Fort Collins – Doris (‘Dottie’) Lilian Vojensky died Sunday, September 27, 2020, after a long and full life. She was born Sunday, May 1, 1921, the daughter of William Frederick and Florence (nee Strongman) Blondun, in Sydenham, a suburb of London, England. She attended Adamsrill Road Elementary School and Brockley Central Secondary School, where she earned a Royal Society of Arts Certificate in French. In 1937 she traveled with the International Friendship League to visit the World Exhibition in Paris, France. When World War II broke out in September 1939, and men were drafted and women required to serve or to perform priority civilian jobs, Dottie took a job at the General Post Office School of Communication at Clerkenwell, London. After passing the civil service exam, she began to work at various telephone exchanges. During the Nazi Blitz, between September 1940 and May 1941, she continued to make the hour and a half trip by foot, train and bus from her home in Sydenham to work in London. In 1940 she accepted a position as a switchboard operator in the secret underground communication center referred to as “The Bunker” located below Whitehall, London, that also housed Churchill’s War Rooms. In addition to the Switchboard Room, with a direct line to Churchill, the extensively warrened subterranean facility housed the Map Room, from where the war was charted, a broadcasting room, and the Cabinet Room, where Churchill and his war cabinet directed the war. Throughout the Blitz, while the German Luftwaffe relentlessly bombed London, switchboard operators worked in shifts of two at a time, at all hours of the day and night, connecting the War Rooms to the outside world. Dottie often had to spend the night in The Bunker, and she told stories of having to find cover when the air raid sirens went off as she walked across Westminster Bridge on her way to Whitehall. In early 1942, after the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, which brought the Americans into the war, she was transferred to U.K. Base American Headquarters in London, located in the basement of Selfridges department store, where she was the supervisor and assistant chief telephone operator. When the war ended in 1945, she was transferred to Frankfurt, Germany to work with the Americans in the post-war effort. On the way to Frankfort, she and her friend Olive stopped first in Paris, France, to be fitted for uniforms. While in Paris, they stayed at the Hotel Marignan on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and as it was so soon after the war, they only had electricity for three hours a day. Dottie told of a terrifying experience crossing a temporary pontoon railway bridge across the Rhine River at Remagen, while on the train from Paris to Frankfort. The capture of the strategic railway bridge at Remagen, which had collapsed only months before in March 1945, allowed the Allied Forces to cross the Rhine and begin the final push towards V-E Day. According to Eisenhower, the capture of the bridge at Remagen shortened the war by six months. In Frankfort Dottie was in charge of 25 British personnel working for the U.S. Military at the Communications Center Signal Division, Headquarters U.S. European Command (EUCOM) located in the I.J. Farben Building. In 1946 she was awarded The Meritorious Unit Commendation by the U.S. Army for outstanding service to the United States. While in Frankfort she met Edward (‘Ed’) G. Vojensky, an American civilian from Chicago, Illinois. Dottie and Ed were married at the Kronberg Schloss on July 23, 1947. She continued to work until 1951, when their daughter Denise was born, as Administrator of Records at the U.S. Signal Division. During her husband’s career with the Defense Department, they were stationed at Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Wiesbaden, and Stuttgart, Germany, and Paris, France. Dottie worked 10 years as a Red Cross Volunteer and served as Chairman of Volunteers. She also volunteered at U.S. Headquarters Thrift Shops and for the Community Service Center. She is a charter member of Women in Military Service for America (WIMSA).
Dottie also loved studying foreign languages, including French, German, Spanish and Russian, and she had an avid interest in art, fashion, poetry, literature, and music. Her hobbies included quilting, painting, writing poetry, and rock collecting. Upon retirement in 1974, Ed and Dottie settled in Stratmoor Hills, Colorado Springs, where Denise lived with her family. On July 3, 2001 they moved to Adriel Hills, Fort Collins to be closer to their son Ed and family. Despite her loss of vision, brought on by advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Dottie remained actively engaged in life into her 90’s, swimming almost daily, until the last couple of years, with The Water Babes aerobics group at Adriel Hills, attending the Fort Collins Symphony, and spending time with her family and wonderfully supportive network of friends in Fort Collins.
She is preceded in death by her husband Edward G. Vojensky and two sisters Mabel Grady and Joyce Peploe, of England. Doris is survived by two children, Denise Vojensky Greathouse, of Farmington, Arkansas, and Edward G. Vojensky, Jr. of Fort Collins, Colorado, and by five grandchildren, Joshua, Jesse, and Melissa Swann, Amber Regalado and Edward Vojensky III, and by ten great-grandchildren, Brianna Denise Swann, Grady Hawke Gottschalk, River Dean and Rowan India Rains, Sophia Marie Hofmann, Lillian Violet and Ryder Christopher Newman Swann, and Macy Melissa and Dylan Joshua Swann, and Lexi Wright Regalado.
A memorial service will be held at a future date to be determined (we hope this Spring, depending on the pandemic).
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Halcyon Hospice, 6750 West 52nd Street, Arvada, CO 80002. Attn Claudia Golden.
Published in Coloradoan from Oct. 2 to Oct. 4, 2020.