Dorothy (Phillips) Garlock, 98, a resident of Clear Lake for more than 60 years, the author of 62 novels, and one of the greatest grandmothers who ever lived, passed away peacefully on Friday, April 6, 2018, at Oakwood Care Center, in Clear Lake.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 28, 2018, at Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 101 N. 4th St., Clear Lake, with Pastor Ed Bard officiating. Inurnment will be at Clear Lake Cemetery at a later date.
Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the funeral home in Clear Lake.
Family suggests memorial contributions to the Clear Lake Public Library.
Dorothy Phillips was born in Grand Saline, Texas, on June 22, 1919, the daughter of John Beecher and Nan (Carroll) Phillips. The family moved to Oklahoma City in 1921. As a young woman, she once turned down a date with Joe DiMaggio, who she found to be too ugly. A man she didn’t find ugly was Herb Garlock, who came to town in 1939 with his brother, Donald, to operate a roller skating rink. Dorothy and Herb were married on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1940, a date much appreciated by their children and grandchildren, since it made it much easier to remember their anniversary. When Herb enlisted in the U.S. Navy Seabee’s in 1943, Dorothy spent World War II working as the head night shift payroll clerk at the Douglas Aircraft Plant at Tinker Field, in Oklahoma City.
After the war’s end and Herb’s return, they welcomed their two children, Lindy and Herb Jr., then moved the family to Clear Lake in 1954. Herb owned and operated Herb’s Shell gas station, while Dorothy started working at the Mirror Reporter, first as a bookkeeper, then writing weddings and obituaries, and eventually had her own column, ‘My 2 Cents’. When Herb retired in 1977, they headed south to Texas for the winter. It was there, after an acute bout with boredom, that Dorothy’s love of writing would forever change their lives.
While working on a $50 manual typewriter that Herb bought for her at a second-hand store, Dorothy began to write a romance novel. She produced three manuscripts that friends and family thought were wonderful, but were rejected by publishers. After joining the National Romance Writers Association, she entered a contest for unpublished writers. Though she didn’t win a prize, Dorothy was eventually connected with an agent who sold her first book within a matter of weeks. All her other earlier manuscripts were soon sold as well. Over the next 40 years, she would see a total of 62 novels published, be a mainstay on the New York Times, USA Today and other best-seller lists, and win numerous awards. Named the ‘Voice of America’s Heartland,’ Dorothy would eventually sell more than 20 million copies of her books, which would be published in dozens of languages worldwide, and even as a comic book story in Japan. One of her greatest honors came when Amazon named her book, “With Hope,” one of the 25 Best Romance Novels of the Twentieth-Century, joining stories such as “Rebecca” and “Gone with the Wind” on the list. Fan letters came to her Clear Lake home from every state in the nation as well as from around the world. She traveled the country doing book signings, meeting thousands of her fans. Though everyone had their own favorite of her books, among Dorothy’s family, “Larkspur” attained special status – the word’s ‘READ LARKSPUR’ appeared on birthday cakes, in Christmas cards, and were even written in permanent marker on her grandson’s underwear (trust us, it’s a long story!).
When she wasn’t busy working at her keyboard, Dorothy loved to read, to entertain friends and family, to make chocolate shakes and hamburgers for “my idiot grandsons”, and was a daily crossword puzzle solver. She also loved to travel, whether it was back to Oklahoma to visit her sisters, or to far-flung parts of the world like England, France, the Soviet Union and Australia.
No matter what life threw at Dorothy, she faced it with humor, dignity and the occasional middle finger. Not even a stroke could slow her down, not for long. In her later years, she was always thankful for all the help she received and considered many of her caregivers to be like family. Lois Woiwood, Michelle Klein, Jodie McChesney, and Mary White, to name a few, all held a special place in her heart. She was also especially fond of her Hospice workers, as well as the staff at Oakwood Care Center and had special names for many of them.
Dorothy is survived by her daughter, Lindy (Mark) Lemon, of Mason City; son, Herb (Jacky) Garlock Jr., of Clear Lake; grandsons, Adam (Marion Duval) Mix of Wooster, Ohio and their children, Leo and Anais, Amos (Loraine) Mix, of Northwood and their sons, Jacob, Logan and Eli, and Alex (Ariane Balizet) Lemon of Ft. Worth, Texas and their children, Felix and Alma. She is also survived by her faithful, four-legged companion, Billy Bob, and nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Herb; her parents; sisters, Hazel Roberta (Joy) Wall, Mary Evelyn Bruza and Betty Catherine O’haver; and a brother, John Beecher Phillips.
Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, Clear Lake, was in charge of arrangements.