A local family is seeking help from the community after the sudden and unexpected death of an Ocean View woman last month.
Dorthea “Dottie” Siebert, an Ocean View resident, passed away at the age of 54 on Oct. 21, leaving behind an extended family including her parents, Edward and Maryjane Capp, and her children and grandchildren, Catrina Siebert, Megan McNeely, Stacy Siebert, Victor Greenwalt, Kaela Siebert, Ji’yehr Turnage and Isabelle McNeely.
“We’ve been talking a lot about her and her memory… She was very popular with our friends. Everyone always called her ‘Miss D.’ They wanted to hang out with her, just as much with us,” said Megan McNeely, one of Siebert’s daughters.
Siebert was active in Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church, teaching Sunday school for the fourth- and fifth-graders, and led the kids’ church.
McNeely said that, due to a hernia surgery her mother had five years ago, her liver suffered scarring.
“She recovered well from that, but we didn’t realize how much damage had been done. After that, her liver was running at a smaller capacity.”
Then, on the morning of Oct. 11, after feeling ill for two days, Siebert went to Beebe Medical Center, where she learned her liver was failing.
“What happens when the liver starts failing is that it starts taking other things with it. So her kidneys started to have issues, as well,” explained McNeely.
Three days later, Siebert was airlifted to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, placed on transplant lists and began dialysis.
“It was a very quick-moving progression of things that happened. We were very hopeful that she would get a transplant in time but, unfortunately, we just didn’t get one.”
McNeely said the quick progression of her mother’s illness was a “rollercoaster.”
“It happened very suddenly… She went in on the 11th and passed on Tuesday the 21st… Within the span of 10 days, we went from having a healthy mom to not having a mom.
“The worst part about it is, after going through that rollercoaster, the first thing that comes up is the funeral costs, and the children she still has and all those future things you hadn’t been thinking of.”
Following the passing of their mother, Siebert’s children created a Give Forward fundraising page, with the hopes of raising $30,000 to help pay for funeral costs, as well as helping support her young children.
“One of the goals of the fundraising — initially, we started looking at medical costs, but as it switched to her passing, we were looking more to something that would help,” explained McNeely. “We want to make sure the children have positive memories.”
So far, the family has received $3,520 in donations.
“Mariner’s Bethel has been beyond generous. They’ve cooked meals for the family. A parish member donated her plot for the funeral. They’ve been super-generous,” said McNeely. “We’ve definitely had an outpouring of generosity.”
In remembering her mother, McNeely said Siebert loved music, dancing and gardening.
“She wasn’t fussy. She was simple. She’d take us to the beach with just a towel and nothing else, and we would still have a blast. We would take simple trips but she would make them exciting and fun, so we would never really notice that we weren’t going to Disney World or those types of places.
“She loved being home. She was amazing at cooking — she was a vegetarian but made the best chicken soup in the world. She wouldn’t eat it, but she would make it,” said McNeely with a laugh. “She definitely instilled in us hard work.”
McNeely said that her mother was a single mom in the early part of raising her eldest three children and instilled in them the importance of hard work and time spent with family.
“Giving back was big. She was always — even though we didn’t have a ton — she’d still have our friends over and their family over, or send out meals, loan people money if they needed it. After her passing, I learned that she did even more than I had ever really realized. She gave and gave, regardless of her own personal position was.”
Over the holiday season, McNeely said, the family hopes to take Siebert’s youngest children to Ocean City’s Winterfest of Lights, and other holiday happenings, just as she would have done.
“The worst part is knowing the kids won’t get to experience those things… All those experiences, they’re going to miss out on,” she said. “We’re all a family unit… We’re working on finding a new normal, whatever that might be.”
To donate to the fund, visit www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/6n76/the-dottie-siebert-memorial-fund?utm.... Donations may also be made to the Dorothea Siebert Memorial Fund by visiting any Wells Fargo branch.