Geraldine A. Dugas, 93, of Carlisle, PA, passed away on November 30, 2023, to the late John J. and Anna H. Sotkovsky. She was the widow of Michael E. Dugas III, who died in 2005.
Geraldine was a remarkable woman, a true trailblazer for her time. After graduating from high school in Struthers, Ohio, Geraldine ventured to New York City in 1950 to study fashion design. She worked secretarial and modeling jobs to earn income to pay rent and schooling. She eventually moved back home to Ohio but quickly became restless for more adventure. This was appeased by a subsequent move to Los Angeles. Here she worked as a secretary and model, declined an invitation to attend acting classes with coworker Cloris Leachman, visited Las Vegas in the early days of the Rat Pack, and had run-ins with Rock Hudson and Doris Day.
Geraldine returned once again to Ohio on the cusp of the modern computing era. She worked as a data entry clerk and taught herself Fortran programming. This was an unusual ability for a woman of that time. Unfortunately, her talents were hidden behind the names of the men for whom she worked in this and all future programming jobs. It was also during this time period that she was employed by a government contractor and received special clearance to access Hanger 18 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Not one to conform to gender restrictions, she had nearly completed the required flight hours for her pilot's license when she met and married the love of her life.
Although the excitement of her single days was over, Geraldine took on her role as wife and mother with gusto. She worked with her husband Mike to build a happy and healthy home for the four children they loved so much. Eventually she chose to return to the work force after their children were in school. Programming computers and designing and sewing clothing and home decor were maintained as both employment pursuits and personal hobbies.
Geraldine never stopped learning and growing. The family owned the very first home computers, gazed together at the stars to contemplate the universe, and discussed advances in technology. She supported medical research by participating in a ground-breaking cancer treatment trial in the 1970's, and she ultimately donated her body to science after her earthly use of it was finished.
Surviving are her loving children, Diana L. Dugas of Mechanicsburg, Kathleen G. Dugas of Mount Holly Springs, Tiffani (Steven G.) Price of Rock Hill, South Carolina, and Michael E. (Kyla) Dugas IV of Cabanatuan City, Philippines; ten amazing grandchildren who were loved uniquely for their individual talents and personalities; and siblings, Dolores Gabriel, and John J. Sotkovsky.
Geraldine has chosen the selfless act of donating her body to science. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to "Humanity Gifts Registry" and sent to: P.O. Box 835, Philadelphia, PA 19105-0835. Please make sure to include the name of the donor your donation is memorializing. Arrangements are being handled by Hollinger Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc.