50-Year Falls Church Resident Dorothy H. Wurz Dies at Age 92

September 3, 2014 10:50 PM0 comments

Dorothy Louise Hastings Wurz, 92, of Falls Church, passed away on Sunday, Apr. 27, 2014 at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville.

Born on April 11, 1922 in Chippewa Falls Wisconsin, Dorothy was the daughter of Arthur Chesebro Hastings and Louise Rasmussen Hastings and the sister of Delores Hastings.

Dorothy grew up in Wisconsin and graduated from Hortonville High School and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, from which she received the Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement in 1985.

During World War II, Dorothy moved to Washington, D.C. to continue her studies at American University and George Washington University (GWU). While at GWU, Dorothy played clarinet in the university band, was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority and enjoyed the performing arts.

It was there that she met her husband, Nelson Wurz, a theatre major, whom she met in a stagecraft course he was teaching. They got married in 1949. After college, Dorothy was the first woman physicist to be hired in the radiation department at the National Institutes of Health.

Later, Dorothy joined her husband’s custom drapery and upholstery firm, Nelson Beck of Washington, as the executive vice president and secretary-treasurer. Nelson Beck was known for upscale projects and high design.

Their work and reputation won them many awards and prestigious contracts including the design and fabrication of the elaborate gold damask draperies framing the windows of the Oval Office during the Clinton administration.

A busy working mother of four, Dorothy still found the time to be a cub scout den mother, an assistant camp fire girl leader and room mother for her children’s classes at Madison Elementary.

Dorothy was also active in many organizations including the Arts Club of Washington, the Victorian Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames, Danish Club of Washington, American Scandinavian Association and the French Heritage Society.

She enjoyed genealogical research and was well known for her “Hastings’ Tours” traveling the world to places such as Egypt, Scandinavia, England, Russia, Puerto Rico, Italy and France as well as all over the United States.

Dorothy also was passionate about cooking and often shared that love with those who visited her home. She welcomed all visitors and made them feel like a member of the family.

Dorothy will be missed by all who knew her – especially her children, who will always cherish their mom for the color and joy she brought to their lives.

She’s survived by her sons, Gregory Wurz of Recklinghausen, Germany and William Wurz of San Francisco, her daughters, Judith Rowe (James) of Charlottesville and Barbara Griffiths of Blacksburg; and her grandchildren James III and Thomas Rowe, Krista and Kimberly Griffiths, and Everett Wurz.

Dorothy was predeceased by her husband, Nelson H. Wurz, her sister, Delores H. Cavallo and son-in-law, Richard Griffiths.

Dorothy’s memorial service and funeral was held at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, Aug. 18.

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