’s move to Clearwater, Dottie began work on a temporary basis with Orange Blossom Groves in 1970. Soon she was put in charge of payroll and eventually was named the company’s operations manager, the position she retired from in 1989.
In addition to her family and work commitments, Dottie served as church secretary and Sunday school teacher for the Grace Church in St. Petersburg, Florida. She also was a member of the Ladies of the Oriental Shrine and, along with Martin, was active in working to benefit the Tampa Shriner’s Children’s Hospital.
The couple’s introduction to motorhoming came in a somewhat unusual way, Martin said. After the family moved to Florida, one of their favorite pastimes was to attend swamp buggy races in Naples. During these trips, they would stay at a hotel, but they would have to check out by noon the morning of the final races or be charged another night’s stay. This didn’t sit well with Dottie.
“All they had at the races were Port-A-Johns, so when we left Dottie said, ‘No more Port-A-Johns. We’re getting a motorhome,'” Martin recalled. “So on the way home we stopped and bought our first motorhome. It was a 1975 32-foot Cabana. I named it ‘Dottie’s Potty.'”
Several friends recommended that they join FMCA, which they did in 1984. Shortly after that, they joined the Central Florida Roadrunners chapter and became active within the organization. Martin was chapter president for several years, and Dottie served as the chapter’s national director from 1987 to 1992. That final year, Dottie was elected Southeast Area vice president. According to Martin, the Southeast Area wasn’t organized at the time, but during her term she incorporated the group into the Southeast Area Motor Home Association, which is responsible for the SEA Rally that is now held in Brooksville, Florida, each year.
“Dottie was the one that really put the Southeast Area on the map as one of the leading areas in FMCA,” said longtime friend and past Southeast Area vice president George Schipper. “She organized great Southeast Area rallies and moved them around the state of Florida, from Wimauma to River Ranch to Titusville for the ‘Blast Off’ rallies. And she put together a great cadre of volunteers to help her.”
Dottie served three terms as Southeast Area vice president, and was elected to serve a fourth, but her plans changed at the 1995 summer convention in Minot, North Dakota. The day before FMCA’s Governing Board met to vote for the national officers, Dottie was approached by several members who asked whether she would allow them to nominate her for president.
“We talked about it, and weren’t real sure. But then we decided that if she won, at least we would get a good parking spot for a year,” Martin recalled with a chuckle. “Folks knew she was a worker who could get things done.” The next day Dottie was nominated from the floor, and she was elected as FMCA’s first female president, beginning the first of her three one-year terms in that position.
During her time in office, one of Dottie’s main goals was to build membership. From July 31, 1995, to July 31, 1998, roughly the period of time she was president, FMCA added more than 50,000 new members and saw its active membership increase by more than 18,500. The Pierces did their own share to help build the association’s populace, recruiting 160 new members to FMCA as of January 2007.
Dottie also served on numerous FMCA committees, including the Nominating Committee, Membership/Member Services Committee, Member Recruitment Committee, Convention & Rally Committee, and Management Committee, chairing each of them at least one year.
George Schipper said one of the reasons Dottie succeeded in her various roles with FMCA was because she loved the organization. “Dottie was very giving of herself, and that drew people to give back and support her,” he said. “She had that ability. People wanted to do things for her.”
When the couple was not motorhoming or doing volunteer work, one of Dottie’s favorite activities was dancing. “Dottie loved to dance,” Martin said. “We danced as kids all the way up until just before she died. Whenever there was a dance, the Pierces would be there.”
In addition to Martin, Dottie leaves behind her son, Martin, Jr., and his wife, Suzie; daughter Joy Kelly; daughter Tammi Rudge, and her husband, Wayne; six grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a sister, Libby Guthrie. The family requests that memorial donations be sent to one’s local hospice.
River City Travelers Shine
By Daryl Waldrop, F287405
Sixty-two people in 31 family member coaches gathered at the Quail Springs RV Park in Uvalde, Texas, April 26 through 29, 2007, for fun, food, and a parade during the River City Travelers’ Golf Cart Show and Shine Rally.
To show you just how anticipated our get-togethers are, two days before the rally was scheduled to begin, one of our members showed up. When asked why he was there so early, he replied that he didn’t want to miss anything.
Members of the work crew began arriving on Wednesday. Golf carts were unloaded and plans were finalized, while happy hour and supper blended together. As night fell, we all realized the start of a huge rally was just a few hours away.
The festivities began Thursday morning with refreshments and breakfast tacos. After that, the men started getting their cooking gear ready for the evening barbecue, while the women went shopping for groceries. Later that afternoon people started gathering to catch up on events, kids, illnesses, and many other topics. Jim Elliott, Bill McCarley, and I started cooking hamburgers while N.B. Luker, Jesse Pena, L.G. Reams, and Bill Moore iced down the drinks. I hope everyone enjoyed the meal. It was awesome.
Friday morning started out on a tasty note with Bill Moore and Bill McCarley orchestrating a breakfast beyond belief, serving waffles and pancakes every way they could. From there the afternoon drifted by and everyone waited patiently for events later in the day.
The evening began with refreshments that carried over to a great Mexican meal and dance. The event was a success, and it was wonderful to see Jim Elliott with his new hip and Floyd Waak after his surgery out on the dance floor. Now that’s what I’m talking about “” people having fun!
As the sun began to rise on Saturday, we knew that this would be our last day together before departing in different directions. The group of men met for coffee and chitchat while we waited for our brides to surface. Talk of our golf cart show got the excitement flowing. Breakfast was another good start to what became a day of unbelievable memories.
It unfolded something like this: golf carts were brought to the outdoor patio area, at which time they were assigned spots. As the owners maneuvered the vehicles into position, the cleaning gear, waxes, and polishes came out. People gathered to inspect and drool over the cute little rigs. Soon the judges appeared and began the task of inspecting the carts. N.B. Luker’s cart seemed to stand out from the crowd. Chapter “sheriff” Jesse Pena had his cart’s red lights flashing, and from time to time he would hit his siren a blast or two. The other drivers also showed up dressed for the occasion: L.G. and Dee Reams in their green attire; Jay and Dotsie Spradling in their vintage clothing; Margie Waldrop in her classy lady getup; and others, all dressed to match the theme of their golf carts. We also had a late entry, a clown pulling a wagon with pooper-scooper equipment “” yes, it was our own Bill Moore. He said if you have a parade, you have to have a clown to pick up “stuff.” Little did he know he’d be picking up Bill McCarley.
When the judges finished their evaluations, the carts paraded through the park, which was a sight to behold. Fun and laughter followed us the whole way. Vincent Losada commented that this had to be one of the largest viewing crowds in a long time. Pictures can’t come close to showing the excitement and fun these little carts and their owners brought to this rally.
As folks calmed down, we realized that we were so wrapped up in the golf carts that we had missed lunch. So out came goodies of all kinds. Everyone continued to talk and laugh about the parade and just had fun together. For supper we enjoyed steaks cooked on-site for us by the caterer, who also brought along the fixings. Yum, yum!
Many thanks to all the workers, the members who hauled their golf carts to the rally, the cart judges, and L.G. and Dee Reams for making their first event as rally masters such a great one.
May God bless all of you and take you home safely.
Apollo Great Lakes Celebrate 30 Years
By Mary Gillis, F208956
Members of the Apollo Great Lakes chapter gathered at the Thousand Trails Preserve in Clinton, Indiana, July 20 through 22, 2007, to celebrate the group’s 30th anniversary as an FMCA chapter.
Folks from 18 member coaches made the trip to west-central Indiana for the festivities. To our delight, we were joined by charter members Bill and Ione Clifton, Gene and Mary Highland, Rich and Twyla Payeur, and Opal Grider for Saturday’s dinner and festivities. Great Lakes Area national vice president Ross Boyer, accompanied by his wife, Melanie, also was on hand to install the chapter’s new officers and to present the group with a $150 check from FMCA’s national office.
Following dinner, we watched a presentation titled “Reviewing Apollo’s 30 Years,” which included pictures highlighting many of the good times had by the chapter. The celebration ended with cake and homemade ice cream.
With the “official” part of the evening completed, attendees moved outside to a campfire where we enjoyed the rest of the night sharing memories, laughs, and even a few tears.
Granite Staters’ Grandparents Weekend
By Bill McShea, F175310
During the last weekend of July, FMCA’s Granite Staters chapter held its first-ever Grandparents Weekend at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds in Fryeburg, Maine. Some 20 coaches attended the rally hosted by Glenn and Bobbie McCracken and Bill and Peggy McShea during a beautiful, hot, and humid New England weekend.
The 15 grandchildren who participated eagerly engaged in a variety of activities from Thursday (early arrivals) through Saturday. After the grandparents arrived and got settled in, the children made name badges.
Grandparents were asked to run an activity for all the children, choosing from 18 different age-appropriate events that the hosts had prepared. Because of the heat, many of the activities included a water theme. On Friday some of the children took a break from the high temperatures to enjoy a swim in the Saco River.
The kids also had their own flea market/yard sale, as well as a bicycle-decorating contest Saturday afternoon. The group of youngsters really hit it off, and they enjoyed the opportunity to do some bike riding together throughout the large fairgrounds.
Breakfast foods included cereal, bagels, and English muffins, and chilled fruit drinks were available all day long. Everyone enjoyed a pizza party on Friday night, and there was a hot dog and hamburger cookout on Saturday.
In addition to a variety of prizes, each child received a personalized certificate for participating in the Granite Staters’ first Grandparents Weekend. Everyone pitched in to help, and all of the children, parents, and grandparents involved thoroughly enjoyed this special weekend.