Dorothea Passios Markarian developed and implemented the original Child Life Service Program as the first Director.
Dottie, 83, of San Diego, California peacefully passed away on August 15.
She was born on June 9, 1930 in Fitchburg, daughter of Constantine and Constantina Kalivas Passios. She was predeceased by her husband Dr. Samuel Markarian in 2003. She leaves her sister Anne Ashare of Annapolis, MD, and is predeceased by her brother Thomas C. Passios, and three sisters, Alexander Ripperton, Olga Passios, and Athena Grant. She also leaves many nieces and nephews who affectionately refer to her as "Aunt Dottie."
She was a gold F graduate of Fitchburg High School class of 1948 and earned a master's degree from the University of Texas
in 1954 where she helped to develop and publish curriculum for children with Cerebral Palsy.
After teaching for 16 years, she was recruited in 1970 to be part of the new Earl and Lorraine Miller Children's Hospital as the first Director of Child Life Services. She instilled a sense of pride in her work, respect from the professional community, and a strong sense of advocacy for children and their families. At the heart of child life work, she challenged her staff with the daily normalizing of the hospital environment through, music therapy, pet therapy, medical preparation, and the Giggles show.
She was honored by one of her colleagues who said, "I check my hem, my shoes, and my smile every day for the image I create by the first impression I make with children and their families. For this I have Dottie to thank."
Many were greatly influenced by the brand of professionalism that she created, and in her legacy, the Child Life Department has grown to over 30 people consisting of specialists, teachers, music therapists, and PFCC professionals. Due to the department structure and reporting mechanisms, which Dorothea helped to initiate, The Child Life Service Program has now been nationally recognized for over 40 years.
Dorothea's career path was not only a profession; it was led by her compassion for children. She had a very special place in her heart for all young people including those who were terminally ill and had special needs. She would always stop what she was doing and give her utmost respect and attention when they entered a room.
Throughout her whole life, she enjoyed reading, teaching, and spending time with them. After her retirement in 1986, she continued to help with many children's causes including Make A Wish Foundation and tutoring children.
She loved fashion and was always polished and impeccably dressed with just a touch of sparkle to make it fun.
She enjoyed reminiscing about her high school days and her participation in many activities including basketball, drama, volleyball, and cheerleading. She fondly would recall her early years going to Greek School and loved teaching her great niece Bonnie and great nephews, Nick, Jake, and Zack Passios Greek words (mostly manners), which they can continue to recite.
Her love and pride in her family was evident in the amount of pictures she had beautifully displayed for all to see. Her giving nature and sense of humor endeared her to many co-workers, friends, family, and neighbors. She will be greatly missed by everyone whose life she touched.
A private memorial will be held by the family.
Donations can be made in memory of Dorothea Markarian to: Memorial Medical Center Foundation
Attn: Miller Children's Hospital Child Life Department,
2801 Atlantic Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90806