Dorothy Mary Kopczynski Dutko, 95, passed away peacefully Christmas morning in the home she filled with love, kindness, compassion and hospitality.
Born in Ewing, Mrs. Dutko was a resident of Hopewell Township, living 70 years in the home she built brick by brick with her husband Joe.
Dorothy graduated from Trenton High School where she was a cheerleader. Mrs. Dutko was an employee of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, starting her career as the “Pony”, an inter-school mail delivery service person. She later worked as a secretary in the CHS nurse’s office and then retired as the long-time secretary to athletic director Steve Timko. Affectionately known to staff and students as Mrs. “D”, she forged a special bond with Mr. Timko, and they worked together to serve the students and athletic teams. A gifted cook and hostess, Mrs. D. prepared and served a home-made breakfast to all Mercer County AD’s each month as they gathered for their business meetings. Mrs. Dutko also served one year as the Assignor for basketball for Mercer County high schools.
Dorothy was a lifelong social justice volunteer who gave her gifts of time and talent to many organizations in order to make the world a better place. In the 1960’s as racial tension gripped the nation, Dorothy hosted children from the inner-city of Trenton in the Reading and Recreation program, providing lunch and a cool swim in her pool to the less fortunate. During her years as homemaker, she supported her children as den mother of the Cub Scouts and as a PTA room mother. She was also part of Pennington Families for Peace, a grass-roots organization that protested against the Vietnam War, and she travelled to Washington D.C. to participate in the 1965 March Against the Vietnam War on the National Mall. Dorothy was also an active member of Bridges for Peace, a cultural exchange program which connected the towns of Pennington and Volgograd, Russia. Mrs. Dutko hosted many citizens of Russia and traveled as a citizen ambassador to the former Soviet Union. She was ahead of her time and was always open to new ideas that would improve the world. For several decades, Dorothy hosted an end of ride picnic at her home for bikers and support crew members of the Anchor House Ride for Runaways. She was a volunteer driver-well into her eighties, for the F.I.S.H. Meals on Wheels Program.
Mrs. Dutko was an active parishioner of St. James Church in Pennington. She was a member of the Parish Guild, Lazarus Group, a Eucharistic Minister, and could often be found decorating the church for major holidays. She was a founding member of the Tuesday Morning Art Group. “Dorota” began painting in her sixties, and eventually she offered her works for sale at local community events. Her miniature painting series were an innovative way to make art accessible for many to enjoy.
Mrs. Dutko enjoyed gardening, golf, and traveling which she did extensively throughout the United States and Europe. She was an excellent cook and baker, and she hosted many picnics, celebrations, and even a wedding in her pool yard, which she filled with plants, flowers and carefully chosen keepsakes that created an oasis enjoyed by all. Feeding 200 hungry bikers or 75 relatives, she was always the gracious hostess and found great joy in offering a scrumptious meal to all who gathered to enjoy her hospitality. Everyone looked forward to feasting on her ethnic specialties of kalacha (nut roll), Czechoslovakian cookies, halupki (stuffed cabbage) and chicken and dumplings (aka “halooshkies”). Dorothy started a tradition of homemade “Friday Night Pizza” gatherings that endured for over 50 years and often found toddlers, teenagers, and senior citizens joined in good food and good cheer. Dorothy took great joy and pride in attending the many soccer, field hockey, basketball, baseball and softball games of her great/grand/children, as well as dance recitals and musical performances. Dorothy was a dedicated fan of many Hopewell Valley sports teams whose players truly appreciated her unwavering sideline support.
Mrs. Dutko was the daughter of the late Alexander B. Kopczynski and Josephine Paradowski Kopczynski. She was predeceased by the love of her life and husband of 57 years, Joseph J. Dutko. Dorothy was a loving,caring and devoted mother and is survived by six children: Son David (Debbie) of Wrightstown, PA; daughter Carol MacLaury(Steven) of Weston, VT; son Paul (Susan) of Harbourton; son Joseph Jr. of Pennington; daughter Suzanne Stout (Jay) of Hopewell; and daughter Marci VanHise (Peter) of Titusville. A loving grandmother, Mrs. Dutko is survived by nine grandchildren. Erin Teasley of Wrightstown, PA; Michael Dutko of Paxinos, PA; Kyle MacLaury of Quechee, VT; Kelly MacLaury of Londonderry, VT; Kerri MacLaury of Salem, MA; Jennifer Dutko of NYC; Samantha Stout of Monteroni d’Arbia, Italy; Kara Dutko of Pennington; and Danielle Stout of Jersey City. Dorothy is survived by eight great-grandchildren. Leigha and Kevin Dutko-Teasley; Meg and Graham MacLaury; Olav and Jaakko Pajala; and Aly and Ashyr Dutko. She is also survived by her beloved sister Salomea Houghton as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins. Dorothy was predeceased by her brother Alexander Kopczynski of Texas, and sister Lucy Jones.
Memorial Mass will be held Saturday, June 12 at 12:30 pm at St. James Church, 115 E. Delaware Ave. in Pennington, NJ. The family respectfully requests all mass attendees wear a face covering at the service for Dorothy.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Mrs. Dutko’s name to St. James Church-115 E. Delaware Ave. Pennington, NJ 08534, Anchor House- 482 Centre St.Trenton, NJ 08611, or Holy Redeemer Hospice-2 South Gold Drive, Suite B Hamilton, NJ 08691.
Arrangements are entrusted to Blackwell Memorial Home, Pennington. www.blackwellmh.com