Dorothy M. Gouker, 96, residing in Elkhart, passed away peacefully early Saturday morning, May 9, 2020 at Greenleaf Health Campus. A native of White Pigeon, Michigan, Dorothy was born on February 8, 1924, one of six children born to the late Charles M. and Hattie I. (Schmidt) Gadson. Dorothy was a graduate of White Pigeon High School and started working at Miles Laboratories in the accounting/payroll department for 15 years until 1957, when she started raising her family. Dorothy married Paul Franklin Gouker on December 24, 1942. Paul died in January of 1978. Surviving is a daughter Mary Ann (James) Oldham of Indianapolis; son, James A. “Jim” Gouker of Elkhart; two grandsons, James A. Oldham, Adam M. Oldham; and her sister Margaret (Gordon) Swartzentruber. In addition to her husband Paul, three brothers, Henry, Carl and Paul Gadson and an infant sister Lula Pearl, preceded her in death.
The business, Elkhart Central Transfer & Leasing Co., began in February 1938. Dorothy worked on continuing and growing the business with Paul. Dorothy became President of Elkhart Central in 1978. Elkhart Central took pride in offering safe, prompt, and dependable moving services. In 1992, the Indiana Department of Commerce recognized Elkhart Central with the Half-Century Business Award. The honor was bestowed in Indianapolis by Lt. Governor Frank O’Bannon.
Elkhart Central was operated by Dorothy for over 60 years. She retired in 1990, leaving son, James A. Gouker as owner and operator. Dorothy was a pioneer as the female executive in charge of a business typically owned and operated by male executives. Elkhart Central was operated for over 70 years before it was sold.
Dorothy was an avid bridge player. She belonged to numerous couples and singles bridge groups. She loved playing bridge and enjoyed the comradery of bridge players and the challenge of the game. She enjoyed traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Friends may call for 1 hour prior to the 2:00 pm service on Thursday, May 14, 2020 celebrating Dorothy’s life at Billings Funeral Home, 812 Baldwin St. Elkhart. Pastor Bryan Wisdom will officiate. Burial will follow at White Pigeon (MI) Township Cemetery. Memorials are kindly requested to Riverview Adult Day Center or Center for Hospice Care.
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