Dorothy S. Washburn – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force

Dorothy S. Washburn, a retired United States Air Force procurement officer and civic leader, died Sunday, October 15, 1995 after a brief illness. She was 86 and lived in Center City. Began a 32-year government career during World War II as a clerk-typist at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Three decades later she was an Air Force Reserve Lieutenant Colonel and a civilian procurement officer inspecting billon-dollar contracts.

She held positions in logistics, procurement, contract administration and budgeting and accounting. At one time she served an 18-month tour in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy in Washington, D.C. doing civilian management work.

During her military career, she received four outstanding performance awards from the Army and five from the Air Force. She also received medals for meritorious civilian service from both the Army and Air Force.

During her military career, Washburn had been an officer in the SPARS, the former women's unit of the Coast Guard, then served as a logistics research specialist with the Army Signal Supply Agency in Philadelphia where she worked on the night vision technology that saw extensive use in the Gulf War. She was an Air Force Reserve procurement and production staff officer. When she was mandatorily retired by the military, Washburn was requested by the government to return to her same position as a civilian. She remained on that job until she retired in 1976. In those early years, she often found herself the only female member of various teams and staffs.

Her late husband was Chief Warrant Officer John R. Washburn, a pioneer in Naval aviation, who encouraged her throughout her career. Chief Washburn, who died in 1961 after 40 years of Naval service, had helped establish training courses for the early fliers who laid the groundwork for the carrier-based planes.

A native of West Philadelphia, Dorothy Washburn graduated from William Penn High School and received a bachelor of science and MBA in business administration from Temple University.

Washburn was active in various civic organizations. She served on the board of the Philadelphia League of Women Voters and was former executive vice president of the League's Southeastern Pennsylvania Region. She would devote at least 20 hours a week to volunteer work and was chair of the Legislative Committee and the board of the Coalition Advocates for the Rights of the Infirm Elderly.

Washburn was active with fund-raising for the Magee Rehabilitation Center and served on Mayor Rendell's City Recycling Advisory Committee. She was a member of Temple University's Board of Managers and served on the school's Board of the General Alumni Association. An accomplished writer, Washburn wrote for numerous national publications. She is listed in the Who's Who of American Women and 2,000 Women of International Achievement. She received the Anna Estes Strawbridge Award from the League of Women Voters for “exceptional dedication to community service and outstanding leadership.”

Washburn also received the Legion of Honor from the Chapel of the Four Chaplains.

Her survivors include two sisters. Services will be at 1 pm today at the Oliver H. Bair Funeral Home, 1920 Sansom St. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery.

Contributions may be made to Temple Univ, c/o the John Reed Washburn and Dorothy S. Washburn Memorial Fund, established by Dorothy Washburn to maintain a chair in marketing in the School of Business and Management.

John R. Washburn, Chief Warrant Officer, United States Navy.  Pioneer in Naval Aviation. He was the husband of Dorothy S. Washburn, and served in the United States Navy for 40 years, where he helped to establish training courses for early fliers and laid the groundwork for the carrier-based planes. Died: 1961

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