In Memoriam: Dorothy

Editor Stephen Whitworth here. The question has been raised whether it’s appropriate to write on the passing of a private citizen known mostly for her eccentric appearance. I don’t know, it’s a tough call. I do know that Dorothy was a memorable person in my downtown neighbourhood, and in a small way she was part of my life and a lot of people’s lives. Knowing someone isn’t a prerequisite for mourning their loss, so, with minor edits to minimize intrusions on anyone’s privacy, I’m respectfully re-posting Greg’s thoughtful and sincere commemoration of a little-known but unforgettable person. Rest in Peace, Dorothy. We’ll miss you.

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If you’re someone who hangs out in downtown Regina and surrounding neighbourhoods, you’re likely familiar with a lady who was often seen walking in the area. She usually wore a head scarf, a beige trench coat and pretty dramatic eye-shadow and lipstick.

Going back to the old days of Roca Jacks on 19-block Scarth St. I remember seeing her around. I knew her first name was Dorothy, but didn’t know anything else about her.

Dorothy passed away on Feb. 28 at the age of 70. Her obituary in the Leader-Post reveals that as a young woman she studied music and modelling in Toronto, and later performed on opera stages in London and Paris. Above is a picture of her in her younger days.

In the grander scheme of things, her presence on the streets of Regina, like that of many people who, for a variety of circumstances, have met with hardship in their life, might not have mattered to some people. But she was very definitely part of the fabric of our city, and I just wanted to acknowledge her passing.

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your puny human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

15 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Dorothy”

  1. Thanks for posting this Greg. I first was told about Dorothy’s death yesterday.

    Like many I suppose, I didn’t know her name, but I used to see her regularly at the RPL Film Theatre.

    I feel bad that it took her death for me to learn her name and something about her life.

  2. OH MY GAWD| Seriously? That’s a sad thing. We referred to her Oswald, as a character out of the Kennedy assassination, but we always respected her.

  3. Strange, I remember Dorothy from when I worked in one of the businesses on 13th and Albert about 15 years ago… She was a friendly and nice customer, and her appearance was quite memorable. I left that job, and hadn’t thought about her in quite a while.

    A couple of years back I saw her again while working for another business in that area, and was happy to see that she was still around and looking healthy. I am surprised, and a little saddened to hear that she had passed away.

  4. Like many, I frequently saw Dorothy around the downtown. While her appearance (and some other things about her) were memorable, I don;t recall ever seeing her treated with the same visceral contempt I occasionally saw meted out to some other downtown characters.

    My kids and I ended up sharing a table with her at a fall supper at St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral. She didn’t speak to us at all, not even in response to our greetings.

    It is a regret (and a shame on many of us) that it took her death to discover a far richer story.

  5. Well, sorrowful folk, there are still PLENTY of oddball colourful characters roaming Regina to go out and meet. Let your conspicuous compassion get the better of you: go meet one today, before they freeze to death in an alley somewhere.

  6. The comments of number 9 are truly offensive. I believe they missed the point of all the other comments people made. Perhaps this is not the forum that someone should be making the unkind remarks that were made by this person. If you are going to be rude and inconsiderate of the passing of a truly talented person who suffered from a disease perhaps it is time to just keep quiet. The world does not care about your opinion!

  7. I’m not sure what comment #9’s means by trying to make a connection between the freezing death a month ago and this lady’s passing – the two are completely unrelated and neither are appropriate to make jokes about.

  8. Charitably, I think we could take Anonymous #9 in a more positive light.

    Having lamented our indifference to Dorothy Hennig, we could perhaps learn from it and try reaching out to some of the other people we tend to write off. And while the woman who froze to death was a different person, it is the sort of fate to which those we marginalize are vulnerable.

  9. I think I understand what #9 is saying. I actually thought close to the same thing yesterday. We have these people who are marginalized and so alone; we never pay attention to them or give them any validation until it is too late and we are shocked into it.

    I am so sad to hear of Dorothy’s passing. I wish I had known her story sooner.

  10. Working downtown, I seen Dorothy many times always walking around downtown. I always knew there was more to her than meets the eye. While others always made fun of her, I knew she was special. I knew her name as she was a member of my dad’s church and I saw her picture in the directory. She was quite a woman in her younger years… studying music and opera, attending modelling school and then being an accomplished musician/opera singer in Paris and London. And all this by the time she was 27. It’s sad that it takes someone’s passing to really appreciate who they were. Dorothy, I too believe that Heaven is a better place now that you are there. Rest in peace my friend.

  11. A very special lady who was unique and creative in her own way. May you rest in peace.
    Thank you for religiously showing your Faith, Miss Dorothy Hennig.

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