When she was 98 years old, Dorothy Agnes Bohen walked into the DMV in Williamsburg, Va. to renew her driver’s license. She brought along her nephew, Larry, because she thought maybe they might take away her car. She was 4-foot-9, had placed three cushions on the driver’s seat to see above the steering wheel and had to stand on her tip-toes to take the vision test. She passed without any visual aides and they gave her a license for another four years.
We were just as surprised but then that’s how Aunt Dot rolled. She was one of the most independent spirits I ever met, a fierce woman who was passionate about her Catholic faith and who, as her 91-year-old brother said, “lived life on her terms.”
She died Nov. 27, 2017 alone in her own bed at age 99-and-a-half.
She grew up in New York City and its boroughs and worked most of her life, first as a secretary at Texaco and later for the movie industry. She got a credit as assistant production manager on the Joe Louis Story in 1953. Eventually she worked for the head of a Swiss company called Charmilles, retiring 35 years ago. She never married and never had children.
She moved to Connecticut and spent the rest of her life taking care of her family, first her mother, Agnes, then her sister, Margaret, who died in 1985. In 1993, she moved to Williamsburg with her brother, Richard, and took care of him until he died. A few years later, my father, Robert, moved in and she took care of him until he moved to St. Petersburg, Fl. in 2016.
In the end, she took care of herself too.
She refused to follow her brother to Florida and we accepted that she might get hurt but she still had her own strong mind and we weren’t going to force her to do anything. We take comfort in the fact that she died exactly where she wanted to be, in her own home in Williamsburg, in the same bed she slept for the past 25 years. Our hope is that she did not suffer and that she finally found some peace. She is survived by her brother, Robert, her niece, Leonora (Larry), her great-niece, Lauren and a handful of devoted friends around the country. We loved her very much. She was a member of St. Bede Catholic Church. She loved knitting and made hats and booties for many local babies. One of my fondest memories is playing Gin Rummy at her kitchen table and watching I Love Lucy. Rest in peace, Aunt Dot.