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Dorothy A. Parmer

Posted By DeBord Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory On March 21, 2017 @ 9:25 am In Obituaries | 6 Comments

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Dorothy Amelia Pontz Parmer died on Monday, March 20, 2017 at her home with her loving daughter, JoAnne by her side.

A life-long resident of Lancaster, Dorothy was born on October 8, 1924, and was the youngest daughter of the late Emma Amelia Minder Pontz and Clarence E. Pontz, Sr. She was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved husband William Glenn Parmer in 1988, and her 6 siblings: Clarence, Richard, Chester, and Edward Pontz, Marguerite Fulmer and Jennie Killian.

Dorothy is survived by her daughters Patricia Louise Richards, wife of Jeffrey, and JoAnne Matos; her grandchildren, Heather Paje Richards, Jennifer Noelle Matos (partner of James Meacham), Joseph William Matos (husband of Sarah), and Chloe Louise Richards (partner of Dexter Hoffman). Also surviving are her great-grandchildren, Westly Matos, Blair Richards, Harmony Hoffman, and great-grandchild expected in the fall.

Dottie was a graduate of J.P. McCaskey High School where she loved singing and performing in Glee Club. She sang in the Lyric Singers prior to becoming a charter member of Lancaster Opera Workshop in 1952, where she sang roles in numerous operas, and acted as costume and make-up designer.

She was the organist and choir director at Ascension Lutheran Church for over 40 years, starting with the pump organ as a young girl, and continued her music career at Christ United Methodist Church for the next 20 years, retiring at the age of 85.

Dorothy was a lifetime member of the Musical Art Society in Lancaster. Beginning in 1941, she served as the secretary, Vice President, president, board member, music week chairman and state board member. Along with her dear friend, Ruth Humphreville, she began the Workshop for Young Performing Artists and for over 25 years, she wrote, produced and directed the Music for a Summer Night series on Tuesday nights in June, with proceeds going toward the society’s  Scholarship Program to benefit young musicians. The program continues to be a successful contributor for young musicians and they recognize Dottie each season.

From 1965-74, Dottie created the Music Box Nursery School in her home and taught children in a rich environment of musical and creative experience four mornings a week. In the mid- late 60s, Dottie and her husband, Bill, were mentors and board members for Sing-Out Lancaster, where she was also stage manager and costume chair.

Dottie, also known as “The Mad Hatter”,  was well known in Lancaster and surrounding areas for her one-woman shows in which she wrote and sang a variety of 10 musical acts in which she displayed her musical talent, humor, elaborate self-made costumes and her lavish hat collection. She performed over 700 shows in many clubs, churches, banquets, parties, retirement homes, schools, spanning over 40 years, with her friends in music, Helen Buss, her daughter Patti, and for most of the journey, Gwen Weisman, as her accompanists. Dorothy and Gwen performed in Chautauqua, NY, and were made honorary members of the Woman’s Club, an experience Dorothy cherished greatly.

Dorothy was a faithful servant of the Lord, and had a great passion for music, her house filled with practicing musicians, her organ and piano, up through the last year of her life. She was an avid seamstress, and designed costumes, clothing and what her family knew as “opera dolls”, each one depicting a main character in her favorite shows which filled the shelves of her sewing room. These she took to many schools and groups to share about her knowledge of opera and music. She loved flowers and gardening along with her animals, the last being her cat Pinky and her dog Sophie who stayed by her through her final days. Most of all she was devoted to her family to whom she is dearly loved and will be deeply and forever missed.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 11am with visitation at 10am at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, 3131 Columbia Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603, Pastor Clifton Eshbach officiating. Interment at Conestoga Memorial Park following the service. Viewing will take place on Monday, March 27, 2017 from 6-8pm at DeBord Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory, 141 E. Orange St., Lancaster, PA 17602. Flowers are welcome. Memorial contributions can be made to Lancaster Musical Art Society c/o jsmoker@msn.com or 717-397-8052,  or to the Dorothy Parmer (Pontz)  Memorial Scholarship Fund at McCaskey High School @GoFundME.com.

Condolences for the family of “Dorothy A. Parmer”

Condolence from Jeffery Lane on March 23rd, 2017 8:02 pm

She will be missed, sorry for your loss.

Condolence from Paula Flaig on March 23rd, 2017 8:42 pm

Condolences to the family. Dorothy was a beautiful person and her kindness touched all who knew her. She will be missed greatly.

Condolence from Tamara Fulmer on March 26th, 2017 9:35 pm

Dorothy was my great Aunt, my father James R. Fulmer, being her nephew. I loved Dorothy very much and will miss her humor, beauty, deep religious faith and her zest for life. I immensely loved spending time with her as I was growing up. I was enchanted by her costumes and all the hats she owned. I am truly sorry for your loss of such a loving mother and I extend my heartfelt sympathy to all of you. Aunt Dorothy was one in a trillion. She will be greatly missed by everyone.

Condolence from Diane (Seiple) Heim on March 28th, 2017 9:27 am

I have fond memories of Dot growing up at Ascension!! I was in the choir and i can remember singing at church week after week with her directing! I also remember all the shows we put on, especially the Mary Poppins one!! On that tiny little stage in our social hall I can remember belting out the lyrics to Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious!! I remember all the many different christmas plays that I was in that she directed . She always made all the costumes too!! Then when I was older and was directing plays myself, I would often visit her home looking for costumes to use! She had quite the collection!!
Dot played at my wedding, even when she was no longer the organist at Ascension, because it just wouldn’t have felt right having anyone else do it!!
Dot was a faithful, wonderful woman!! I am so sorry for your loss. She has touched the lives of many in positive ways.
I REALLY wish I could attend her funeral, but as I run daycare out of my home I am unable to be there!! But my thoughts are with all of you and wish you Gods peace!!

Condolence from Allison Ortiz on March 29th, 2017 10:10 am

My deepest sympathies to the family. Dottie watched two generations of my family grow up, first my father as a friend to her kids, then me as an aspiring musician with Christ UMC. She was not only amazingly talented, but she was also so patient, kind, generous, and had such a great sense of humor and spirit. I remember so many evenings sitting on her couch and so many days playing in her pool listening to her music stories and sharing her love.

There will never be anyone like Dottie, but her love of music and of life lives on in those who were lucky enough to know this extraordinary woman.

Condolence from Vic Groff on March 30th, 2017 3:57 pm

I pray for peace on your hearts Patti , Joanne and families. Mom was a wonderful woman with a great sense of humor. I know shes at peace with our LORD and Savior.


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