VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Dorothy Ann Myers, endearingly known as "Dottie," touched a lot of people in her 64 years.
Her beloved and only daughter, Jennifer, described her mom as a giver of epic proportions.
"She was definitely a rare breed. You don't see people like that anymore that go above and beyond for others," said Jen. "The kindness and the generosity to give her time, her money, her energy in every way shape or form [was incredible]."
Working as a physical education assistant and serving Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Dottie dedicated her time to the students and staff at Glenwood Elementary for nearly 30 years.
"Man, she just loved those kids - every single one of them she treated like they were me. So, while I was an only child, she had one million kids," Jen said.
Due to her artistic ability, Jen said Dottie prided herself on decorating bulletin boards in Glenwood's hallways. Whether it was for a holiday or for fun, with a coworker or solo, Jen said they were always beautiful.
However, like hundreds of thousands of other Americans, last month the coronavirus swung and hit hard. After a tough but courageous battle, family and friends said Dottie died from COVID-19 complications.
"It was definitely unexpected, you know. You see a lot of people recover with no problem and other people don't fare so well, but it's important to take [COVID-19] seriously if not for yourself, for others," Jen said. "Life is short, and this is exactly why it is short. You need to do everything you can to protect yourself to have a long and healthy life."
Her family is now emphasizing how important it is to exude kindness during this time and respect other people's space.
Yet when it comes to talking about her mom, what makes Jen smile is talking about her hobbies.
"She loved outdoor photography and loved the birds. I mean, since day one -- always being in the backyard and having the birdseed out. Anything to do with nature, she was really into and the flowers, too."
Dottie and former co-worker/friend Jim Perkins shared that craft.
"I would send her pictures, which she absolutely loved, and we would share pictures of eagles and ospreys. It was just something that she loved and I loved also," Perkins said.
For a woman who was rarely found in front of a camera, she spent years looking through her own lens, capturing photos and leaving behind little pieces of her love forever.
Friend Beth Figo said, "Dottie was a unique person that everybody should have a friend like her." She said the two were thick as thieves when working together at school.
Jen added, "Through the school and through the kids, I'm hoping that at least a handful of them take a little bit of her and grow up to be that and pass it on to their kids."
Glenwood ES Principal David French sent the following message to the school community:
Good evening, Glenwood Elementary School families--
It is with great sorrow that we report the death of Dorothy "Dottie" Myers, who served us as a physical education assistant since Glenwood opened in 1990. She was truly beloved by all of our staff and students at Glenwood, and will be very missed. Our hearts and sympathy are with the Myers family. We will have additional counselors available to our students in the coming days. If you have any concerns about your child’s reaction to this loss, please contact his or her teacher, any counselor or administrator here at the school.
This is certainly a sad time for us, so I ask that you keep this family and our Glenwood community in your thoughts. Thank you for your support of Glenwood Elementary School.
A service will not be planned. In lieu of flowers, family and friends can make donations to COVID-19 relief.