Jan. 29, 2012
Lewisville – Dellamae Dart passed away on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, 18 days prior to her 89th birthday. Memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2. Della was born in Anaheim, California to her parents John Byron and Matilda Bircher Gorton.
She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings Floyd, Arthur and Howard.
Della grew up in Tustin, California and graduated from Tustin High School where she illustrated the high school annual. Her drawing of the school mascot is still used today. Della eventually produced hundreds of watercolor, oil, acrylic, and pen & ink works over her lifetime.
She attended The Bible Institute of Los Angeles for one year before marrying her high school sweetheart, Melvin Dart, on Nov. 1, 1942. Together they built their life as a military family living in Louisiana, California, Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arizona, New York, Ohio as well as Japan and Libya.
They gathered many friends and memories along the way, but were especially devoted to raising their three children. After 26 years in the USAF, Mel retired and accepted a job in 1969 in Richardson, Texas. Della was more than ready.
A Botany professor in Oklahoma had given her a collection of iris bulbs in 1960 and Della continued to replant them everywhere they lived. Several years later, she said, “I feel like my iris’. I don’t live anywhere long enough to bloom!”
They enjoyed putting down roots in Texas and made many lifelong friends. In 1980, they moved to Santa Ana, California. Mel’s positions with both Texas Instruments and Northrup required international travel and together they spent over two years in Iran and UK. The first thing they did upon retiring from Northrup was to spend six months in Europe with the excuse of ordering a German car to bring home.
Their plan was to travel full time in their newly acquired motor home with its little car in tow. Della said, “If he thinks that I’m going to live in that thing for six months, he’s crazy!” Three years and thousands of miles later Mel was ready to settle down but Della wanted to keep going.
They ended up in Anacortes, WA where they spent 10 years enjoying frequent road trips and boating adventures. Della’s most prolific art making was produced during this period, using the landscape of the Pacific Northwest as her inspiration.
In 1999, they relocated back to Texas to be closer to their children, Chuck and Nancy. Until recently, Della continued to draw and paint from her illustrated travel diaries compiled over a 35 year period. Della will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
She is survived by daughters Kathleen Benz of Portland, Oregon, Nancy Neergaard of Euless and son Chuck Dart of Ferris; eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.