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Dorothy Malone celebrates with Scott Gibbs after she hands him his diploma at graduation.
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Dorothy Renee Malone was just 57 when she passed away from stage four ovarian cancer at 11:25 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, at home surrounded by family and close friends.
Born Dec. 20, 1956, in Alton, Dorothy was a 1975 graduate of East Alton-Wood River High School, but the maroon and gold didn’t stop flowing in her veins as she was elected to the EA-WR School Board, serving as secretary for 13 years.
“There was never a time when Mom didn’t give of herself to others,” said Dorothy’s son, Michael Malone. “She sacrificed so much of her life to make sure that I had what I needed and wanted. But she didn’t do that just for me; she was a second Mom to so many of my friends and classmates at school. If someone needed something, she would find a way.”
Dorothy was known for being seen at Oiler games throughout the year to support her children on the field or on the court. If one of her kids made it into college sports, she faced personal fears to make them a priority.
“Dorothy didn’t like to drive at night or on the highways, and I will never forget the first time she drove on the highway,” said EA-WR graduate and University of Illinois football alumni Travis Williams. “It was a Friday afternoon after work. She calls me and tells me that she is coming up to an Illini game to see me play and that it was her first time driving on a highway and that I better feel special,” Williams said, laughing. “She and her son, Michael, hit the highway that night and came up to Champaign and stayed the night with my family and went to the game the next day. I will never forget that for as long as I live.”
Dorothy was known for taking students, athletes, families and friends under her wings and being a solid support system in their lives.
“We attend Enjoy Church in Alton, you would always see her talking with kids or helping people within the church,” Malone said. “She took on the youth with the Club X outreach, she ran the women’s ministry that was called the Secret Sisters, she helped with the children’s ministry so the younger children can grow up to learn about God while their parents knew they were safe while they were able to worship. To her, volunteering was everything.”
Dorothy was known and often referred to as a “straight shooter” when it came to how she spoke to people.
“I’ve known Dorothy for 20 years; she was like a sister,” EA-WR head football coach Joe Parmentier said. “One thing I really respected about her was she was someone who didn’t mince words. She told you how it was. Even if the truth wasn’t popular, you could count on her honesty and that she’ll give it to you straight. Dorothy was a person who gave her time to help others help themselves to be a better person.”
She had been a volunteer for Boy Scout Troop No. 101 for 14 years and was a merit badge counselor.
“One thing that Mom really instilled in people is that if you’re going to do something, you put your full effort,” Malone said. “She expected that of herself and others. There wasn’t an excuse to do something without doing it to your full ability. She didn’t accept mediocre.”
Aside from being an avid Bunco player in her rare spare time, Dorothy was known for her cooking.
“There were times when Mom knew someone’s family was going through a hard time and she’d go to their home and cook them a meal,” Malone said. “She’d cook to feed a family and then leave them all the food and come home. She did that because she knew they needed that. She always stepped up.”
Dorothy Malone lived to serve others in her community and to those who knew her, she was a shining example of what a human being should be.
“The best honor I was given was being asked to stand by one of my former football players, Scott Gibbs, and carry Dorothy’s casket at her funeral,” Parmentier said. “I’m so glad I had Scotty to lean on that day; she meant so much to him, she helped him all throughout high school. It was a tough moment for us both, but we knew that was the last honor we could repay her.”
Memorials may be made to the Oilers football program or Boy Scout Troop No. 101.