Dorothy Adell Reider Gath Frazier May. Her name is longer and weighs more than she does, standing barely five feet tall and 100 pounds dripping wet. And dripping with water is how Dottie has spent much of her remarkably adventurous and long life.
What is amazing about Dottie is not just WHAT she did, but WHEN she did it: Ocean swimming and boating as a child in the 1920s, as well as surfing, skin diving and spearfishing. In the 30s she was a skin-diving instructor. In the 1940s she was a ‘Rosie the Riveter’ during the war years and a commercial fisher to help feed her growing family. In 1950 she was a charter member of the famed Long Beach Neptunes dive club. And in 1955, she became the world’s first certified female scuba instructor. She was also a hard-hat diver and was the first female dive shop owner and wetsuit manufacturer.
Dottie tells her extraordinary life story in her own words, bringing to life her early childhood in Long Beach, California, where she was raised as the son her father never had, to being honored in 2019, at the age of 97, with the Historical Diving Society Diving Pioneer Award.