Dorothy (Lange) Diers, a strong, efficient woman of exceptional grace and generosity, died February 7 at Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community in Washington state. She was 96.
Born on July 21, 1923, in Long Beach, Calif., she was the daughter of the Rev. William Lange and Elsa (Hansler) Lange.
Compton, CA was Dorothy’s hometown. There she endured the 1933 earthquake, attended public schools, earned an Associate of Arts degree from the Junior College and developed her skills as a speed typist and pianist. On the piano she accompanied the high school choir and developed a strong and assertive style that brought joy to her audiences, especially her family.
Dorothy held leadership roles in Luther League, the youth movement of the church, which culminated in becoming the executive secretary of the International Luther League in 1943 and coordinating international conventions.
On Dec. 28, 1950, she married Herman Diers, and they moved to Burnaby BC to found Grace Lutheran Church. Wartburg College in Waverly IA called Herman in 1959 to serve as chaplain and later as a faculty member. The family lived in Waverly as members of St,.Paul Lutheran Church until 1993, except for a two-year stay in California’s Bay Area. There Dorothy served as an assistant to the Graduate Theological Union’s Vice-President for Development. Upon return to Waverly Dorothy served as assistant in the Office of Student Affairs and in the International Students Office.
Dorothy’s most demanding and accomplished role in life was as a strong, kind and generous mother to her five children. She also welcomed others into the family whether they were fleeing a dangerous political environment halfway around the world, a volatile home environment, or just looking for a place where they could belong.
Dorothy and Herman retired in 1993 and moved to Tacoma to volunteer in the Hilltop neighborhood. Dorothy served as receptionist and secretary on the board of Associated Ministries, Tacoma’s ecumenical organization, and worked at two food banks. In 2008, Dorothy and Herman were co-recipients of Tacoma’s St. Francis Humanitarian of the Year Award. She was an active member of First Lutheran Church as well as St. Mark’s Lutheran Church by the Narrows.
Throughout her life, Dorothy enjoyed extensive travel across six continents and equally enjoyed bicycle rides along the Carbon River.
She is survived by her husband Herman; brother Herb (Marge); children Jim (Sarah), Gary (Inanna), Brent (Colleen), Paul (Laurie), and Judy (David); five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Lutheran World Relief (lwr.org), Associated Ministries (associatedministries.org); or to Wartburg College (wartburg.edu/give).
A memorial service and lunch will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church by the Narrows, Tacoma.