Written by Erin Bird, Dot Foods Product Owner and Dorothy Tracy’s (Favorite) Grandchild

Dorothy Tracy wasn’t scared.

She wasn’t nervous about starting a business with very few funds to her and her husband’s name. She wasn’t worried about how they would raise 12 children in a poor economy. She just did it. She made do with what they had, and she persevered during difficult times because of her strong faith in God and her trust that Robert knew what he was doing.

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This company they co-founded was called Associated Dairy Products Company, which everyone today calls Dot Foods. In the early days of the company, Dorothy helped with administrative and bookkeeping duties. When Robert was out of town on business in the winter, she would bundle up the two boys, Don and Pat Tracy, and walk up to the post office to see if any new orders or checks had come in.

“There’s no way the business would have survived without Mom, and I think Dad would have said the same thing,” John Tracy, Dot Foods executive chairman, said. “She was his confidant—not in the sense of knowing how everything in the business worked, but more about judgement and instincts and listening skills. She has always been the heart of the family and the heart of the business.”

When the company was still in its infancy, Dorothy made some deliveries in the back of the family’s red station wagon. She was also the consummate host. Whether she was building relationships at industry conventions or cooking turkeys for the company Christmas party, Dorothy was always around, making people feel at home.
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Dorothy’s footprint on the business goes far beyond Dot’s day-to-day management. The family centric culture, imbedded into the very seams of this company, is all thanks to Dorothy. From the profit-sharing plan that has been in place since 1971 to Dot’s charitable activities to doing whatever they can to never lay off an employee, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can see Dorothy everywhere you look.
Before her passing in late March 2020, Dorothy’s greatest pride was raising a good family that would take care of their family business and their employees.  “I hope our legacy will be that we have improved the welfare of a little town that welcomed us with open arms in 1952,” Dorothy said in her living tribute video, “and that we raised 12 wonderful Christian children who continue to follow our dream.”