Dorothy Elizabeth Cooley Rezzolla, 101, of Indiana, died Wednesday, April 27th, 2022 at her home. The only child of Joseph Cooley and Mary Jurist Cooley, was welcomed into the world on May 20th, 1920 in Leckrone, PA. A two-pound preemie, Dottie was delivered by midwife, Mary Perton. Her cradle was a cotton lined shoe box with an oven serving as her incubator.
She received her elementary and secondary education at All Saints Catholic school in Cleveland, Ohio, where she had a lifelong friend, Mary Fabbie. After high school graduation Dottie attended Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia PA. She earned a degree in Retail Management in 1940. During her last year at Drexel, she met Richard J. Rezzolla, a senior at Warton and they fell in love.
A short time later Dottie was kissed by Richard for the first time, became engaged to Richard; and was married to Richard by a JP. All this took place on the last day of Richard’s military leave as his unit was shipping out to the war in Europe. She would not see him for six years. The wedding was not consummated until after Richard and Dottie were married at Holy Family Church in Cleveland on February 23,1946.
Dottie’s contribution to the war effort was significant at multiple levels, she was an official pinup girl for the Marine Corp and more importantly, because of her education and intelligence, Thompson Aircraft of Cleveland, made her the head supervisor for a top-secret assignment. Her crew made the trigger mechanism used in the two atomic bombs dropped to end the war.
Dottie was a very gifted seamstress, making her own clothing, coats, furniture covers, pillow cases, curtains and anything one can imagine. For 34 years Dottie (lovingly called Mrs. R.) by her employees where she worked as the Head Buyer for the Fabrics and Home Furnishing Departments in the six Troutman stores in Western Pennsylvania. To this end, she was also a professional model for the stores fashion creations.
Following retirement they traveled throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Dottie and Richard shared sixty-nine years of marriage. Preceding Richards death in 2009 Dottie was his caregiver.
Dottie is survived by her cousins on the Jurist (mother’s) side of the family, David, Vicki, Michele and Gary. She was especially close to her cousin Shirley Burke Paolini Duncan who Dottie remained close to up until her death. On Richard’s side of the family, Dottie is survived by a favorite nephew Mickie Sciotto, nieces Lisa Ward, Brenda Spellen and Joan Rezzolla. Her extended family through love included Jeff McPherson, George and Jean Lenz; Jeff, Jean and George were Dottie’s first caregivers. Edward, Mary, Leah and Alec Strong who called her Aunt Dottie.
A promise was made to Richard that Dottie would remain in her own home until she passed. With the aid and support of Father William Lechnar, Dr. Amanda Vaglia, the VNA Hospice program and her loving caregivers, this promise was kept. Care givers included: Edit Beatty, Pam Buterbaugh, Celesta Capizzi, Vicki Dejohn, Jenn Dies, Jade Dodson Jessica Filipovich, Toni Frontino, Cathy Gould, Jacintha Ignacimutha, Megan Jones, Jean Lenz, Khylee Maglione, Rose Mannion, Angie Marusa, Joan Metcalf, Kate Montgomery, Kim Ondrizek, Sally Singleton, Leah Strong, Connie Trinkley Amy Weaver, and Lisa Ward. Father Richard Owens and Pat Williams from Saint Bernard’s Parish visited and brought Dottie Communion.
Friends will be received Tuesday, May 10th, from 3:00 until 6:00 PM at Rairigh-Bence Funeral Home & Crematory of Indiana, 965 Philadelphia Street. Additional visitation will be Wednesday morning, May 11th from 9:00 until 9:45 AM at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Church in Indiana. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 AM with Fr. William Lechnar and Fr. Richard Owens, con-celebrants. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to IRMC Cancer Center: 850 Hospital Road Suite 1200, Indiana, PA 15701 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or online at stjude.org.
Online condolences may be offered by visiting: rbfh.net.