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Dora Mortensen loved helping her community
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Dora Marie Andersen in her 1936 graduation portrait at Manteca High. - photo by Photo Contributed

Dora Andersen Mortensen left her mark on Manteca during her 93 years in the community. She was born in the 400 block of West Yosemite in 1918.

Dora, like so many who made up the strong foundation of Manteca’s united spirit, was an unknown to many. Determination, kindness and strong character describe her best as does her love of family.

She passed away at age 93 on Nov. 21.

Graduating from Manteca High School in 1936, Dora drew most of her work and moral ethics from her parents. Her dad Jens Andersen came to Manteca by train after the turn of the century, a native of Denmark, born in 1888.

He and Bertha Eva Schmiedt were married in 1917 in Manteca. Dora’s mom was a native of Oregon but had lived in Manteca for 87 years when she died at 95 – longevity definitely runs in the family.

Her mother had come to California in 1900 and to Manteca in 1904 by wagon. Like her daughter she was active in the community and belonged to the Nile Garden Farm Center Home Department, the Brethren Church and the Manteca District Grange for 50 years.

Dora’s dad was a plasterer and brick layer and had worked constructing most of the brick buildings erected at the intersection of Yosemite Avenue and Main Street in the center of the old downtown. He was also a director of the Manteca-Lathrop Fire Department for over 30 years from 1930 until his death in 1963.

It was my pleasure to have known Dora and her husband Stan from the early ’60s watching their involvement in the community and the formation of the Pink Ladies at the hospital after its opening in 1962.

Dora Mortensen organized a group of seven women and served as the charter president for the service group in its first year and again in later years.

Mortensen and the others continued to make a differencefor more than half a century. They included Beverly Brownell, Gladys Hipp-Stoker, Norma Hodson, Norma Honodel-Woodstra, Edna Ratto, Verna Scharmann and Julia Grieve.

When the Manteca Historical Society was organized, Dora stepped up and became a charter member and a director.

Over the years she also served as president of the Native Daughters of the Golden West as well as its grand deputy, a member of the Girl Scouts Area Council, president of the Manteca Women’s Service Club, president of the Manteca Federated Women’s Club and a 50 year member of both the Manteca Eastern Star and Stockton Philomathian Club.