Saturday she will celebrate her 102nd birthday.
She was the youngest of three children. Her father passed away when she was only 2 years old and since her mother couldn’t afford to take care of her, Mrs. Dorothy went to live at Sager Brown Orphanage in Baldwin where she learned to cook and take care of a laundry.
Although she was raised in an orphanage, she remained very close to her mother who was a seamstress and she taught Mrs. Dorothy to sew. She recalls working hard as a young child and having many chores including feeding chickens and chopping wood.
She married Clarence Guenze at the age of 18 and they had two children, Clarence Guenze Jr. and Lavera Brent. Clarence Jr. now lives in New Jersey. He is a retired federal social worker who worked in federal prisons. Lavera passed away, but was one of the first African-American police officers in Franklin. Mrs. Dorothy also has four grandchildren, five great grandchildren and eight great great grandchildren.
Her first job was a shirter in a pressing shop. She later went to work for Dr. Larry Mouch who, according to Mrs. Dorothy, was very fond of her. He sent her to take a nursing course at the former St. Anne’s Hospital (now the Franklin Police Department) and she began doing private duty nursing.
“I worked for all of the rich people,” Mrs. Dorothy recalled, “They were all very fond of me and said that my hands did more than the medicine.”
She was a member of the first Broussard-Harris Park Board and in 2008 received the Black Achiever’s Award from Broussard-Harris. She was also president of one of the first PTAs at the former Franklin Negro High School.
Mrs. Dorothy has been a resident of Franklin Health Care Center since 2006. Her favorite activities are crocheting gifts for people, playing bingo and singing. Her favorite song to sing is “God’s Amazing Grace.”
According to Guinzy Brent, Mrs. Dorothy’s granddaughter, she still practices private duty nursing. Mrs. Dorothy has had five roommates since moving into FHCC, and every time one of her roommates has become ill, she has sat and monitored them.
“She’s an angel,” FHCC Activities Director Jo Aufieri said, “She always has a positive attitude and encouraging words, she loves the Lord, she listens and gives good advice and she is very much loved.”
Mrs. Dorothy attributes her longevity to her love of God.
“His grace was enough for me,” Mrs. Dorothy says, “I’ve been through some storms, but I made it by the grace of God.”
Mrs. Dorothy will be 102 years young Saturday. Happy Birthday, Mrs. Dorothy!