SPARS Veteran Dorothy Patton Dies on Cruise

Dorothy Stewart Patton, a member of the first women’s commissioned officer class of the Coast Guard during World War II, has died in Thailand while on a world cruise. She was 79.

Mrs. Patton, a longtime resident of Southern California, had been living in South Laguna before embarking on a trip around the world. She suffered a heart attack while aboard the cruise ship and died March 5, but friends did not disclose her death until Monday.

Joyce Lesh, a friend of 40 years and executor of her estate, described Mrs. Patton as a very likable person. “Everybody she ever met became a friend . . . that’s the type of person she was. She had buckets of friends in Orange County.”

Mrs. Patton was recruited into SPARS, the Coast Guard women’s reserve, in 1942 and served until 1946. At the time of her discharge, she held the rank of lieutenant commander. She remained a member of the SPARS until her death.

Taught High School

Born in Indianapolis on Nov. 4, 1906, she moved with her family to Michigan at age 5. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich., and later taught high school in Charlotte, Mich., for seven years.

She also worked at Sears Roebuck & Co. in Michigan, as well as in Pasadena and Los Angeles, for 27 years. In 1976, she received an award for 50 years of membership in Kappa Kappa Gamma, a social sorority.

Mrs. Patton had no living relatives. Her body was cremated and the ashes interred at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana last week.