d. Jan. 28, 2013
Dorothy Bengal passed away on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. She lived in Davis since 1968.
She grew up in Buffalo and Rochester, in upstate New York. As a junior in high school she won the top Regents award for Latin in New York State. At the University of Michigan she studied pre-med and zoology during World War II, witnessing the dawn of the antibiotic era and massive changes in American health care.
After she earned her bachelor’s degree, she was the youngest student to attend UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. She lived at International House at Berkeley, which years later led her to support International House at UC Davis. With her master’s degree in health education she worked as a community organizer and health educator with the American Tuberculosis (now Lung) Association, and the county health departments of Santa Clara, Solano, and San Joaquin, and in Denver, Colo. Later she did field work and health surveys throughout Northern California for the Department of Commerce.
She met her husband Vernon at a meeting of the Sierra Club. They shared a lifelong love of music, nature, the arts, politics, travel, family and friends.
In the 1960s, they were instrumental in founding a chapter of the Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation in Sacramento and in reestablishing music education programs in the schools of Vallejo.
In Vallejo she was a member of the Community Development Council Beautification Advisory Committee. Dorothy sang in local choral groups everywhere she lived.
When they moved to Davis, Dorothy and Vernon became active in the Great Decisions Groups of the World Affairs Council, Peace Action, League of Women Voters, the American Association of University Women, and the Davis Art Center. Their enthusiasm for international relations led Dorothy and Vernon to volunteer as tutors in conversational and scientific English for visiting scholars and graduate students.
For the American Bicentennial she worked with Professor Seymour Gold to establish a memorial grove of 1776 trees and shrubs at Davis Senior High School, including 500 redwood trees. In addition to commemorating the Bicentennial, the project honored 15 students who had died since the high school’s opening in 1968. The local Rotary chapter, the AAUW, the high school students, and their teachers collaborated in the planting.
She is survived by her daughters, Valerie Bengal of Santa Cruz and Nikki Bengal of San Francisco. Her husband Vernon passed away in 2011.