Dorothy Omelia Scales Banister
Dotty was the eldest of eleven children born to Charley and Edith Scales. Born Dorothy Omelia Scales on December 2, 19211 in Cloud Chief, Oklahoma she was raised on a cotton farm outside Colony in northeastern Washita County. Life growing up on the farm was difficult and being the eldest of her brothers and sisters made it doubly so, as she was required to play "second mother" to most of her siblings. She left home immediately after graduating from high school and met Ellis while attending college at Southwestern State.
Dotty & Ellis were married on May 2, 1943, shortly before Ellis left for Europe to begin training for the allied invasion of Italy. She finished her final year of university and graduated in 1944, earning her place as the first in her family to attend a university and earn a college degree. Ellis fought in eight European campaigns over two years, while Dotty moved between California, where she lived with her uncle Marshall Scales and his family in Oakland, and teaching school later beginning in 1945 in Oklahoma City. As World War II drew to a close that summer, she reunited with Ellis after a long time apart and joined him on his tour of the American South, where he was posted for various jobs as a part of a recruitment drive.
Dotty gave birth to their first child in 1947 while stationed with Ellis at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. She gave birth to their second child two years later while stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, and to her third in 1954 in Frankfurt, Germany. In June, 1956 the family was transferred to Pittsburgh, California and this is where Dotty remained for the rest of her life. In 1987, Dotty retired from teaching at the age of 65. On August 4, 2007, she passed away after a bout with ovarian cancer.
Begin reading: Dorothy's diary: January 1 - February 4, 1942
- 1. Comment from Dotty's eldest son: "Dotty was six weeks shy of 20 years old. Her birth certificate has her born in 1922 but she was born a year earlier because her dad kept forgetting to go down and register her birth. Dotty herself told me this a few months before she passed away, but she didn't want me to put that in her obituary. Then, at the memorial service, Dotty's sister Lodema went up to the mike and explained why Dotty's dad didn't register the birth immediately: Dotty was born in a roadside shelter on the way to a hospital. Lodema called the shelter a "dugout." I have a picture of Cloud Chief OK, then-tribal land near where the 'dugout' was located."