Dorothy Frances Dolan Gerdes, 80, of Catawba, N.C., completed her life journey on Saturday, January 20, 2024, at Carolina Caring’s Sherrills Ford Hospice House. She passed away peacefully while surrounded by her family.

Dorothy was born in November of 1943 to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Dolan of Bogota, N.J., joining her big sister, Pat. As a teen, Dot worked as a waitress in a local restaurant. One of her customers introduced Dot to her brother George, who was home on leave from USMC Camp Lejeune. Dot’s favorite singer was Elvis Presley, and George very much resembled Elvis. It was love at first sight. Dot had already begun her lifelong collection of Elvis records and memorabilia, so by saying “yes” to marriage she added George to her collection!

After eloping, Dot went with her husband back to Camp Lejeune. During this period of service, their first son, George Jr., was born in 1965. When they left the service, they relocated back to Maywood, N.J. Here they welcomed their second son, Eddie, in 1967. Their next move, in 1968, was buying Dot’s childhood home in Bogota for their children’s future. In this home, the family was completed with the birth of two daughters, Debbie, in 1968, and Doreen, in 1973. In all these moves they met many friends who remained family of their hearts, and so their family grew each year with more and more “nieces and nephews” of the heart, as well as blood relatives.

Dot and George’s next move was in 1980 for an employment opportunity in Winston, N.C. As a family, they loved trailer camping on weekends at Lake Norman near Mooresville. They eventually grew to love the area so much they relocated to a home on the shores of Lake Norman in Sherrills Ford. For years, Dot and George hosted many of their friends and relatives from all over the country at their home on Lake Norman, including many new friends in Winston and in Catawba County. Dot was an exceptional hostess. She loved to cook, and to prepare large meals for cookouts in their backyard. She organized the most fabulous cookouts and parties at the lake house, and instead of being exhausted by it all, she loved it and thrived.

Dot spent years working as a waitress at Boss Hog BBQ restaurant in Sherrills Ford, and was loved by all her customers for her exemplary service and bubbly personality. Dot loved to shop, and she loved to dress up in color matching clothing and shoes.

She cared lovingly for friends and neighbors in need. She was known by many names, including Dot, DeeDee, Dottie, Grandma, and Nana, and she was so very loved by all who were lucky enough to know her.

Dot was preceded in death by her parents; husband, George Gerdes Sr.; nephew, Michael Donovan; sisters-in-law, Loretta Gerdes Adams and Alice Gerdes Kirkpatrick; brother-in-law, Mike Donovan; and many friends.

Dorothy is survived by her children and their spouses, George and Candie of Clemmons, Eddie and Angela of Harmony, Debbie and Jeff of Catawba, and Doreen of Cherryville. Dot was also blessed with her grandchildren, Shane, Heather, Kassie, Brianna, Randy, Michael and Zackary; great grandchildren, Gavin, Bentley, Nicky, Shane Jr., Wyatt, Autumn, Max, Wynter, Lilith, Penelope, Thaddeus and Oakley; sister, Patricia Dolan Donovan; and brother-in-law, Robert Gerdes.

A celebration of her life will be held on Wednesday, January 24, 2024, from 6 until 8 p.m. at Bunch-Johnson Funeral Home, in Statesville.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations made in Dot’s memory to Carolina Caring’s Sherrills Ford Hospice House, 7473 Sherrills Ford Road, Sherrills Ford, NC 28673, or online at

Bunch-Johnson Funeral Home is serving the family.