Doreen Davis Pandolfi left this life gracefully just as she lived. At age 98 on January 28,2022, she peacefully joined
her beloved Sam and loving family.
Dorene was a special light in this world, we feel an absence after her parting. There is also a sense of her joy as she
reunites with those who have passed on before her whom she greatly loved in this life. Her pleasant, quiet,
thoughtful manner blessed us all with a sense of calm and self-value. She lived a conservative life, where order and
discipline were observed. To know Dorene was to know what gracious reserve, yet ample love looked like.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Daniel Murray and Chloe Stringham Davis; her loving husband, Sam
Pandolfi; siblings, Murray, Kelly (Faynita), Chloe (George), Ross (Mary), Dent (Doris) and sister-in-law Rita Davis
(Steven’s spouse). She is survived by her youngest brother Steven and many nephews and nieces.
She was born December 6th, 1923, in Bountiful, Utah, the 5th child of seven who blessed her parent’s union.
Dorene was a friendly and kind child. She enjoyed the fellowship of many cousins who lived all around her family.
Dorene was her older brother Ross’ playmate of choice and is remembered by her siblings for her gentle kindness.
She was very intelligent and advanced a grade upon her entry into school. She experienced a serious infection
that required hospitalization during her childhood years. It was said that by a nurse at that time that she was not long
for this world, but Dorene certainly proved her otherwise. She was driven, quietly stubborn and had a will and mind
She graduated from Davis High School and soon thereafter went to work at Hillfield Airforce Base in Clearfield,
UT. She continued her work with the Military in San Francisco where she had a brief marriage to Harry Ray
Gillingham and later transferred to San Diego which became her home. Dorene worked a productive and successful
career as a secretary and controller for the military.
It was when she moved to San Diego to work at the Navy base that she met her sweetheart Sam Pandolfi, a supply
Sargent for the Navy. They later took a transfer to Glasgow, Montana. Upon fulfilling that assignment, they later
returned to La Mesa California in the early 1960’s to live out their days. Their home was their castle. Dorene saw
to it that her yard was always meticulously kept and whenever she made an improvement on the home it was always
done in superior quality. The love they shared was always felt when visiting them there. She had wonderful
neighbors whom she cared for very much.
The love of dogs was one of the joys of her life and joyous memories of her nephews and nieces. Mitzi, Duke,
Corey, Buddy, and Phoebe all lived like royalty in her care. They all meant so much to her and brought a happiness
into her home.
Dorene was not only loved by her parents and siblings, she was especially loved by her nephews and nieces. Unable
to have children of her own, she and Sam adopted every niece and nephew, all 20 of them and made each feel very
special! They all felt pretty cool that they had their very own Uncle Sam, the real kind! They each were made to
feel special and loved by Sam and Dorene. Visiting them was always a highlight when in Southern California.
Together they made special efforts to spoil the nieces and nephews. Trips to San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park and Old
Town, swimming at the beach, shopping in San Diego, fine dining at Anthony’s Fish Grotto and casual dinners at
Nicolosi’s for pizza were events they enjoyed sharing with the extended family.
Dorene loved and lived for golf. She became very good at it and enjoyed her associations through her involvement
in the sport. She even received an award for a Hole-In One! Many of her dearest friends were also golfers.
She was very patriotic and her career in the Navy was marked by many awards. Dorene served the community as a
Woman’s Auxiliary Hospital Board member and Volunteer for many years. Volunteering at events to support the
hospital was a true passion of Dorene’s. She also was life-long member of the San Diego Zoo Society and
contributor to many charities.
Minutes before she left us, she spoke to her brother Steven with great happiness and love flowing between them.
When he asked how she was feeling, her response was a very positive “I’m doing good”! Shortly, after the phone
call, Dorene peacefully left this world. This was the hallmark of the positive person she was and how she lived her
life. She truly was always “doing good” in so many ways.
Our heartfelt gratitude is expressed to her wonderful caregivers, Michelle Destiche, who spent many years by her
side providing with the quality of life and dignity she deserved. We love you, Michelle! We also express sincere
thanks to Rachel and other staff members at Stellar Care for their dedication in helping and supporting the residents.
They gave Dorene the watchful care in her final days.
A special thank you to Rodney, Joy and Greg as they facilitated the many Zoom calls helping Dorene stay connected
with her younger brother Steven. The tender loved shared between these two set an example for us all. We enjoyed
a wonderful 98th birthday celebration on Zoom this past December for her which we will always treasure.
A memorial service for Dorene is scheduled for Saturday February 12th, 2022, at 11:00 AM at Featheringill
Mortuary located at 6322 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92115. Burial service to follow at El Cajon Cemetery
located at 2080 Dehesa Road, El Cajon, CA 92019. A YOUTUBE live feed will be available at