Dolores was the daughter of Tony and Emma Vengley, second generation immigrant Portuguese farmers from the Azores. Born and raised in the tiny tiny town of Oakley California (truly only one light – even to this day) where she and her two brothers – Cal and Abby – played, went to school, and packaged asparagus on the family farm. One of her favorite pictures was of the three of them riding a tricycle without rubber on the wheels.
After graduating from Liberty Union High School, she traveled to Oakland California to study typing and stenography. She was determined to do almost anything to get out of Oakley so when President Roosevelt started the Navy WAVES in WWII, she raised her right hand. Shipped out to New York City, then Stillwater Oklahoma, and her final billet was Philadelphia where she worked as a typist in the Intelligence Bureau. Dolores was really proud of her typing speed and her unique ability to take shorthand. She said you did everything in sets of nine – with carbon paper in between. You learned not to make mistakes!
In Philadelphia, she met her future husband, Clayton Burton, also a Navy Yeoman in the Bureau. They got married at the end of the war, her husband went to the University of Delaware, and then they settled down in a small apartment in Bethlehem as he started his career at Bethlehem Steel. They hauled along their new born son, Clayton III. Dolores became very independent with her husband traveling for work. In their first real house in Bethlehem, she shoveled coal into the furnace and took the bus everywhere to do shopping. Their daughter Susan came along completing the family. They moved to the “suburbs” of Bethlehem in 1955 and settled in to a very typical 1950’s/1960’s family.
Dolores was a determined woman. In 1956 she was tired of depending on public transportation, so she learned how to drive! When the kids left home for college, Dolores took a job at the Moravian Prep School, Moravian Academy, Cedar Crest College, and then the Sun Inn – using those typing, people, and shorthand skills. She was an active member of Central Moravian Church and for years one of their best “peanut” sales ladies. She loved most the Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday services.
They had lots of friends. A special relationship was the Eaglesmere Group of six couples. They met almost every month at alternating houses and spent vacation time during the summer together at Eaglesmere, PA, where the men had met while at Boy Scout Summer Camp. Dolores was the last member to pass away. She loved to bowl, had a group of ladies’ friendships at Northwest Swim Club (they had a special swim hour just for the ladies), and traveling. Some of her most favorite trips were to the Outer Banks with her son’s family and her son’s mother-in-law Marian Durkee, along with many trips to New York City to see shows and buy fancy clothes with Marian, Ann Hartman, and Jean Jackson. One of her most memorable trips was with Leona (from Moravian Village) to the Cayman Islands. They swam, visited the Turtle sanctuary, lounged in the sun, and visited Hell – laughing hysterically as they posed with the “devil”.
Dolores is survived by her son and daughter, five grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. Everyone visited during her 100th birthday party in October 2021, including the newest baby addition – Teddy Bickford. She loved them so much – and made sure each of them got a special Santa Claus or three handled toothpick holder from her vast collection!
Dolores spent 17 delightful years at Moravian Village. She made so many good friends along the way. Her email handle was “fuddyduddy” which caused the staff to laugh every time she sent out her emails (usually in the middle of the night). She will be fondly remembered for her hard charging rollator heading down the hallway and her beautiful white hair. She could barely see and was hard of hearing – but that didn’t stop her!
Organized as usual, Dolores left a list of songs to be sung at her memorial service and specific instruction on being buried at Nisky Hill Cemetery. We will celebrate her life in a Memorial Service at Moravian Village soon. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent in Dolores’ memory to Moravian Village at 526 Wood Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018 or Central Moravian Church at 73 W Church St, Bethlehem, PA 18018.
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