Albertha Dorsey  1924-2023

Born in Gretna, Louisiana on October 1st, 1924, Albertha was the son of Moses Royal and daughter of Albertha Richard, sister and brother to Mary Louise, Moses, Noray and Freddy, all raised in the New Orleans area.

After meeting and marrying her husband Edwin Elijah Dorsey in New Orleans, she had her first three children Vera, Edwina and Ethelda. Edwin had joined the railroad working as a Pullman Porter, and was offered the opportunity to have his home base moved to Portland, OR. Edwin and Albertha then moved the family across country to begin a life in Portland. They established a home and grew their family by adding Edwin, Olivia and LaVonne for at total of six children.

Albertha approached working the same way she approached everything, with all-out effort, compassion and humility. After Edwin left the railroad, she worked beside him running a restaurant, The Basket, where she was cook, manager and co-owner. They also worked together in their own moving company and janitorial service. Concurrently, she had her own career goals. Albertha started and ran the mailroom at Charles F. Berg in Portland and then was recruited and hired by Nordstrom Best to build out Nordstrom’s shipping department. Forty-two years later, at age 80, she retired. Her work there was so respected that John Nordstrom attended her retirement party and honored her by flying in past colleagues from throughout her 42 year career.

Albertha saw the good in everyone she met and greeted them with an open heart. Her kitchen became known as a refuge where railroaders, bus drivers, colleagues, church members, friends and strangers, who would find a place to talk, get advice, laugh and of course, eat. She was so well thought of in Portland that locals would love to do anything they could to show their reverence… like the local grocery store staff who would bag her groceries, drive her home and unpack them on the kitchen counter.

Her love for her family was only matched by her love for God. Her love for her community was a natural extension of who she was – sending a card or special gift just because you were in her thoughts, was commonplace. Everyone who knew her would tell you that they loved to be around her where they could always feel her love.

Albertha was adventurous. She always loved to try something new with her children and grandchildren, from exploring with her kids and grandkids, to rollerblading in her 50’s through her 80’s, and kayaking in Hawaii at 90. She loved traveling… from yoga retreats in Italy and fulfilling her wish to visit the holy land, Israel. She traveled with her husband  Edwin by rail, car and plane. She was proud to plan meals and cook for her family while traveling by station wagon and trailer from Portland to New Orleans every few years and so many other family trips to the Oregon Coast, Utah, Mexico, Canada and yearly excursions in the Pacific Northwest.

Her grand and great/grand children were her pride. She has 7, Including granddaughters Lavonne Burke, Yvonne Burke, Taya Brooks-Bennett, Solomon Dorsey, Aaron Dorsey, Morgan Dean and Caitlin Clark. And Great grandchildren Maia Burke-Hill, Kensley Dorsey and Kayla Dorsey.

Prayer and God were her instruments. As a vigilant prayer warrior, she started and ended her day on her knees, bible open with holy oil. It was never a surprise to her family to find her in the middle of the day in her “prayer closet”. She was proud to pray with and for others.

We will always remember Albertha for her endless amount of prayers, her small but mighty bearing, humility, work ethic, fashion sense and being the closest thing to an angel on earth.

Celebration of life services for Albertha Dorsey will be held 11am, Tuesday, October 31, 2023 at Shiloh Baptish Church 1211 S I St, Tacoma, WA 98405.

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