BANDON — There's so many things Barbara Dodrill has done, it's hard to know where to start. But let it be said that this woman, who's turning 93 on Tuesday, has lived a full life and continues to give to her family, friends and community on a daily basis with boundless energy.
Dodrill moved to Bandon in 1948 with her husband Don, who worked for the City of Bandon public works for many years. Their two children, Nona and Walt grew up in Bandon and Walt, a retired banker and his family, including wife Sue, a retired teacher, and daughter Mariah Vierck, a teacher at Bandon High School and her three children all live in Bandon. Dodrill also has several other grandchildren, a total of nine, both Nona's and Walt's, and many great-grandchildren.
A drive-by birthday party for Barbara Dodrill, who's turning 39 (reversed birthday age), will be held Tuesday, Aug. 18. Those interested can drive by her house at 850 N. Michigan from 3-5 p.m. and honk to wish her well. The house is located at a cul-de-sac so turn-around will be easy.
Dodrill has worked as a waitress/bartender at Tanglewood, at the Langlois Cheese Factory, as an office employee at Coquille Plywood in Bandon, as an office employee at Moore Mill & Lumber Co., and as an office manager for the Bandon School District.
She started college at Southwestern Oregon Community College, earned her bachelor's degree from Southern Oregon and master's degree from Oregon State University in 1968-70 after her two children were done with high school.
She then taught high school students at Pacific High School for two years. About 1972, she started teaching accounting and business at Southwestern. While there, she developed an office similation course that was also used by Umpqua Community College for several years. She also developed individual learning packets for outreach students and accounting practice sets for manual and computer experience.
Dodrill retired from teaching business at the college when she was 80 years old. She then embarked on a real estate career, which she pursued with David L. Davis Real Estate for five years.
"I think the most rewarding time of my life was teaching at the college," Dodrill said. "The hardest time was losing my husband."
Other accomplishments: taught in South Korea for a month and built houses in Guatemala through Habitat for Humanity three times, served as a Bandon city councilor, was on the Southern Coos Health District Board and served on the board that created Coast Community Health Center. She also ran for the state House of Representatives, an experience she calls "Interesting ... I lost."
She currently works two mornings a week making appointments for Dr. Gail McClave.
For over 20 years, Dodrill made her swimming pool available for people who needed or wanted that type of exercise.
"We had 20-40 people take adavantage of that offer at any given time," Dodrill said. "I did not want to shut it down, but could no longer keep it going under present-day conditions."
Dodrill's advice for living a full life?
"If you get stuck in today, move on and look for something to do that helps others," she said.
Barbara Dodrill scholarship
A scholarship was recently created in Dodrill's name at Southwestern Oregon Community College. A friend of Dodrill's, Lynn Kellogg, who she went on a Habitat for Humanity trip to Guatemala with, created the scholarhips this year to honor Dodrill.
"The scholarship is awarded through the Southwestern Oregon Community College Foundation," said Foundation Executive Director Elise Hamner. "We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We exist to support students and the college. The Barbara Dodrill Scholarship is quite simply in honor of Barbara."
The scholarship is designated for second-year students (45+ credits) who are over 21 years old and have financial need. Preference is for the scholarships to go to female applicants. This scholarship is an “annual” scholarship, meaning it gives each year as long as donors contribute to it.
Scholarships are awarded in May and June for the following fall term. The Foundation typically awards 150 scholarships per year.
People who would like to honor Dodrill and contribute to the scholarship, can do so two ways:
1. Send a check to the foundation, making sure the memo line says it’s for the Barbara Dodrill Scholarship
1988 Newmark Ave.
Coos Bay, OR 97420
2. Give through the foundation online portal (https://www.socc.edu/foundation/give)