Dorothy Werner
Dorothy Werner

Obituary of Dorothy Werner

Dorothy Werner, former resident of Lake Barcroft, in Falls Church VA, passed away January 8th at The Virginian Assisted Living in Fairfax VA. She was 99 years of age and just within two weeks of turning 100. Born on January 22, 1923 in Lexington Tennessee and raised in Jackson Tennessee, Dorothy  began her career as a photojournalist with the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, and later moved to New York and worked as a public relations executive in the New York fashion industry. While in New York she met her husband-to-be Merle Werner, a veteran foreign correspondent and U.S. Foreign Service officer, and they began a lengthy career of traveling the world with their two sons, residing in five foreign countries, Sweden, Austria, the Philippines, Taiwan, and South Korea. Dorothy loved the foreign service and she had a natural talent for the role of diplomat's wife.


After the Werner family relocated permanently back to Northern Virginia in 1969 Dorothy resumed her career in public relations in 1972 when she joined the staff of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (now known as NOVA Parks) Her achievements include publicizing the W&OD Trail and designing the trail brochure; the Bluebell Week at Bull Run Regional Park; and the opening of five regional swimming pools, including the Pohick Bay Pool and the Wave Pool and Cameron Run Regional Park. “Dorothy's respect for accuracy and dedication to telling the citizens of Northern Virginia about regional parks has shaped the Park Authority's public information policy,” said Darrell G. Winslow, the authority's former executive director. “I think of her as the grand dame of public relations, in the nicest sense of the word,” said Diane Bechtol, former head of media relations for the Alexandria Tourist Council. “As ladylike as she is,” said Bechtol, “she's also tenacious and has a wonderful, charming way of convincing reporters and editors and everybody else to cover her events, and to do what she would like for them to do – and she does it in the nicest, most professional and charming way.”


Outside of her career work, Dorothy's favorite pastimes included gardening and geneological research; but most of all she loved her time in the Lake Barcroft neighborhood, swimming in the lake and socializing with friends and neighbors in the community. She has left an enduring legacy in Lake Barcroft, serving in leadership roles with several organizations, including president of the women's club in 1995-1996.


Mrs. Werner is survived by her son Michael of Falls Church, son Douglas of Fremont CA, daughter-in-law Vicki and grandson Peter, also of Fremont CA: two nephews, Tad Heimburger and Jay Heimburger of Dallas TX.    

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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Advent Funeral and Cremation Services - Falls Church
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