Dorothy Kahler Landvater, 93, passed away peacefully, October 31, 2020, at Crane’s Mill Health Center, West Caldwell, NJ, after several years of declining health. Dottie was born August 23, 1927, to the late Miriam Hess Kahler and Cleon Kahler, in Lancaster, PA. She was raised in Landisville, PA, along with her two older brothers, Vincent and Richard. Dottie was introduced to the love of her life John Howard Landvater by her brother, Vincent, when they were both on leave from the 3rd Army during World War II. John fought in the Battle of the Bulge and served under General George Patton. After the war, he graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in mechanical engineering; they were married on June 13, 1948, in Landisville, PA. John and Dottie raised four boys, three born in a row: Darryl Vincent, Gregory Lee, Lance Eric, and the fourth son, David Ashely, born 4 years later. Dottie managed a very busy household and created many fond memories of their early years together in New Holland, PA. In addition to her “mom and household” duties, she managed to work as a model, instructed charm school classes, was a soprano soloist and professionally dramatized literary book reviews for women’s and service clubs, churches and other organizations.
Tragedy struck in 1972, when her youngest son, David, was critically injured in an automobile accident. She chronicled his recovery from a coma and brain damage in the book “David,” published in 1976. The hardbound edition was followed by paperback editions published in English, Japanese and German. In 1977, Dottie formed SHARING, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization for the handicapped of New Jersey. SHARING was certified, in 1978, for physically handicapped adults; it was the only all volunteer organization of its kind in New Jersey, where no one received a salary. The organization was established to involve physically handicapped adults in a direct and personal way so each person could make an impact on the organization. SHARING published a free monthly newsletter, “for and by the handicapped in New Jersey,” which offered family support, non-medical referrals, as needed, and lent a “sharing hand” to those in need. More than 2,500 newsletters were mailed monthly. Dottie executed a plan for fundraising to support the organization and added the SHARING Second Hand Shoppe for additional revenue. SHARING was well known for helping to pass the 1990 American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, accommodations, communications and government activities. After 32 years of operation, SHARING’s board of directors voted to close the organization and the SHARING Shoppe, in 2010. On October 28, 2014, Dottie was presented with a permanent plaque located in the Neuroimaging Center of The Kessler Rehabilitation Institute, West Orange, NJ, honoring her work at SHARING.
John and Dottie’s son, Gregory, developed mental health issues and she devoted her energies to caring for both David and Gregory. After John suffered a stroke, at age 62, John and Dottie looked for a continuing care community; they were one of the first residents to enter Crane’s Mills 21 years ago. Due to construction delays, they had to live in a hotel for several months before they could move in. Dottie and John became very active at Crane’s Mill and both have left legacies of service, compassion and a willingness to help. Always, Dottie had unbridled energy and an incredibly positive can-do attitude!
Dottie loved to bake and her family always looked forward to her pound cakes and Pennsylvania Dutch Shoo Fly pies. Who knew her expertly packed Shoo Fly pie, packed in an airline carry-on bag, turned on its side, would arrive with no crumb out of place? Even USPS had a great track record for delivering perfectly intact Shoo Fly pies to her out of state family. But Dottie was really known for her homemade cookies. “Dorothy’s Cookie Delights” were shipped to family and friends across the United States. Known for trying new cookie recipes, there would always be “surprise cookies” in the box, which were supposed to contain only family favorites. “Surprise Cookies” meant her family was the test kitchen! Her grandchildren treasure the family recipes and now cook their own “Grandma Dottie” special cookie and pie recipes. Dottie’s recipes have been shared with families and friends in this country and abroad.
During the Covid-19 quarantine at Crane’s Mill Dottie continued to bake cookies. Not to be deterred, Dottie would sneak out of her apartment at night with her rollator, delivering freshly baked cookies to her many friends. Not even a pandemic deterred Dottie! She baked cookies until her admission to Crane’s Mill Health Center in July.
Dottie remained a member of the United Methodist Church of Summit, cherishing her time singing in the sanctuary choir and joining in church activities. When traveling to Summit became difficult, she enjoyed performing in the choir at Crane’s Mill and volunteering for worship services. Dottie developed so many special friendships at Crane’s Mill over the past 21 years. Her family treasures the memories of visiting her at Crane’s Mill and enjoying those delightful Friday evening dinners, together, with Dottie and her friends.
Thank you, Crane’s Mill, to her friends, staff, pastoral care as well as all of the Crane’s Mill Health Center healthcare professionals and, most recently, the Journey Hospice Team. The Landvater family is especially thankful for the long term care provided to John and Dottie by Dr. Pradit Shah. Dottie’s loving aides from Spiricare were instrumental in her being able to live independently for the past several years. In the last few months, the Spiricare companions and staff gave her much love and comfort; we thank them all, especially Amabelle Daplin-Stech for her continued care, presence and patience.
Dottie was preceded in death by her husband, John; brothers Richard Kahler, of Lancaster, PA, and Vincent Kahler of Wyomissing, PA. She is survived by her sons Darryl Landvater (Dr. Stephanie), of Williston, VT; Dr. Lance Landvater (Cynthia) of Raleigh, NC; Gregory Landvater of Pemberton, NJ, and David Landvater of Livingston, NJ; her grandchildren Miranda Hvide (Anders), of City of Golf, FL; Elizabeth Cammack (Todd) of Raleigh, NC; Alexander Landvater of San Jose, CA; Spencer Landvater (Rafa Tirado) of Barcelona, Spain; Lance Landvater, II (Rebecca Fuller, fiancée) of Denver, CO; Dr. Ryan Landvater of Ypsilanti, MI; Brayden Landvater of Santa Cruz, CA; great-grandchildren Kristoffer Hvide and Eleanor Cammack; sister-in-law Mary Kahler of Lancaster, PA, and many nieces and nephews.
“Dottie was an extraordinary woman in so many ways. Charming. Gregarious. Often mischievous. And, always, sharp as a tack. She made an impression upon everyone she met. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed our many long conversations over the years. We will all miss her dearly.” Dear Friend, Tom O’Rourke
Darryl and Stephanie Landvater
507 Chapman Lane
Williston, VT 05495
Darryl’s cell: 802-238-7667
Lance and Cynthia Landvater
2700 Churchill Road
Raleigh, NC 27608
Lance’s cell: 919-05-1082