■ BY SUE ERWIN
Dorsey Dumas has lived in many places and has visited Boca Grande for the past 30 years. Two years ago she decided to make this area her permanent home. She was born in Bedford, New York but recalls mostly growing up in the Pittsburgh area until she was 15.
“I have moved around a lot, I’ve lived in several places. For whatever reasons, life just landed me in different areas at different times of my life. I’ve lived in Portland, Oregon for a little while, but I didn’t like that area so much. And then I was in Boston for a long time. I have also lived in Wyoming. And then I met someone who invited me to go to South America for a few months so I did that as well,” she said.
Dorsey recalls one day when she was living in Wyoming she had to call in to work to her boss that she wouldn’t be in due to the buffalo blocking the way to her car. “We lived right in their migratory path from winter to spring grazing,” she laughed and said. She also traveled to Tanzania in 2009.
Dorsey is a Licensed Real Estate Assistant for Carol Stewart at Michael Saunders on the island. She has held the position for nearly three months. She said when she heard about the job vacancy, she jumped at the chance and called right away to inquire about it. “Since my mom lives here I thought it would be a great opportunity to both work on the island and spend more time with her,” she said. “I have a real estate background but it’s been a while; I haven’t worked in the field since my late twenties. I did real estate rentals when I lived in Boston.”
Before that she worked in the sales field in Pennsylvania for a while. “It’s been several years and there has been a lot of relearning – Florida real estate laws are very different from anywhere else I have worked,” Dorsey said. “Boca Grande is a great place to work, I love the people … there are a lot of interesting characters here.”
Dorsey earned a master’s degree in teaching from Boston Simmons College and she was a teacher’s aide for a while before getting her real estate license. “I started out doing rentals. I just wasn’t making enough money teaching and Boston is an incredibly expensive place to live. And then I started getting so busy with the rental property business that I just decided to focus on that since it paid pretty well,” she said. “I enjoyed teaching, but I had to make more money. I really enjoyed doing rentals in Boston – it was so high-paced and the real estate rental business is something totally different from sales. And being able to work with the students in Boston was very exciting. It was really fun.”
After Boston, Dorsey moved to Baltimore and lived there for 11 years. “It’s a great city, I really love that town,” she said. Dorsey met her husband, Tim, when she was down here visiting her mom. Her mother, Lily Euwer, and stepdad Chico, have been living in Boca Grande for the past 30 years.
“I have been coming to Boca since my mom moved here, whether it is to vacation or just spend some time with my mom,” she said. “I was newly divorced and my mom decided to throw a little party and invite all the single men she knew on the island and Tim was one of them – he was bachelor number four,” Dorsey laughed and said with a smile. “So that’s how we met – in 2012 at my mom’s party.”
It was a whirlwind romance with Dorsey back in Baltimore and Tim living down here. The couple went back and forth dating each other for a little while. “I knew one day I would end up living down here. I knew because I wanted to be near my mom. Then it just happened – just much sooner than I had thought. So I decided to take the plunge and become a Floridian in 2013.” Dorsey and Tim got engaged and then married and she sold her house in Baltimore. “We bought a house in Venice and we are very happy living there,” she said. “Tim works in Sarasota, so it’s a good middle place for both our work commutes.” Dorsey said she loves living in Florida. “I love all the creatures and the wildlife, the Florida fauna, the tropical feeing – I love all of it.”
Dorsey also has worked in the non-profit field for a while, holding positions with the Baltimore Community Foundation for six years and then eventually for the Sarasota Community Foundation most recently. “It started out as a temporary job and then the events person quit suddenly, so I became their event coordinator and I did that for while,” she said.
Dorsey’s husband Tim works in Sarasota for Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor. While Dorsey admits to enjoying a sense of adventure in the past, she is the first to say that she is happy to be settled down and grounded now in southwest Florida. “I’ve grown up and I am domesticated now,” she said.
When she is not working, Dorsey and Tim enjoy playing tennis several times each week. They are both very competitive players, and Dorsey said Tim is a fantastic player who has definitely improved her game. “Tim is a great tennis player, so he has really made me a better player over the last year,” she said. “We play at Courtside Tennis Club in Venice after work fairly regular and on the weekends.”
Dorsey also dabbles in painting. An avid animal lover, she enjoys going on hikes with her dog, a mutt rescue named Scruffy. She also has a cat named George. Both animals were rescued from the Baltimore City Animal Shelter and relocated with her to Florida. “They love it here. My dog hated the snow, and they both love to chase the lizards. We like to go to Oscar Scherer State Park and explore,” she said. Dorsey likes to cook, but she said Tim is a great cook and she enjoys watching him create concoctions in the kitchen. “But I like to experiment with a variety of dishes as well, especially different kinds of healthy foods right now. I also make a killer grilled cheese sandwich. I use my stepfather’s special recipe and it’s really excellent,” she said.
Dorsey and Tim are also competitive ping pong players and avid backgammon players. “I almost always win when we play ping pong and backgammon … it’s an ongoing battle and he owes me money,” she quipped.
Adding to her hobbies, Dorsey also likes the game of bridge. “I love playing all kinds of cards and bridge is a great game. My mom and I play together whenever we can. People often think of it as an ‘old person’s game’ and there is a kind of stigma attached, but actually it’s a fascinating game for all ages.” Dorsey said she is happy to be working on the island because she gets to see her mom more. “We get together all the time now, so this has been a really great move for me,” she said.
Dorsey and Tim enjoy traveling and took a delayed honeymoon in Mexico last year. “We go to Louisiana a lot for LSU games, which is Tim’s alma mater and his daughter, Ariane, also attended the university. She is now attending Harvard University.” Dorsey’s stepson, Brett, plays varsity football for Plant High School in Tampa and is an “A” student in school. “I am very lucky to have such wonderful step-kids, I love them both very much,” Dorsey said. “Brett is a great kid and Ariane is loving Harvard – even though she hasn’t experienced a winter up north yet!”