Dorothy Elaine Burrill of Marion, Massachusetts passed January 21st after a long illness. She leaves behind her three children: Michael Bejtlich of Rochester MA, Nancy Benson of Mattapoisett, and Amy Silva of Marstons Mills and six grandchildren: Matthew and Emily Bejtlich, Connor and Casey Mackenzie, and Jacob and Emma Silva. Dorothy (Dot) Burrill was a lifelong social activist, educator, and mentor to hundreds of women and men on Cape Cod during her career. She graduated from Harvard University with an MA in Public Administration after completing her undergraduate degrees at Cape Cod Community College and Boston University.
Dot was the co-founder and director of the Women in Transition Program and a professor at Cape Cod Community College. Earlier in her career, she was executive director for both Action for Opportunity and the Urban Coalition in Pittsfield Massachusetts, where she also served as president of the League of Women Voters. She received many federal, state, and local awards throughout her life for her outstanding advocacy work. Dot also served in the Peace Corps in her early 70s—stationed in Jamaica, she worked with local schools on an anti-bullying campaign.
An avid traveler, Dot visited the Caribbean frequently. She also traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and Australia. She loved to read, kayak, and swim. And boy, did she love to dance–cooking not so much! She was a courageous woman who fought tirelessly for social justice causes she embraced. She had an infectious laugh, and as one of her colleagues remembers, she was “warm and kind, but not to be underestimated.”
Dot’s energetic and passionate nature will be missed by her family, friends, and colleagues. Her family is grateful for all those who helped during her years of illness. We want the community to know that she passed peacefully. Thank you, Dot, for your hard work, dedication to social justice, boundless energy, adventurous spirit, and for leaving the world a better place. A small family celebration will be held this summer in her honor.