Dolores Orsi

Dolores Orsi
Provided Photo
Dolores Orsi

January 23, 1939 – August 23, 2021

Dolores Dianne Orsi, née Cottle, died peacefully in her sleep at a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, early in the morning on August 23, 2021, after a brief illness. She was 82.

Dolores was born in Los Angeles to Elmer and Ogda Cottle in 1939, the third of three daughters after Teresa and Marilyn. She grew up in West Los Angeles and graduated from Hamilton High School in 1957 before attending Occidental College, where she completed degrees in English and education. Afterward she taught elementary school in Los Angeles for five years.

Dolores met her future husband, Richard Orsi, while the two were at Occidental. They wed in 1966 and moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where she continued her teaching career.

The couple returned to California three years later and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, which they would call home for more than 40 years. The couple’s two sons, Jared and Peter, were born there and raised at their longtime house in the East Bay city of Fremont.

Dolores earned a master’s degree in education and a reading credential from California State University, Hayward, in 1975, specializing in children’s literature — a lifelong passion of hers. In 1979 she began a 21-year run at Searles Elementary in neighboring Union City, teaching first, second, and third grade classrooms before finishing her career as the school’s reading specialist. She was beloved by students and parents and esteemed by colleagues. Even after retiring in 2000, she and colleague Sue Hunt continued to conduct a reading clinic at the school for seven years.

Dolores loved to read and was an avid writer. She penned short stories, letters published in newspapers and notes to friends and colleagues that showcased her creativity and wit. In the late 1980s, she persuaded her father to write his memoirs and served as an editor of the delightful, often cheeky volume that was self-published and distributed among the extended family.

For decades Dolores and Richard could be seen walking nearly every day around the Glenmoor neighborhood in Fremont or at Coyote Hills Regional Park along the shores of San Francisco Bay. She enjoyed travel, especially trips to relax at their cabin in Truckee, California, where she was fond of walks through the pine forest and starry evenings on the back deck.

They moved in 2013 to Fort Collins, where she enjoyed attending her granddaughter’s cross-country and track meets and her grandson’s baseball games and tennis matches. Even though Dolores and Richard continued to spend six months of the year back in Truckee, they made dear friendships with neighbors in their close community in Fort Collins.

Dolores is survived by her husband, Richard; her sons, Peter and Jared; her daughter-in-law, Becky; her grandchildren, Rain and CJ; her sister Marilyn; and her many loving nieces and nephews.

A private service for family and friends is being planned for later. Anyone wishing to do so may make donations in Dolores’ name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Habitat for Humanity.

Please visit to share condolences.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.