Dorothy M. Bielski, 88, a former longtime Democratic committeewoman in Philadelphia's Andorra section, died Tuesday, May 6, of pneumonia at her home.
Born in Roxborough, Mrs. Bielski graduated from St. John's High School in Manayunk and married Walter Bielski in January 1953.
A few months later, the two bought a new home in rapidly growing Andorra. It was there, while raising three boys, that she began a 30-year involvement in Democratic politics, working with politicians such as former Mayor Frank L. Rizzo and former City Councilman Al Pearlman.
She served on the Democratic State Committee and was chief of constituent services for former City Councilwoman Ann Land, where she helped residents get help from government officials and programs.
Former 21st Ward leader and Municipal Court Judge Robert S. Blasi credited Mrs. Bielski with encouraging him to get into politics.
"I don't think I would be a judge today if it weren't for people like Dottie," he said.
Walter Bielski Jr., her oldest son, said his mother was a natural leader.
"Whenever she got involved in something, she always ended up running it," he said.
But she considered her primary job to be a wife and mother.
"She was a great advocate for her sons," Bielski said. "But if we were wrong, she could also be formidable."
Mrs. Bielski also was known for her baking skills. Everyone from family to her doctors looked forward to her cakes.
At one grandson's school, a teacher with a particular fondness for Mrs. Bielski's Jewish apple cake would wait outside before the school's annual fund-raising auction, so she could snag the cake before anyone else bought it.
Surviving in addition to her son are two other sons, Francis and Robert; a sister; and seven grandchildren. Her husband died earlier.
Services were Monday.