The world has lost a truly good person with the passing of Dolores Hurtado, née Dolores Krchmarek. Dolores was a devoted mother and grandmother, lover of words, music, art and nature, and a passionate and energetic political and social activist. She was also a loving and supportive friend to many.
In the words of longtime Portland artist George Johanson, who along with his wife Phyllis was a great friend of Dolores for over 60 years,"She was such an intelligent and caring person. And she took the time and used her energies to put her ideals into practice. Her life and efforts made a difference in this world... She was one of the really good people... [she] had many great qualities. She was one of those who are the salt of the earth."
Dolores grew up as an only child in a working class family in Cleveland, Ohio where she excelled scholastically and developed her lifelong love of words (reading, writing, editing, crossword puzzles and Scrabble). She earned a scholarship to Oberlin College where she met her future husband Arnold Hurtado. After graduating from Oberlin, she moved with Arnold to Boston where she earned a masters degree in social work.
Dolores and Arnold chose Lake Oswego as their home in the late 1950s. While Arnold practiced medicine with Kaiser Permanente, Dolores devoted her time and energy to numerous political campaigns and social causes. She was codirector of the Eugene McCarthy campaign in Oregon in 1968 and attended the notoriously "tense and confrontational" Democratic convention in Chicago that year. In the 1970s, she was a co-chair of the Oregon Chapter of Common Cause. She was an anti-nuclear power and anti-war activist and later focused her energy on anti-WTO activities. She used her exceptional organizational skills to help numerous political candidates get their starts in the Oregon House and Senate. She continued her activism into her 80s when she spearheaded a successful campaign to block the City of Tualatin from running a highway through the local park.
Dolores moved from activism to employment in the 1970s, starting out in support level jobs and ending her career as president of Portland Energy Conservation Inc., a non-profit that pioneered energy conservation in Oregon.
Family was also very important to Dolores. She was a loving mother who encouraged her children's interests and supported their growth throughout her life. She loved getting the family together for celebrations at her house and continued to do so well into her 80s.
She was an adoring grandmother who cherished spending time with her grandchildren. She was incredibly supportive of them, attending numerous concerts, sporting events and school activities. She spent endless hours playing Monopoly and other games during sleepovers.
She also enjoyed spending time with friends at book groups, dinners out and evenings at the symphony. Many friends looked forward to her joyous annual Christmas caroling party.
Dolores was passionate about Oregon and never got over its incredible beauty. She loved hiking, camping, cross country skiing and just being outside in Oregon's lush greenery.
After a hip fracture at age 88, Dolores had a gradual decline of mind and body. Despite her losses, she maintained many of her wonderful traits and was a pleasure to visit.
She is survived by her three children, Joel Hurtado (Nadine), Laurie Hurtado Vessely (Andy), and Jason Hurtado Daniels (Jennifer) and her seven grandchildren, Russell and Sierra Hurtado, Ben and Chris Vessely, and Eleanor, Thaddeus, and Theodore Daniels.
Dolores Hurtado exemplifies a life well lived. Her dedication to family, friends and the broader community has created a legacy that will continue for generations.
Please consider making a donation in her honor to the Southern Poverty Law Center.