Dorothy Witherspoon

Obituary of Dorothy Karpel Witherspoon

Early morning on February 6, 2020, Dorothy K. Witherspoon passed away after over 83 years of life.  She was the loving daughter of the late John and Margaret Karpel, and wife of the late Lee Witherspoon.  She is survived by her four children - Jay (Teresa), Leanne (Joe McMahon), Paul (Ann), and Todd (Yishow), and three grandchildren – Grant, McKenna, and Landry. Her life, accomplishments, and adventures will forever be cherished in the lives of her children and their spouses, her grandchildren, and her extended family and friends.

Dorothy was born on February 19, 1936, in Joliet, Illinois, the tenth of eleven children. She was an “A” student in grade and high school, always proud of her savings and financial skills, and graduated summa cum laude from Metropolitan State College after raising her four children in the Denver/Lakewood Colorado area. Dorothy was an elected Colorado State Representative for District 26 and served on the Governor’s Commission on Children and their Families Well-being, Ft. Logan State Hospital Advisory Board, Jefferson County Citizens Advisory Board on Alcoholism, and was a member of the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce.  Her hard work and concern for the community’s needs brought her three successful terms in the state legislature.  She sponsored legislation focused on reducing taxes, providing spending limits on state and local government spending, preserving open recreational spaces, strengthening child abuse penalties, bringing the braille system to Colorado Public Libraries, and establishing programs for the mentally ill, underprivileged children and families, and utility tax credits for senior citizens.

Throughout her political, charity, and fundraising career she worked with and was recognized for her contributions by Colorado governors of the time, as well as numerous charities and community groups throughout the state of Colorado. Dorothy’s passion was to bring equal rights and equality to all of the citizens she served. She was a community activist, organizing and participating in marches during the 1960s for civil rights, during the 1970s for the Equal Rights Amendment, and other numerous causes she felt passionate about during her lifetime. 

After her service to the State of Colorado, she was a lobbyist for the Colorado Bankers Association, Public Trustees of Jefferson County, and also set up and ran the Public Tax Assistance Program for seniors and others in Adams County.   As a long-term resident of Lakewood/Jefferson County, she was always active in the community, fighting for services and assistance to children and families in need, senior citizens, mental health accessibility, and for animals’ protection.

Dorothy loved to travel and she visited many cities and countries. Her travels took her to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and Canada.  She prided herself on her “can do” attitude, love of her family, being a careful spender, made new friends easily, and never let any obstacles get in her way.  She had a great sense of humor, was very quick-witted, tracked current events closely, and loved learning and experiencing new things throughout her life.  She was an outstanding cook, mother, and friend.  We will miss her “world-famous margaritas”, cookies, homemade potato sausages, and Slovak cooking.  She loved and supported her family and was always there for them in good and hard times. 

No formal services are currently planned and the family will plan to hold a celebration of her life in Spring 2020.  She loved her many dogs, and the family requests in lieu of flowers, please make a donation in her name to the MaxFund Animal Adoption Center at Here is a link to an album of photos: //

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