Forestville resident celebrates 90th birthday

FORESTVILLE – Dorothy Elizabeth O’Connor was born on March 26, 1923 to John S. O’Connor and Otillia Hahn O’Connor in Cassadaga. Her father owned and operated a meat market in the center of town. In her childhood, she enjoyed traveling with her father when he made deliveries to customers. She loved waiting on customers in the store when she was older and helping take care of her three younger siblings. She also enjoyed spending time with her grandparents who lived nearby in Cassadaga, taking carriage rides with them to their farm.

Dorothy enjoyed playing the piano and earned money for her lessons from her piano teacher, Mrs. Edgar, by cleaning her house. She and Mrs. Edgar had a very warm relationship which had a tremendous impact on her life. She played piano for many individuals and churches during her time in Cassadaga. She still spends time playing the piano to this day. Music is essential to her life.

Dorothy attended school in Cassadaga and was in the first class that graduated from the new high school. She first met her future husband Robert Winterberger in the sixth grade there. They kept in touch with each other through Robert’s sisters over the years and eventually married on Oct. 11, 1945 in Dunkirk. Robert proposed in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal under the clock that is still there today. Prior to her marriage, she attended Dunkirk Business College and worked as a grocery clerk on Central Avenue in Dunkirk. She also worked in the Dunkirk Laundry to help her family during the Depression.

Dorothy and Robert lived in Norfolk, Va., Lafayette, Ind., Geneva, and Newport, Vt., but spent most of their years on Route 39 in Forestville. Dorothy was busy raising seven children and helping with the family grape farm. After the children left home, she and her husband traveled to Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida visiting family and friends. They also made memorable trips to Canada and Ireland. They will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary this October.

Dorothy is blessed with 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, with another one on the way in April. She spent much of her retirement years enjoying her grandchildren’s company. Her birthday was celebrated quietly with her husband and with special memory books created with pictures and voice recordings from all her children and grandchildren.