Dorothy Gordon Vessels

April 16, 1914 - February 8, 2013


Dorothy Gordon Vessels, age 98, of Lewes, DE, passed away on Friday, February 08, 2013 at, at the home of her son in Lewes, DE. She was born in Barnesboro, NJ, on Thursday, April 16, 1914, daughter of the late Lewis Woodruff Gordon and Ida May Price Gordon. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband W. Allen Vessels, Sr. in 2004.

As a daughter of a Methodist minister, Dorothy moved frequently across the four-state mid-Atlantic region during her childhood. She first resided in Sussex County between April, 1927 and June, 1930. While living in Dagsboro and later in Harbeson, she attended Georgetown High School for her sophomore and junior years. She lived with her maternal grandparents in Westminster, Maryland for her senior year and earned a full scholarship to Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College, graduating in the Class of 1935 with a B.S. in Mathematics.

During those years in the 1930ís, while in college and teaching in Hyattsville, MD, Dorothy spent her summers in Lewes, DE working for Mr. and Mrs. Gray at the Breakwater House at E. Market St. and Bayview Ave. After marrying Allen Vessels, Sr. on July 15, 1939, she became a full-time resident of Lewes, raising their family in the home he built for her on 1708 Bay Ave.

Mrs. Vessels was a teacher all her life, having taught high school sciences at the Lewes and Cape Henlopen Districts as well as teaching Nursing Chemistry at the Beebe School of Nursing and Del Tech in Georgetown, DE. She was a member of the Bethel United Methodist Church in Lewes where she was church organist for 20 years during the 60's and 70's. For many years she served as a Docent for the College of Marine Studies in Lewes, however her true passion was volunteering for the Children's Beach House where she served on the Board of Directors.

She served in several community and professional organizations including The Zwanendael Club, Delta Kappa Gamma, the Col. David Hall Chapter of DAR, and Friends of the Lewes Library, where she helped fund-raising efforts for the building on Adams St. Mrs. Vessels received the Price-Raley Award for outreach efforts supporting the U.D. College of Marine Studies in 1978. She was a lifetime member of the Lewes Yacht Club. In her spare time she enjoyed reading and music.

Mrs. Vessels is survived by her sons, W. Allen Vessels, Jr., and Rhodes Vessels, both of Lewes, DE; her daughter Sylvia V. DuRoss and her husband James W. DuRoss, Sr. of Smyrna, DE; three grandchildren, Michael A. DuRoss and his wife Elizabeth of Hartly, DE, James W. DuRoss, Jr. and wife Sidney of New Castle, DE, Suzanne Harkin and husband Gregory of Middletown, DE and two great grandchildren, Alexander R. DuRoss and Nadia Anneliese DuRoss both of Hartly, DE. Mrs. Vessels will also be deeply missed by her canine companion, Miss Lily Pons, who so enjoyed snoozing with her on the kitchen couch.

Dorothy's family is fully aware that she might have departed this life on at least three previous occasions since 1994 had it not been for the fabulous interventions of modern medicine coupled with her own tenacity and joie de vivre. We wish to thank Dr. Magdy I. Boulos at Christiana Hospital and Dr. Bhaskar S. Palekar, Dr. Rajinder Prasad, Dr. Edmund Carroll, Dr. Andrew Collins, Dr. Rodolfo Rios, and Dr. Blair Jones for their professional services over many years. We also extend heartfelt thanks to the assistants and caregivers who helped Mrs. Vessels during her later years at 112 Schley Ave., Lewes; Caroline Hill, Mary Beth Lally, Jacqueline Miller, Marie Gardner, and Jodie and David Jamgochian.

Funeral Services will be held on Friday, February 15, 2013, at 11:00 AM, at the Bethel United Methodist Church, 129 W. 4th Street, Lewes, DE, where friends may call one hour prior to services at the church.

Burial will follow the services at Conley's Methodist Cemetery, Robinsonville Road, Lewes, DE.

Memorial contributions may be made to Bethel United Methodist Church, C/O the Music Committee, 129 W. 4th Street, Lewes, DE 19958 or to the Childrens Beach House, 1800 Bay Avenue, Lewes, DE 19958

Please sign Mrs. Vessels' on-line guestbook at this site.


Born: April 16, 1914
Place of Birth: Barnesboro, NJ
Death: February 8, 2013
Place of Death: Lewes, DE
Occupation: High School Teacher


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Funeral Services

Friday February 15, 2013, 11:00 AM at Bethel United Methodist Church
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Florist Note- All flowers to be delivered to the funeral home in Lewes on Thursday, Feb. 14th by 3 PM.

Friends May Visit

Friday February 15, 2013, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM at At The Church
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Friday February 15, 2013, 12:45 PM at Conley's United Methodist Church
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Memorial donations may be made to:
Bethel United Methodist Church, C/O the Music Committee, 129 W. 4th Street, Lewes, DE 19958 or to the Childrens Beach House, 1800 Bay Avenue Lewes, DE 19958