Dotty Bollinger was born and raised in Sanford (SHS Class of ’57) and John was raised in Rochester, N.Y. He was in the Navy and stationed at the Sanford Naval Base. They met on a blind date; John called the next day and they soon married.
John retired from Lockheed Martin after 34 years in the engineering department, and Dotty retired from Seminole County Public Schools with a total of 27 years (17 at Lake Mary Elementary and 10 at the district office). They lived in Lake Mary until December 2001, when they moved to The Plantation at Leesburg.
They have a daughter, Debbie Ramsay Whitehead, Sanford; son-in-law, Nicky; grandson, Aaron, 19; granddaughter, Molly, 10; son, Kevin, Orlando; daughter-in-law, Regina; granddaughters, Kaley, 8, and Summer, 5.
On the afternoon of June 28, their children hosted a party at The Manor at the Plantation of Leesburg.
The Manor was decorated with white linen tablecloths and floral arrangements of daisies on each table. About 100 friends and family enjoyed the food and beautiful wine fountain while listening to Ture Larson, a concert pianist and family friend from Winter Garden.
A video slideshow of John and Dotty’s life ran during the afternoon for guests to enjoy. Granddaughters Molly, Kaley and Summer greeted guests as they arrived and attended to the guestbook.
Their honorees’ children surprised them with a custom-made three-tier wedding cake adorned by a swan perched on top. This swan, made of icing, was the original swan that was on their wedding cake exactly 50 years ago. They cut and shared the first piece of cake and then raised their crystal champagne glasses, engraved with “50th Wedding Anniversary,” also a gift from their children, for a toast. John and Dotty then danced to “The Anniversary Waltz.”
While the guests were enjoying their cake, Debbie and Kevin each gave a speech about their life growing up and their fond memories, which brought laughter and tears to the crowd. The granddaughters also wanted to say something about their grandparents.
As the guests departed, the granddaughters passed out “swan” party favors.