Dorothy Goodwalt

Dorothy Goodwalt

A life well lived.

Dorothy “Dottie” Gertrude Goodwalt died gently in bed on Dec. 22, 2015, with her loving cat Tara by her side. She was born Feb. 17, 1925 in St. Louis, Mo., to Gertrude “Kate” Reynolds Burns and Roy Percy Burns, and shared many memories of growing up with her cousins during the Depression, which left a lasting impression on her. Her mother died shortly after Dorothy was born, which was a source of sorrow to her all her life.

In 1946, Dorothy and Cornell Fred Strebler married, and their daughter Sandra Lee was born in 1950, followed by their son Jon Stephen in 1952. The family moved to San Diego in 1953, where Fred was stationed, and the couple divorced shortly thereafter.

Dorothy found lasting happiness when she married native San Diegan Karl Leonard Goodwalt, a Coronado fireman, in 1957. They made their home in Imperial Beach for the next 35 years, living within three blocks of their children when they were both grown and married.

The Greek meaning of the name Dorothy is “Gift of God,” but early in her life, her father translated it to “Gift of Gab.” Dorothy loved to talk, never met a stranger, always had an opinion to share. She was active in Brownies/Girl Scouts, Cub/Boy Scouts, the PTA and the Imperial Beach Garden Club. She especially loved cacti, succulents and rocks – big rocks, boulders, actually, and acquired them from many of the places the family camped over the years. It’s surprising Karl’s back never gave out, but that man lived for his “Rosebud” and hauled them home with a smile.

Dottie was a splendid and frugal homemaker, who managed the family’s finances so well that she never had to work outside the home. Her Depression mentality required her to be thrifty, but her love of the niceties ensured that her family was always well-fed, well-clothed and entertained.

After her children married, Dottie (forever an artist) took every art course offered at Southwestern Junior College, where she learned to curse from the younger students, to the consternation of her husband. She studied printmaking in Florence, Italy, with a group from school, and was joined near the end of that trip by Karl for an extended tour of Italy and Switzerland. Although they traveled many places throughout the years, the one spot that remained a wish only was New Zealand.

In 1992, Dorothy and Karl moved to Whidbey Island, Wash., where they built their dream home on 10 lovely, forested acres right next door to their daughter and son-in-law. Dottie joined the Coupeville Garden Club, planted trees, created scenic gardens and set her own footprint on her land. She and Karl celebrated 50 years of marriage in January 2007, but never made it to 51, as Karl died in October.

Dottie is survived by her daughter, Sandey Brandon of Coupeville, Wash.; her son, Jon Strebler, and his wife Lauree of Chula Vista, Calif.; her grandson, Jake Strebler of Oahu, Hawaii; her granddaughter, Heidi Gardiner and her husband Zach of Oceanside, Calif., and their daughter Xayla; her sister, Ethel Plagenz of Safford, Ariz., her three daughters and their numerous progeny.

Dorothy wished to be cremated, and no services are planned. She is once again united with her true love Karl, her own papa Roy, and finally gets to meet her momma!

Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at

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