Mrs. Dorothy Claire Fontaine Ferris, age 70 passed away Thursday, September 19, 2019 in Healthmark Regional Medical Center. She was born July 31, 1949 in West Warwick, Rhode Island the daughter of Joseph Francis Rosaire Fontaine and Diolinda Fernandes Fontaine. Dorothy was educated in West Warwick public schools and eventually ended up in a small Southeast Georgia town where she served as City Clerk. The town had a limited police force and Dorothy was sworn in as an officer to assist in the arrest and “patdown” of female prisoners. One evening, she and another female acquaintance drove to Albany to a popular nightspot for dining and dancing when she caught the eye of a handsome available member of the opposite sex. Dorothy, being half French and half Portuguese was light brown complected and at first glance appeared to be of Spanish or Mexican decent. The young man, knowing some Spanish walked over to her and speaking in Spanish asked if she would like to dance to which she quickly replied “I speak English”. Not to be outdone he leaned over and whispered in her ear, “I speak English too”. A budding romance ensued and three years later Dorothy and Russel were married. His mother and father had moved to DeFuniak Springs and after his father’s death, Russell and Dorothy moved to DeFuniak to help take care of Mrs. Ferris. Dorothy was a devout Roman Catholic and was known in the local church for bringing her World Class Portuguese Sweet Bread to many of the functions. She also began the Prayer Quilt Ministry locally in Saint Margaret and in Bonifay.
Among survivors are her husband, Russell Rollins Ferris, Sr., her son, Robert Ernest Patnaude, Jr. and her daughter Deborah Ann Patnaude Millwood and husband Raymond. Her grandson, Cody Dalton Taylor; her sister, Joan Williams and her brother-in-law Eugene Emory Ferris and wife Marcia.
Memorials may be made in Dorothy Ferris’ memory to the Art Education Fund, Walton County Art League, 80 Creekview Avenue, Freeport, Florida 32439. Funeral Mass will be held Friday, October 11, 2019 at 10:00 A.M. in Saint Margaret Catholic Church with Reverend Richard Dawson officiating.
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