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Sunday, May 14, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Through An Era Of Tough Times, Dorothy Potts `Made Life Good'

It was the Depression era, in a time when Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was but timber, dirt and dust.

Then the house where Dorothy Gilmore Potts raised her large family still stood, instead of the area where planes now turn to take off.

Times were simple yet tough, and Mrs. Potts tried to make things a little easier for anyone who landed on her doorstep.

"Life wasn't easy," said Mrs. Potts' third child of eight, Arthur Higman of SeaTac. "But she made life good."

Mrs. Potts died May 9 of natural causes. She was 93.

"When some kid couldn't hang his hat up anywhere else, our home was a place he could do it," Higman said.

And when someone came up to their house from the gravel road with something to sell, Higman said his mother "always arranged to buy something to help them out. She couldn't turn any poor soul down."

Said Higman, "My father had to work two jobs to keep up with her."

Mrs. Potts' sixth child, Joan Snell of Bonney Lake, had other examples of her mother's open kindness.

When the family lived in Kent by some railroad tracks, Snell said her mother "had hobos sit in the front lawn and give them plates of sandwiches."

Then during World War II, their home was like the United Service Organization. Mrs. Potts would have hot meals for servicemen and a place for them to stay.

As much as she was a homemaker, Mrs. Potts was a jack-of-all-trades who, according to her son, perhaps was one of the first female state-forest park rangers. She was a ranger at Manchester State Park and on Bainbridge Island in the late 1950s and early '60s, Higman said, adding that she always enjoyed nature and the outdoors.

Born in Minneapolis, Mrs. Potts grew up near what is now Sea-Tac. She graduated from Seattle's Franklin High School.

Her other survivors include her children, Vern Higman of Anchorage, Jean Silver of West Seattle, Marcella Martin of Auburn, Gordon Higman of Allyn, Mason County, and Dale and Gary Higman, both of Burien; two brothers, Bob Wilcox of Port Orchard and Don Wilcox of Des Moines; a sister, Carol Richard of Sunnydale; and 48 grandchildren, 50 great grandchildren and seven great great grandchildren.

Services have been held. Remembrances may be made to one's charity of choice.

Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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