Dorothy Weinstein (1908–2011)

By Sue Bridge

Dorothy Weinstein in April of 2008.

Dorothy Weinstein died quietly at the age of 102 at her home at 48 Temple St., where she had lived for 58 years.  Her two surviving sons, Arthur of Northridge, Calif., and Jordan of Arlington, her large extended family, many Beacon Hill neighbors and other well-wishers bid her farewell at services held on Friday, June 3.

Dorothy, her husband and sons moved to Temple Street from the old West End in 1953, back when demographically the north slope of Beacon Hill was more part of the West End than of the Hill.  Over the decades as the neighborhood gradually gentrified around her, Dorothy’s cosmopolitan intelligence and good-natured curiosity about her fellow man made her equally at home whomever she was talking to.

After her husband’s death and her sons moved away, Dorothy offered a home-away-from-home to guests from all corners of the world  — and all were welcome, whatever their race, faith or nationality.  Some who came to stay were tourists, and dozens upon dozens were medical students from abroad training at MGH.  Some stayed for a few nights or a few weeks, and many would return again and again.  Many became friends.

Although Dorothy left school after the eighth grade to help support her mother and eight brothers and sisters, it is fair to say that her education never ended.  She was a voracious reader and an ardent fan of PBS, where her favorite program in recent years was the “Charlie Rose Show.” Politics, especially international affairs, was a particular interest, yet one never knew when she might recite from memory a long poem she had learned as a girl.  She was proud of her diction, which was impeccable.

Because her son Arthur had served in the Peace Corps in Malawi over many years, Dorothy sent hundreds of boxes of clean, practical, used clothes to that impoverished country.  She was quick to enlist her Temple Street neighbors and many others for a steady supply.

Dorothy Weinstein was an original.  She managed her guesthouse business and her stock portfolio on her own until close to her 100th birthday.  Like many of her generation she was famously thrifty (she favored second-hand furniture and simple inexpensive clothes) and she could cite the price of a pound of onions from years back. She would buy a $1 ticket for the lottery at Jobi’s Liquor when she passed that way.  But she also wrote substantial checks for neighborhood causes when the occasion arose, and she was quietly generous to family and friends in need.

In recent years Dorothy had time to sit in the lovely little Temple Street park adjacent to her home, meeting and greeting old friends and strangers, young and old, alike, feeding the birds and reading Time Magazine.  From time to time the younger women of Temple Street would meet in Dorothy’s kitchen for an omelet and an evening of even-tempered wisdom, well-polished stories and camaraderie.

Dorothy was, as they say in Yiddish, a mensch  — a warm and complete human being. She will be remembered with affection and respect for a long, long time.

6 comments for “Dorothy Weinstein (1908–2011)

  1. Efl279
    June 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    There was no other like my Aunt Dot.  She was for sure a one of a kind person, and so honored that
    she was my Aunt.  I use to tell so many people about her and always said ” everyone should meet her
    at least once before they leave this earth”.  Every Sunday my sister Dove and I would get into the
    car with my parents and off to Boston we would go.  I feel so fortunate to have been so close to this
    amazing person.  I will miss you Aunt Dot com so very much.  RIP
    Love Elaine Leipf

  2. Rosesnpearls6565
    June 15, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Dorothy was the Best ! Most sweetest ,loving person I have ever known.She has taught me so much .I only wish we could of met many many years ago.Dorothy was loved by everyone.My friend Dorothy ,was and will continue to be in my heart forever,there is not a day that goes by I don’t think of her ,I find myself saying things she used to and humming her songs she sang ,so funny. Dorothy you are missed ,and never forgotten you are at peace ,we all will see you again one day .-Guyga zuant –
    Babcja, I loved you the first moment we met ,I miss you and love you with all my heart .You always were so polite Thanking me ,Dorothy ,as always no, I Thank You
    See Ya,
    Best,Rosalind xoxo

    • TW
      November 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm


  3. Hbrynes
    June 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I was blessed that Dorothy was my Aunt Dot.  I could not say it any more eloquently and I will certainly remember her with affection respect and the smile I always had in her presence. She was a true lady.

  4. Alice344
    June 29, 2011 at 4:20 am

    I was thinking of Dorothy today for some reason, googled her name and found this write up about her death.

    In the 1980s, my dad had cancer and Dorothy put up the whole family at her house while he did his procedures at Mass general.  For years later, me and my husband would drop in on her when we visited Boston from our home in Seattle.  She was truly gracious and I can’t believe her bedroom was atop all those stair in her beacon hill home. Truly a great woman and I was lucky to have known her.


  5. frank thomas
    August 13, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I was only 19 years old and living in Leominster with my family, who werer displaced from the West End of Boston….My Uncle Mike had a room on Temple Street and he convinced me to take a job at Mass general and a room in Mrs. Weinstein’s house….literally, living in her house with her and several other guests….$15 a week and I lived on Beacon Hill in the nicest place around and with the protection of Mrs Weinstein’s motherly ways….it was 1972, and Temple Street was all rooming houses and Suffolk classrooms…I met another tenant at Dorothy’s and we became fast friends. Shortly thereafter I met my future wife and mother of my 4 kids and now, I find this obituary, which brings me back to the beginning……she was a wonderful woman and I wish I knew that she was still there…I would have visited with my wife and kids and enjoyed her voice once again…..Frank Mazzarella, Leominster, MA

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