Dorothy Marshall Hirzel Akell, age 97, a lifelong resident of the Wilmington area, died on January 3rd, 2020 at WillowBrooke Court at Country House in Wilmington.
Daughter of Matthew and Mabel Marshall, Dottie was a 1940 graduate of P.S. duPont High School. She continued her education at the Delaware Hospital School of Nursing graduating with an RN degree in 1943. Dottie began her long and distinguished nursing career working at Delaware Hospital (now Christiana Care’s Wilmington Hospital), on the maternity ward, in various specialties and also as a private duty nurse. She often remarked that she wheeled the first patient into the newly expanded Hospital. Her graduating class installed the mural currently visible on Washington Street - “Enter to learn, go forth to serve”. After leaving the hospital, she assisted Dr. Fred Cressman to establish a primary care office on Concord Pike. Later, Dottie worked for more than 24 years as the office nurse in the practice of Dr. Forrest Hawkins, a Foulk Road pediatrician, retiring in 1986. Throughout her full-time nursing career, she was a dedicated Wife and Mother, raising her children on Amhurst Road in Fairfax while also caring for many family members and friends through injuries and illness.
Dottie lived in New Orleans and San Francisco during World War II as an Army wife. She enjoyed travelling to Great Britain and Europe with her husband, and Brother Thomas Marshall and his wife Beatrice to visit her parent’s family. She enjoyed dancing, wearing the latest fashions, the Delaware beaches, gardening, building miniatures, doll collecting, and was an avid QVC shopper. She also travelled extensively with her second husband Robert Akell, to Asia, Australia and New Zealand. She was a member of the American Legion, involved in the sisterhood of Beth Emeth, the Red Hat Society and served as President of the VFW in Bellefonte, Delaware.
Dottie was preceded in death in 1981 by her brother Thomas Marshall, in 1985 by her first husband, Lt. Colonel Samuel Taylor Hirzel. She married Robert B. Akell in 1988 who predeceased her in 1998. Dottie is survived by three children: Lynn H. Wrightson (Ronald) of Ann Arbor Michigan, H. Herbert Hirzel, III and Cheryl H. Heiks (Jack); three step-children: Paul Akell (Linda), Sandra Seidel and June Akell; eight grandchildren: Christy Lynn Volmering, Jeffrey M. Wrightson, Samuel Taylor Hirzel, II, Joseph F. Hirzel, Adam M. Hirzel, Haley H. Hirzel, Brittany Taylor Peterson and Elizabeth Keen Heiks; four step-grandchildren: Joshua Akell, Amy Akell, David McVey and Sharon Hart; five great-grandchildren; and four step-great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be held at 11:00 -12:00 on Saturday, February 8th, at the McCrery & Harra Funeral Home, 3924 Concord Pike, with a brief service to follow at 12 noon. Interment will be held privately at Grace Episcopal Church Cemetery. Her generous spirit and playful nature made her fun to be around and she will be greatly missed by her family and friends. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests sending a contribution to Faithful Friends (12 Germay Dr., Wilmington, DE 19804)or Delaware Humane Association (701 A St, Wilmington, DE 19801), as Dottie was a lifelong animal lover. Messages of condolence may be sent to www.mccreryandharra.com