Dorothy A. Bree

Date of Birth

September 22, 1924

Date of Death

February 7, 2010

City of Death

Santa Barbara

September 22, 1924 – February 7, 2010

Dorothy Bree died peacefully at the age of 85 years old, on Sunday February 7, 2010, after suffering with declining health for the last couple of years. She was a 20-year resident of downtown Santa Barbara prior to moving to a care facility in Goleta in July, 2008.

Dorothy was born in Long Island, New York on September 22, 1924, and throughout her life retained the turn-of-the century gentility she acquired during her youth and young adulthood. Her subtle Eastern accent, dry wit, impeccable manners and gracious hospitality made it always a pleasure to be in her company. Even in her last years, Dorothy was engaging, highly intellectual, encouraging to others and progressive in her ideas and thoughts.

Dorothy, the second of six children born to Michael and Olive Bree, spent her youth in New York. At the age of nine she entered and won a statewide art competition, which confirmed her natural artistic talents, and established her identity as an artist. After attending college, she went on to study art at the Student’s League of New York, the Fleischer Art Memorial in Philadelphia, the Academy of Art in San Francisco and the Art Academy in Honolulu. She became a very accomplished professional artist, working primarily in pastels, oils, water color, pen and ink and pencil drawings.

In addition to studying art and working as an artist, Dorothy attended cosmetology school, and over the years became licensed in five different states. In 1964 she was struck by a sense of wanderlust and took a position managing the Elizabeth Arden hair salon onboard the S.S. Mariposa, a Matson Lines cruise ship. It was during her time aboard the ship that she visited many fascinating and exotic countries, and developed a life-long appreciation for all of humanity. She was particularly fond of the peoples and cultures of the South Pacific and the art, dance and customs of Japan. For a time she settled in Honolulu, where she spent many happy years before moving to San Francisco, and later to Santa Barbara.

Throughout her life, Dorothy developed strong relationships and made many friends. As a young woman she was close to her parents and siblings, but after the death of her parents, she preferred a life of self-reliance and independence. She kept in touch only marginally with her four brothers and sisters, instead, becoming a very active member of her community. In Santa Barbara she was active with Unity Church, Santa Barbara Art Association, the Newcomers Club, the Spiritualist Church, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum. She was very proud of her work with the Kids Can Draw Architecture program, and the fact that she was an employee of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. She rarely missed the weekly farmer’s market, the Fiesta parade, the Solstice parade and other community events. Christmas was her favorite time of year, and she made a holiday tradition of attending a performance of the Nutcracker, attending several chorale events, trimming her own tree and enjoying holiday cheer with her nearest and dearest friends.

Dorothy will be remembered by those who knew her as a woman who lived life on her own terms. Fiercely independent and very private, she was also very generous with those she loved. She was an excellent seamstress, a gourmet cook and an elegant hostess. Her intellectual curiosity, open-mindedness and keen knowledge of current events, coupled with the adventurous life experiences and classic education she had experienced made her an interesting and engaging conversationalist. She was, in short, both old-fashioned and progressively hip. She was her own person and was superbly happy being just that.

Dorothy was predeceased by her parents Michael and Olive Bree, and by her five siblings, Kathleen Dexter, Robert Bree, Pat Bree, Michael Bree and Donald Bree. She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews as well as several grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

In accordance with her wishes Dorothy has been cremated. In the near future there will be a celebration of her life, and her ashes will be scattered at sea. In addition, to commemorate Dorothy’s love of the great outdoors, a tree will be dedicated in her memory in downtown Santa Barbara. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Salvation Army’s Hospitality House.

Funeral arrangements by Welch-Ryce -Haider Funeral Chapels.


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