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Patricia Dorn

Patricia Dorn, a Bay Area native and Army officer's wife who taught first grade for about 30 years at Bernard Eldredge Elementary School in Petaluma, died Dec. 22 in Humboldt County.

She was 82. The cause was complications due to a neurological disorder.

Dorn, described by her family as independent, strong-willed and bright, was known as a dedicated and demanding teacher at Bernard Eldredge, where she worked from the mid-1960s until the mid-1990s. The school closed in 2010.

She was quiet but strict, a colleague said, and she took pride in teaching generations of children how to read.

"Nobody crossed her," said Bea Gaffney, a fellow Bernard Eldredge teacher, now retired. "She expected the best from her students and she got it."

Born in Orinda to German immigrant parents, Patricia Tieche was raised in the East Bay and on the family's 2,000-acre timber ranch in Humboldt County, near Redway.

She was a tough outdoorswoman who was still hauling old logs out of streams in her 50s and hiking through the redwoods with her granddaughters years later.

"She was always active, always going," said her son, Robert Dorn of Eureka.

She graduated from Acalanes High School in Lafayette and attained her teaching credential from UC Berkeley, graduating in 1952.

She began her teaching career at Hydsville Elementary School in Humboldt County. She met her future husband, Army lieutenant Walter Dorn, when he was visiting the area.


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