Cover photo for Dorothy 'Dottie' Louise (Spieker) Updegrave's Obituary

Dorothy 'Dottie' Louise (Spieker) Updegrave

February 1, 1933 — February 16, 2024

Dorothy 'Dottie' Louise (Spieker) Updegrave, 91, of St. Lawrence, PA, passed away Friday, February 16, 2024, in her home of 58 years, that she shared with her son Craig, with her loving children by her side. She is reunited in God's kingdom with her beloved brother, George, her parents, and her husband, Walter Charles Updegrave, as well as her dear friend Adele and all those that loved her and whom she loved, who passed before.

Dottie was born on February 1, 1933, at home in Emmaus, PA, to her loving Mother, Marian Stager Spieker and her beloved father, Rev. Paul F. Spieker. She grew up in the parsonage of St. John's Lutheran Church, Emmaus, where her father served as Pastor for many years. She shared her home with her dear brother George, her Grandmother Ana, and her Aunt Carrie. Her mother Marian was a very good manager, running a tight ship in the parsonage on a Pastor's salary and volunteering in many aspects of church life. It was during these years that Dottie learned the importance of family, church, and civic duty.

Dottie had a happy childhood in Emmaus shared with many friends, particularly Adele, Jill, and Mary Ann. She enjoyed playing hide and seek with her brother and fondly remembered their dog Happy. Adele and Dottie were members of the DOE club that Adele formed. Dottie was always cute as a button and happy-go-lucky, moving at her own pace and playing by her own rules. During her elementary school years, she even charmed the janitor into waiting to ring the bell for school until he saw her coming down the alley.

Many summers, during WW II, they vacationed with Pastor Charles Fisher and his family at Ida Bond's in Kempton Township, staying virtually for free in exchange for doing repair work on the grounds. During better days, both families vacationed at the NJ shore. Dottie loved adventure. One evening, while at the shore, she decided to go for a swim at night without telling anyone. No harm was done, but Dottie always did things in her quiet way, on her own time, a trait that she highly valued her entire life.

The Updegrave-Fisher family also shared several vacations at Cape May Point. Dottie was happy to continue these family times and share family memories. Family was the most important thing to Dottie.

As a teenager, Dorothy spent her summers at Camp Hagan with her best friend Adele. First attending as a camper and later working there. She had very fond memories of Camp Hagan and would often sing camp songs: Up, Up and Away Junior Birdman was a favorite, which she passed down to her children, and later, her grandchildren.

Dorothy graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor's Degree in Education in 1955. There is a long family relationship with Kutztown as her Aunt Dorothy studied there, as well as her great nephew, Daniel. Her Great Grandfather Rev. George Frederick Spieker was called to the professorship of German when it was called the Keystone State Normal School where he remained from 1867-'8 after graduating from seminary school.

After graduation, Dottie and Adele celebrated by taking a driving trip out West in a Studebaker car. They shared many adventures, and she always remembered those times fondly. Armed with her degree in Education, she moved to Piscataway, NJ, to teach third grade for several years.

During that time, she had a Greek roommate, Mariane Demopolis, and remained friends for life. She loved working with the children, and they loved her. She was not enamored with the discipline aspect that teaching required.

In 1957, Dottie met Walter 'Walt' Updegrave, a young, handsome, and brilliant mechanical engineer working at Birdsboro Steel, and a recent graduate of Lehigh University. At work, Walt became buddies with Reed Fisher, a draftsman at Birdsboro, and son of the aforementioned Pastor Fisher - the same family Dottie's family vacationed with in her youth. One day, Walt went to visit Reed and spied Dottie in a family photo on their piano. He asked Reed, who is that pretty girl? Reed told him and the rest is history.

Walt and Dottie's first date was on February 16, 67 years to the day she passed. There certainly does seem to be a greater plan than we can imagine.

Dottie and Walt were married at St. John's Lutheran Church, Emmaus by her father, Pastor Paul Spieker. The reception was held at Walt's childhood home in Coopersburg. PA. Their first home was at Hidden Farm in Douglasville. This is where they started a family, welcoming their first child, Lynn, into the world. Soon to follow were Carol and Craig.

After a few years, they moved, settling permanently in St. Lawrence. Al Broslow, Walt's partner at Reading Techmatic, found two lots in the borough and they both built homes there. Walt designed their home and Irving Redcay built it. Dottie remained in their home, with her son Craig's constant care, until her death.

Dottie was a devoted wife, mother, daughter, sister and aunt. After marriage, she became a dedicated homemaker. She built an open-door, open-heart policy at 300 Adams St., welcoming all who knocked, and frequently preparing home-cooked meals for friends. She was also a lover of nature, in particular, animals, raising many cats, and rescuing and nursing birds, bunnies and chipmunks back to health before releasing them to the woods. She created a loving home for anyone who wanted to visit or who needed a place of peace.

Dottie was active playing tennis when her children were older. She had many friends at Hillcrest and participated in tournaments. She also enjoyed skiing with her friends, especially ladies' day Wednesdays at Doe Mountain. She got her 3 children involved in the sport through the Flying Dutchman junior program. Her friend, Vickie, of many years, has fond memories of tennis and skiing days. She also enjoyed many walks in the St. Lawrence woods with her family. She led an active lifestyle while she was able until advanced years slowed these ventures.

She was a longtime member of Schwarzwald Lutheran Church where she was devoted to many of the Women's activities, delivering flowers to shut-ins and helping with the communion clean up. She had beautiful handwriting and was often asked to help make the posters. She loved to support anyone in need.

Later in life, Dottie cherished spending time with her grandchildren, some of whom live nearby, and others far away. She shared many adventures with them, from summer evenings at the St. Lawrence playground, Hopewell Village and Daniel Boone Homestead visits, to trips to Florida, Peru and the Panama Canal with her grandchildren who lived abroad.

Dorothy is survived by her children; Lynn Gibson, Carol Updegrave, wife of Jose Ferreyros, and Craig Updegrave. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Miles, Graham, Austin, Enrique, Pepe, Carolina and Lila as well as many nieces and nephews who loved her dearly. Dorothy was predeceased by her brother Rev. George F. Spieker.

Service with family and friends will be held on Friday, March 29, 2024 at 11:00 am with visitation and reception following the service at Schwarzwald Lutheran Church, 250 Church Lane Road, Reading, PA, 19606. Interment will be held privately at Hope Cemetery, Kutztown, PA. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Emmaus Historical Society, 218 Main St., Emmaus, PA 18049 or the Animal Rescue League, 58 Kennel Rd, Birdsboro, PA 19508. Lutz Funeral Home, Inc. is in charge of arrangements. For online condolences, please visit

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dorothy 'Dottie' Louise (Spieker) Updegrave, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Friday, March 29, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Schwarzwald Lutheran Church

250 Church Lane Rd
Reading, PA 19606

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