Dorothy Wright Davis
Dorothy “Alden” Wright Davis, 89, died peacefully March 1, 2016 in Eugene, OR. Her husband and her three children were with her as she died. She was the wife of the Rev. Charles A. Reinhardt. Alden would have turned 90 on July 29.
Born in Bryn Mawr, PA, to Guier Wright and Dorothy Battles Wright on July 29, 1926, Alden was an unabashed intellectual and scholar, traits fostered by her remarkable parents. She grew up with an insatiable curiosity and the conviction that women could do whatever they chose.
In 1947, Alden graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in geology. While earning her graduate degree at the University of Michigan, she met Robert I. Davis of Meredith, NH, whom she married in 1949. Over the next 36 years, as they raised their family and relocated frequently, their romance and relationship never faltered.
In the 1950s, Alden and Bob lived for several years in Mexico before returning to the US where they lived in rural Pennsylvania, the Missouri Ozarks, suburban Connecticut, and the mountains of Colorado among other places. For Alden, every move was an adventure and an opportunity. So, too, was the rearing of their children, Andrew, Philip and Rebecca. As she watched her own children develop, Alden began working with children with developmental issues, particularly autism. In the 1970s, she earned her second graduate degree, this time in developmental disabilities.
Alden and Bob retired to New Hampshire in the 1970s. In Durham, they built a home that Alden designed and which incorporated their favorite elements from the many houses they’d lived in. After Bob’s death in 1985, Alden began working for the Rev. Bob Karnan at UU Church of Portsmouth, South Church, later becoming a member of the congregation. It was there that she met the Rev. Charles Reinhardt, who was doing an interim ministry there.
They got to know each other well as she helped him sort out a ministerial conflict which was splintering the church. Chuck knew she could be counted on to provide reliable information. Their collegial relationship became deeper and Alden and Chuck married in1997. The couple lived in Newcastle, until 2014, when they moved to Eugene, OR. Her second marriage proved to be as deep and enduring as the first. Alden found the love of her life: twice.
Over many years Alden enjoyed presidential politics, relying on the PBS News Hour. She had no use for commercial television. Instead she and Chuck enjoyed several book clubs and the New York Review of Books.
In 1997 Alden joined Chuck in his home in Sheepscot, Maine. Alden soon joined a local University of Maine Extension group serving local women, working with monthly sessions, and providing transportation for those members who no longer drove. She also joined Chuck in the local Midcoast UU Fellowship as well, notably, in the special effort to rescue the Sheepscot Community Church with new growth.
Chuck and Alden enjoyed Elderhostel programs in Scandinavia. They also visited the Grand Canyon, Greece (with Canadian clergy and UUs, including Alan Deale and Kathleen Hunter, and Chuck Eddis).
As she got older, Alden traveled less, but never lost her intellectual curiosity or her zest for life. Alden approached the many transitions in her life with enthusiasm, curiosity and a Zen-like acceptance of change. Shortly before her death, while reviewing the many moves she’d made, she noted, “there’s just one more move I have to make.”
She always said her proudest accomplishment was to raise three kids into adults whom she not only loved but liked. Her pride in her children was evident to all who knew her.
Alden is survived by her husband; her children; granddaughter, Leah; great-grandchildren, Elias and Astrid Alden; sister, Patricia Hume; and numerous nieces, nephews, stepchildren and grandchildren.
Sympathy notes may be sent to: Chuck Reinhardt, 65 W 30th Ave., #3403, Eugene, OR 97405.