It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our company's co-founder Dorothy Agnes Tracy at 12:05 a.m. on Friday, March 27, 2020, in her home. She was surrounded in love by many of her children when she died of natural causes not related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dorothy was an extraordinary person who, in addition to raising 12 children, built our business from the ground up with her husband, Robert Tracy, in 1960. She played an essential part in the company's early success by helping with secretarial, bookkeeping, and even delivering orders in her family's station wagon.
"Mom has always been the foundation and guiding light for our family and business," said John Tracy, Dot Foods executive chairman and seventh child of Robert and Dorothy Tracy. "Right to the end, she was a living example to everyone she touched of humility, kindness, faith, and family first values."
Dorothy was born on January 21, 1929, in Taylorville, Illinois, and grew up on a farm in Blue Mound, Illinois. She was one of Lawrence and Marie Curtin's seven children. In one year, she passed both third and fourth grades at her small country school. She practiced piano two to three hours a day and showed Shorthorn cattle at county fairs.
She attended Stonington Community High School and graduated from the Sacred Heart Academy in Springfield, Illinois. In 1949, she received a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Illinois.
It was at the university that she met Robert, an agriculture student from Jerseyville, Illinois. They were both at a campus dance when Robert asked her for a spin on the dance floor. She had started dance classes there only a day prior.
Two years later, they were married in Stonington, Illinois, on June 9, 1949, and resided in Champaign, Illinois. The Tracys moved to Mt. Sterling, Illinois, in 1952 with their two young sons, Don and Pat. Only eight years later, Dorothy put her full faith in Robert when he asked her about starting a new food distribution business. The couple had eight of their 12 children at that time.
Dorothy was active in the Holy Family Catholic Church in Mt. Sterling, where she often played the organ. She served on the Brown County School Board, was a member of the National T.T.T. Society chapter in Mt. Sterling, and played bridge in several local clubs.
"Grandma was truly an exceptional woman who brought light and love to everyone she met," said Lauren Tracy Clough, Dorothy's second of 46 grandchildren and a Dot senior business development manager. "She chose to lead by example and touched so many lives in the most positive way."
Dorothy had a philanthropic spirit, a value she instilled in her children and grandchildren. She volunteered and supported many local charities and is known for her role in helping build the Mt. Sterling Community Center YMCA, which opened in 2004. Construction of the facility was paid for by Robert and Dorothy Tracy, the Tracy Family Foundation, and Dot Foods.
"Mom has meant so much to our family and employees over the years," said Joe Tracy, Dot Foods chief executive officer and eleventh child of Robert and Dorothy. "She has provided quiet leadership and played such a key role in our success as a family and a business. It is so appropriate that Dot was named after Mom."
Today, Dot Foods is an $8.1 billion company and the largest food industry redistributor in North America. Dot is still owned and operated by the Tracy family.
All of that notwithstanding, Dorothy was most proud of raising a good family and creating a family business that serves its customers well.
Dorothy's family has also grown surprisingly large. She is survived by her 12 children, Donald (Wanda) of Springfield, Illinois; Patrick (Jane) of Town and Country, Missouri; Thomas (Catherine) of Mt. Sterling, Illinois; Anne (Ray) Capestrain of Springfield, Illinois; James (Jil) of Quincy, Illinois; Jean (Mike) Buckley of Quincy, Illinois; John (Linda) of Des Peres, Missouri; Mary (Jay) Sullivan of Pleasantville, New York; Susan (Scott) Stamerjohn of Quincy, Illinois; Jane (Fred) Schmidt of Des Peres, Missouri; Joseph (Jill) of Quincy, Illinois; Richard (Adina) of Des Peres, Missouri; 46 grandchildren; 31 great-grandchildren; and her brothers, Paul (Gail) Curtin of Lisle, Ill.; Larry Curtin of Taylorville, Ill.; John (Alice) Curtin of Taylorville, Ill.; and sister-in-law Nancy Curtin of Ocean City, N.J.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert, on March 26, 2006; her parents; her sister, Catherine Trueblood; and her brothers Bill Curtin and Leo Curtin.
The private burial will be held at the Mt. Sterling Catholic Cemetery. The service is for immediate family members only.
Unfortunately, the family will not be holding a visitation at this time. Due to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's stay-at-home order, which limits the size of groups to 10 people or less, a memorial service for Dot Foods employees, friends, and the entire Tracy family will be postponed until a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Holy Family Catholic Church, St. Mary School, or Mt. Sterling Community Center YMCA.
The Hendricker Funeral Home of Mt. Sterling is handling funeral arrangements. Condolences to the family may be submitted online at HendrickerFH.com.