Wellsville, NY - Dorothy Pauline Tarantine, born August 13, 1921 in Millersville, MO, died May 22, 2011 in Ithaca NY. She was the daughter of Alvin Lee and Nora Walker Niswonger. She was predeceased by her husband, Modestino (Mote) Tarantine and her brothers and sisters (and their spouses): Etta, Anna, Vesta (called Babe), Clola, Truman and Woodrow Niswonger. She is survived by her daughters, Barbara Jo Hulbert and Karen Lee Tarantine, granddaughter Karen Margaret (Matt) Schindler, three great grandsons and many generations of nieces and nephews.
Her mother died shortly after Dot was born. She and her brother Woody were the only ones left at home so they were raised by their father with a lot of help from their sisters. As a result, Dot and Woody were very best friends.
Although they generally lived in Cape Girardeau, MO, they moved around the area when her dad was working with the companies building concrete highways in the area. She often attended multiple schools in one school year but graduated from Cape Girardeau High School. Sometimes the three of them lived on their own and sometimes they lived with one of the sisters. She was brought up with her nieces and nephews who were about her age.
Dot met her husband during the war when he was stationed in Cape Girardeau as a flight instructor. She was out with her niece one night and Mote asked to be introduced. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He was told that she had a boyfriend but he said he still wanted to be introduced. One of their first dates was to a restaurant for a spaghetti dinner. Dot had never had spaghetti and didn't know how to eat it or if she liked it. That was almost the end of the relationship! When Mote was transferred to Great Falls, Montana she followed and they were married there in 1944. Mote was shipped overseas to fly the Hump and so Dot went to Olean, NY to live with his sisters, Cara and Jo and his father, Jim Tarantine. While she was there she worked for Bradner's Dept. Store. After the war they lived for a short time in East Aurora where Mote sold cars and then came back to Wellsville when Mote took a job managing the Wellsville Airport on the Bolivar Road.
In 1951, they opened the Airport Drive-In to supplement their income and to serve pilots who flew into Wellsville. They were very famous for their BBQ sauce. Dorothy would peel and chop about a hundred pounds of onions every spring to make the sauce and get ready for the May 1 opening. They also had a unique style of coleslaw that they served with the fish fry. She made hundreds of thousands of hamburgers by paddling with a heavy, solid pancake turner so they could get just the right size and shape to meet their exacting standards. In the ensuing years, they started the Wellsville Flying Service. As that business grew they sold the drive-in and then oversaw the move of the airport to Niles hill where the facility was named "Tarantine Field". They both worked hard as partners in the business. Dot could do anything Mote could except repair and fly the planes! After retirement they enjoyed many years of travel to Canada fishing and to Florida for the sunshine.
Dot had a well-earned reputation as an amazing bridge player. She was part of a Wednesday afternoon group for most of the years she was in Wellsville and later joined some evening groups. Mote always said that if she heard the word bridge - even if it was part of a highway - she was ready to play cards. She was also a 50 year member of Beta Sigma Phi. Although she took up golf in retirement, she quickly became good at that and filled her china cupboard with trophies. She enjoyed social gatherings and was always smiling and friendly. Many people have described her as "just a sweetheart". Her demeanor was one of caring and love but she could be feisty when the occasion called for it. She was an amazing role model for her daughters and granddaughter.
Friends are invited to call on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 from 10:00 to 11:00 am at the Immaculate Conception Church, 36 Maple Avenue in Wellsville. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11:00 am with Rev. Sean DiMaria as Celebrant. Burial will be in St. Mary's Cemetery in Belmont.
Her passing is sad news for her family, but not bad news. She missed her husband terribly over the past four years and they are now reunited in God's love. In lieu of flowers please consider a contribution to Father Bill Brown Missions c/o Immaculate Conception Church, 6 Maple Ave., Wellsville, NY 14895. Fr. Bill worked for Mote and Dot at the drive-in before he entered the priesthood. They were some of the first people to know of Bill's decision to become a priest. They felt great affection for Bill and always supported his work in Peru in any way they could. To leave online condolences, please visit www.embserfuneralhome.com.