By Matt Taylor, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Dot MacLeod has spent most of her life making a difference in the Bay State. She has spent countless hours at the local food pantry and the Senior Center, and is a founding member of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Westborough. Recently, she celebrated her 95th birthday, and local residents were able to celebrate and honor her life by donating funds in her name to the Westborough Food pantry, a cause she has supported for many years.
“It meant so much to her that people came out and supported this cause in honor of her,” Dot's son Doug said. “What she wants more than anything is for people to continue supporting this cause and help others in need.”
Dot's work has made a difference in many lives, and perhaps one of her biggest accomplishments was her drive to create the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Westborough. Born in 1916 in Chelsea, MacLeod moved to Westborough in 1955. She has had a lifelong association with the Lutheran faith, as her uncle broadcast a national radio program called the Lutheran Hour. She was also a music student in college, where she learned to play the organ. Dot and her husband, Doug, helped create the church out of the desire to keep it near their Samson Street home. The church started small, and Dot was the first organist Good Shepherd had. More than 50 years later, the Good Shepherd Church is as strong as ever, with roughly 650 members, and it continues to welcome parishioners with a mix of traditional and contemporary services.
Creating a place of worship wasn's the only passion Dot followed. She also had a family and children to put through college. She worked at several locations, including Bay State Abrasives in Westborough as a secretary, but found her professional calling as a travel agent at Horizons Unlimited in Marlborough. She worked for 15 years as a travel agent before retiring and starting her work at the Food Pantry.
“She enjoyed being a travel agent, and was very good at it too,” Doug said. “It helped send me and my siblings to college.”
After retiring, Dot began her long association with the Westborough Food Pantry. Volunteering gave her the satisfaction of knowing that not only was she helping a worthwhile cause, but one close to home and close to her heart.
“She loved the cause and the fact that the food pantry was close to our Cabot Circle home,” explained Doug, “but even more important, she values the lifelong friendships she has made supporting this cause.”
Dot continued to volunteer at the Food Pantry until about five years ago. In addition, she also gave rides to residents at the Senior Center. Some of those residents were younger than she.
At 95, Dot enjoys spending time at home with family on Cabot Circle, where she has lived for 32 years.
“She really looks forward to spending time with her grandchildren,” her husband said. Doug and his wife, Kathy, live with her in Westborough and help care for her. Her son Richard lives in Watervliet, N. Y. She also has eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.