Dorothy Jane Post Sanderson, “Dot,” died peacefully on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Billings surrounded by family and caregivers.
Dot Post was born June 18, 1927, in Stamford, Texas, 15 miles from tiny Haskell, Texas, home to her parents Marvin H. and Gladys (Huckabee) Post and her three siblings. She attended first through seventh grades in Haskell.
In 1941 the Post family moved to Denver City, Texas, where Dot graduated as the Denver City High School valedictorian in 1944. She then graduated from Texas Women’s University, Denton, Texas, in 1948, with a B.S. in Music Education for Vocal & Instrumental Supervisor. She received an M.S. in Computers in Education from Lesley College in 1980.
Her long teaching career began in Andrews, Texas, where she taught vocal music and band. Encouraged by her best friend and older sister Marvina, she moved to Dallas where she worked for Mobil Oil Corporation as a draftsman. But teaching vocal music proved to be her passion, and Dot left Mobil to teach music at Highland Park Junior High, also in Dallas.
In 1953 she moved to Laramie to teach vocal music in Laramie High School. She was also the music supervisor for all elementary schools there. In Laramie, she met Mark Sanderson of Great Britain, a World War II veteran from Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards. They were married at the Little Chapel in the Woods in Denton, Texas.
Returning to Laramie, Dot taught piano lessons in addition to full-time school teaching making it possible for Mark to graduate from the University of Wyoming with a degree in Education. Not finding teaching work for the two of them in the same Wyoming community, they moved to Andrews, Texas, where Mark taught fifth grade for two years. Then teaching positions became available for the two of them in Riverton, and in 1961 they jumped for the chance to return to the north.
Mark taught fifth grade at Jefferson and Jackson Schools until his death in 1974, and Dot taught sixth grade math and science at Lincoln Elementary School, and then at the Riverton Middle School until she retired in 1980.
Dot was an active member and then president, of the Riverton Education Association. She was gutsy and forward-looking. She was the first female teacher in School District 25 to wear a pant suit to teach in school. Mark was dubious when he took her to school that day, and as she got out of the car he said, “If they fire you, I won’t be surprised.” In truth, she set the trend there.
Along the way, Dot and Mark had two children, Mark M. who was born in 1955 and Shirley Jane born in 1959. Loving to fish, rock hound, ski and camp in the upper country of the Wind River, the family bought land in Dubois, and in 1972 began building a summer cabin there. In 1974 cancer overtook Mark and he died before the cabin was finished. Dot checked out library books on electrical wiring and plumbing, and with the help of her two children and various friends, finished the cabin which stands today as the family asset she and Mark had intended. She spent the next 38 summers enjoying that cabin practically every weekend, often hosting friends and family, loving, tickling and dancing with granddaughters, and always fishing her favorite holes on the Wind River.
Dot headed up the Community Concert Association in Riverton. She was also a member of the United Methodist Church, and directed the choir there for several years while also singing alto. An avid golfer, and, again, a trendsetter, she became the first woman to be elected to the Board of Directors of the Riverton County Club.
When she wasn’t playing golf, Dot was playing tennis. And when she wasn’t playing golf or tennis, she was either painting, making pottery, or playing bridge, a member of more than one bridge club in every community she called home. Even when Dot’s health began to suffer in 2012 from a form of dementia (and she moved to Cody to live with Shirley Jane and her family), she continued to astound everyone with her bridge-playing skills. Only in the last three years has she had to give up that passion.
Dot loved to travel with friends after her retirement, both within the country and abroad. She volunteered to help build Habitat for Humanity homes as far away as Idaho and Washington State. Those with whom she traveled always noted her quick and friendly sense of humor. Even after moving from Shirley Jane’s family’s home in Cody to an assisted living lifestyle in Dubois in 2016, suffering even more from dementia as every month passed, she kept everyone in stitches with her one-liners and witty, hilarious observations. It was her smile, and her fundamental kindness, everyone has told us, that endeared even strangers to Dot Sanderson.
Dot was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Mark, her sister Martha (Unruh), her sister Marvina (Hauger), and her brother Henry.
She is survived by her son Mark and his wife Mary, granddaughter Serene and her husband Will Robinson, great-granddaughter Sealey, and step-great-grandchildren Gabby and Riddik. Dot is also survived by her daughter Shirley Jane and her husband Press Stephens and granddaughter Mariah.
Dot asked that no funeral services be held. Memorial gifts, though, are welcome and can be sent to the Dot Sanderson Scholarship Fund for Art and Music, c/o Beth Monteiro, Executive Director, Central Wyoming College Foundation, 2660 Peck Avenue, Riverton, WY 82501.