Made With Love

Beaufort woman counts her blessings — including the one that is Elvis Presley

Dorothy Willis of Beaufort is a woman of many talents.
Dorothy Willis of Beaufort is a woman of many talents. Submitted

Ask Dorothy Willis to count her blessings and she will wonder where she to begin.

She is a woman of many talents, and someone who loves to give.

Willis’ family is from Memphis. One of her blessings is having been around Elvis Presley at the beginning of his career. He was all over the city. At one point, Elvis had parked his motorcycle next to her daddy. All her daddy had was a photo of Dorothy, and asked Elvis to autographed the back. He complied. Somehow that photo ended up in the possession of her sister Gloria and was never returned to Dorothy.

Dorothy and Gloria are just two years apart. Gloria Claudette was named after their daddy while Dorothy was named after her mother. As the girls grew up, family members said each took on the characteristic of the parent opposite of the one for which they were named.

When Dorothy was 17 and Gloria 15, a family meeting was called to announce that an addition to the family was on the way.

“Can you imagine?” Dorothy said, “here Gloria and I are teenagers and a baby is coming to the house.”

Certainly there were many arms to hold Lin, their new sister. Lin’s arrival changed the makeup of the family and added more love than they ever could have imagined.

Dorothy married a Marine, and Beaufort became home. Her sisters love to come to visit her and she loves to have them around. Being the oldest, being in charge came naturally.

After her first husband died, Dorothy did not see herself getting married a second time. But then she found Wayne Willis. It is a neat story how they met.

It all began one night as she was leaving church, and this gentleman spoke to her. She and her son, who was home from college, were together. After her son sized up his mother’s suitor, he approved of the relationship. Thus, Wayne and Dorothy Willis have been a pair for 34 years.

“He’s a wonderful, caring man who helps me in all the things I get myself into.”

The two love to travel. They have four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, who live close enough for them to visit often.

Professionally, Dorothy has worked as an administrative assistant for Doctors Pearson and Roempke. She loves being a servant for God and she has never considered her jobs as work. For 11 years, she served Savannah River Baptist Association as ministry assistant.

She is also a talented singer. One can see her perform with the Beaufort Belles and the Lowcountry Chorale.

She loves tea and is at the helm of Takin’ Tea With God, a group of women who meet weekly to learn, pray and praise while enjoying tea and pastries.

Dorothy thanks God for being able to stay busy. She is a planner and a doer.

“I am thankful for so many things:my family, my friends. I am thankful to live in a beautiful town and just to drive over the bridges, go to beaches, walk among the tourists downtown and just smile at the beauty all around us.”

Dorothy loves to spend time in the kitchen as she prepares dishes from recipes she has collected. Today she shares a few from her recipe box.

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition.

Hot Fruit Compote

1 12-ounce package pitted prunes

1 6-ounce package dried apricots

1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling

1/2 cup cooking sherry

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place prunes and apricots in a 12- by 8- by 2-inch baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients, spoon over dried fruit. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Source: Erma Hiers

Granny Re’s Boiled Custard

1/2 gallon milk

5 eggs

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 can evaporated milk

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla flavoring

Scald milk. Mix eggs, sugar and flour. Add about 1 cup scalded milk to eggs mixture. Stir well. Add to rest pf scalded milk. Heat until just before it begins to boil. Stir constantly. This takes time, be patient. Strain, cool. Then add one can of chilled evaporated milk and vanilla flavoring.

Source: Etta Owens

Lin’s Chicken Rotel

4-5 chicken breasts

8 ounces spaghetti

1 pound Velveeta

1 can rotel

1 stick butter

1 can cream of chicken soup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil the chicken. Cook the spaghetti in the chicken broth. Melt the cheese and butter together, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Cut chicken to bite size. Mix all ingredients together. Pour into casserole dish. Cook for 15 minutes. This is excellent served with broccoli.

Source: Lin Fulcher Curtiss