Dolores (Fellner) Burroughs, age 100, passed away peacefully in the early morning of September 15, 2021.
She was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Henrietta and Howard Fellner, on December 11, 1920 (the year women received the right to vote). In pure Dee style, she would often ask young women, "What was so important about the year 1920?" If they didn't know, they received a quick lecture.
Dee graduated from Purdue University in 1943 with a degree in chemistry/biology. After graduation, she worked at Squibb Labs in New Jersey to develop synthetic penicillin and then with Bell Labs in New York City on the Manhattan Project. In 1970, due to a demand for pre-school teachers, Salem State offered a program for individuals with any previous degree to get a teaching degree, and Dee was one of 51 women selected. After completing her courses, Dee worked at Head Start, Notre Dame Children's Classes, and Center School Kindergarten in Rowley, MA. Always seeking more knowledge, Dee earned her Master's degree in early childhood education from Wheelock College. She loved teaching young children and was a natural at it. Later in her life, she was a familiar face behind the counter at the Manchester Stock Exchange.
In 1943 at Purdue University, Dee met the love of her life. One day walking to the library, she spotted a handsome young man working on a car. They exchanged greetings, and Dee went on to the library to study. As fate would have it, the young man was still puttering on his car when she walked back to her dorm. They struck up a conversation, and the lad asked Dee if she wanted to ride to the Purdue airport where he was taking flying lessons. Yes, on that fateful day, Dee Fellner met Bill Burroughs. Years later, he would propose in New York City with his high school ring (money was tight) for an engagement ring. Dee could have cared less about not getting something sparkling on her finger that day. They wed on October 29, 1945 and were married until Bill's death in 2003.
After WWII, Dee and Bill drove their large 1931 Grand-Paige coupe (lovingly called, "Cement Mixer, Put-ti Put-ti," after a song of the same name) from California to the East Coast. There they fell in love with the Massachusetts North Shore. They bought 21 School St., in Manchester for $5,000, which together they tirelessly restored. It was there they raised their three children Kim, Chip, and Toby. In 1963, Bill designed and built their Japanese house on Town Hill. It was not uncommon to see Dee with hammer or paintbrush in hand helping her husband raise their "Pavilion of Evening Brilliance."
Dee loved her adopted town of Manchester. In the late 1950s, she was actively involved in the battle to get the town to build a new Jr-Sr high school. She was on the board of the Manchester Historical Society and was passionately involved with others to restore the Powder House atop of Powder House Hill and save Sea Side No. 1 firehouse and the "Torrent," a hand pumper fire engine. She loved having fun in her hometown. One Halloween, Dee and two friends dressed as anti-alcohol activist, Carrie Nation, and stormed into Al's Café. A photographer snapped a photo of the two, and it made front-page news in the Manchester Cricket. That photo always made her laugh.
People, who knew Dee, knew that she was an avid antique collector with immense self-taught knowledge. It wasn't uncommon for her to pick up an unremarkable piece of pottery, flip it over and say, "This is priceless - see that marking. I bought this for $1.00 at a yard sale." Her grandchildren fondly remember being asked to accompany Dee in her old Volkswagen Beetle to go "junking" (aka a yard sale). She would often volunteer at local fairs and help price items. It wasn't out of the ordinary for Dee to find that diamond in the rough that would raise more money for that church or school.
Dee loved to travel and often went solo or on group educational trips to learn more about early childhood education. She traveled to Europe, Egypt, Japan, China, and Russia, and her family laughingly asked if she wasn't a spy. During one trip to Europe in 1974, she met her daughter, Toby, in Munich (who was riding her bike through Europe) and ended up sleeping in a tent with her in the rain. That was so Dee.
Affectionately known to her grandchildren as "Super Grammy," Dee lived up to that name. She was a kind, caring, warm and thoughtful person with an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a deep love of her husband, children and grandchildren. Her brain was a sponge, and she filled it with information as complex as how the Covid virus mutates, to as simple as how the quarterback football player got that name. She was always asking what, when, why, and how.
A visit to Super Grammy's house by her grandchildren was an adventure. They always left richer with some bit of knowledge and possibly a little something they had admired that had been sitting on a desk or table, but not before they learned everything from her about that object.
Surviving Dee are her son, William (Chip)Burroughs, and his wife, Kathy Filias- Burroughs, of Manchester-by-the-Sea, her daughter, Toby Burroughs, and her husband, Ken Knevel, of New Orleans, LA; Grandchildren, Collin Linehan and his wife, Ellie, Ryan Linehan and his wife, Stacy, William Burroughs and his partner, Lauren Mears, Kayla Lemke and her husband, Bill; great-grandchildren, Aiden, Foster and Elizabeth, children of Collin and Ellie; Sawyer and Kestrel, children of Ryan and Stacy; and William Wallace VI, child of Will and Lauren. She was predeceased by her husband, William Burroughs, and her daughter, Kim Linehan. YoYo, her much-loved bird and loyal companion, is now living with a loving family.
As she approached her 100th birthday on December 11, 2020, she had hoped to "hang on" so that she could vote in the presidential election, celebrate her 100th birthday, and welcome her great-grandson, William Wallace Burroughs VI, into the family. She was able to check those things off and more.
When asked recently how she felt about her long life, she said, "I have had a great full life. It was a lot of fun. I have no regrets, and there are no what-ifs."
A celebration of her life will be held at a later date. In Dee's memory, please consider an act of kindness, a donation to the charity of one's choice, or a donation to:
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