Cover photo for Sylvia “Doretta” Youngdahl's Obituary
Sylvia “Doretta” Youngdahl Profile Photo
1922 Doretta 2023

Sylvia “Doretta” Youngdahl

May 1, 1922 — December 23, 2023


Sylvia “Doretta” Youngdahl, a remarkable woman who will forever be remembered, passed away on December 23, 2023, in Pacifica, CA. Born on May 1, 1922, in Lake Preston, North Dakota, Doretta led a life full of compassion, hard work, and dedication to helping others. Her warm-hearted nature touched the lives of many, and her departure leaves behind cherished memories for her beloved family and friends.

From a young age, it was evident that Doretta possessed an unwavering work ethic. At the tender age of 11, she began spending her summers assisting her grandparents on their farm. As she grew older, her responsibilities expanded when at the age of 13, she played an integral role in taking care of her aunt's four infants. Even during her high school years at Central High School in Sioux City Iowa – where she graduated with honors in 1940 – Doretta continued to work diligently. She became an employee at the local 5 and 10 Cent store and later contributed to the war effort during World War II as a driver for the Air Force Civil Defense. From driving jeeps to maneuvering five-ton double clutch trucks, Doretta fearlessly took on every task that came her way.

Following the conclusion of the war, Doretta embarked on a career that exemplified her kind and caring nature. For seven years, she worked as a receptionist for the San Francisco Housing Authority before ultimately retiring in 1977 from the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). During her tenure at SFUSD, she made a profound impact by transcribing homework and tests into Braille for several high schools. Through this selfless act, Doretta paved the way for visually impaired students to receive an education with equal opportunities.

Outside of work, Doretta found joy in various hobbies and interests. She had a passion for socializing and spent countless hours at the senior center, where she would engage in spirited rounds of bingo and create lasting memories with her friends. Her warm and welcoming personality endeared her to many, and her infectious laughter brought happiness to those around her. Additionally, Doretta loved to travel, always eager to explore new destinations and forge connections with people from all walks of life.

Among Doretta's proudest accomplishments was her dedication to volunteer work. At Brooke Army Medical Center in Sioux City, Iowa, she selflessly offered her time to sit with children as they recovered from surgeries, providing comfort and solace during their vulnerable moments. Moreover, Doretta's involvement in the American Legion Post 238 Auxiliary in Pacifica, CA, stood as a testament to her commitment to serving others. As an elected officer for multiple terms – including three years as President – she worked tirelessly to support veterans and their families.

Doretta's compassionate spirit extended beyond these formal roles. For years, she collected clothing, toys, and household goods for residents at battered women's shelters, ensuring that they felt supported during challenging times. Each Easter, Doretta brightened the lives of children within these shelters by donating between 50-100 Easter baskets filled with joy and hope. She also generously provided school supplies and special treats for 14 disadvantaged children in Lake County aged between 6 months to 19 years old. These remarkable acts of kindness highlight Doretta’s boundless generosity and the immeasurable impact she had on countless lives.

Doretta's dedication to her family was unwavering. She shared many tender moments with her late husband Herb Youngdahl and grandsons Rolland Duke II and Chad Sadler.  She is survived by her son Dennis Youngdahl, grandson Denny Youngdahl - together with his wife Christine Youngdahl, and their children Izzy and Mikey, Her granddaughter Tammy Lyn and her 3 daughters. Her daughters Lyndia Doiron and Maria Elena Thomason. Grandson Robert Horwedel together with his wife Kim Presley, and their children Dakota, Brenden, Anthony, and Andrew. Doretta's love for her family was boundless, and she cherished every moment spent in their embrace.

As we bid farewell to Sylvia “Doretta” Youngdahl, let us remember her remarkable presence in our lives. May her memory serve as a reminder to live life with kindness, generosity, and a zest for making meaningful connections. Doretta's unwavering dedication to helping others has left an indelible mark on the hearts of those fortunate enough to have known her. Though she may have departed from this world, her legacy of compassion will continue to shine brightly and inspire generations to come.

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