Dot Foods co-founder Dorothy Agnes Tracy died at 12:05 a.m. on Friday, March 27, 2020, in her home. She died of natural causes not related to the recent Covid-19 pandemic, according to a company statement.
“Mom has always been the foundation and guiding light for our family and business,” said John Tracy, Dot Foods executive chairman and seventh child of Robert and Dorothy Tracy. “Right to the end, she was a living example to everyone she touched of humility, kindness, faith and family first values.”
Mrs. Tracy was literally the Dot in Dot Foods. She and her husband, Robert Tracy, founded the company in 1960. Originally named Associated Dairy Products Co., the company adopted the name Dot Associated Dairy Products Co. in honor of Dorothy in 1966, before being renamed Dot Foods in 1981. Mrs. Tracy played an integral part in the company’s early success by helping with bookkeeping, secretarial and delivery duties, all while raising the family’s 12 children.
Today, the $8.1 billion company is the largest food industry redistributor in North America and is still owned and operated by the Tracy family. Dot Foods employs 6,400 people in 16 locations across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including 2,800 individuals at its Mt. Sterling, Illinois, corporate headquarters.
“Mom has meant so much to our family and our employees over the years,” said Joe Tracy, Dot Foods CEO and 11th child of Robert and Dorothy Tracy. “She played such a crucial role in defining who we all are and have become.”
Mrs. Tracy was born on Jan. 21, 1929, in Taylorville, Illinois, one of seven children of Lawrence and Marie Curtin. She grew up on their farm in Blue Mound, Illinois, attended Stonington Community High School and graduated from the Sacred Heart Academy in Springfield, Illinois. In 1949, she received a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Illinois.
While at the university, she met Robert Francis Tracy, an agriculture student from Jerseyville, Illinois. They were married in Stonington, Illinois, on June 9, 1949, and resided in Champaign, Illinois. The Tracys moved to Mt. Sterling in 1952, where Robert worked in sales for Prairie Farms before founding Associated Dairy Products Co..
Mrs. Tracy was active in the Holy Family Catholic Church in Mt. Sterling, where she often played the organ. She was also a member of the National T.T.T. Society chapter in Mt. Sterling, served on the Brown County School Board and played bridge in several local clubs.
She had a philanthropic spirit, a value she instilled in her children and made a cornerstone of her company. She volunteered and supported many local charities and is known for her role in helping build the Mt. Sterling Community Center YMCA, which opened in 2004. Construction of the facility was paid for by Robert and Dorothy Tracy, the Tracy Family Foundation and Dot Foods.
Mrs. Tracy is survived by her 12 children, Donald (Wanda) of Springfield, Illinois; Patrick (Jane) of Town and Country, Missouri; Thomas (Catherine) of Mt. Sterling, Illinois; Anne (Ray) Capestrain of Springfield, Illinois; James (Jil) of Quincy, Illinois; Jean (Mike) Buckley of Quincy, Illinois; John (Linda) of Des Peres, Missouri; Mary (Jay) Sullivan of Pleasantville, New York; Susan (Scott) Stamerjohn of Quincy, Illinois; Jane (Fred) Schmidt of Des Peres, Missouri; Joseph (Jill) of Quincy, Illinois; Richard (Adina) of Des Peres, Missouri; 46 grandchildren; 31 great-grandchildren; and her brothers, Paul (Gail) Curtin of Lisle, Illinois; Larry Curtin of Taylorville, Illinois; John (Alice) Curtin of Taylorville, Illinois; and sister-in-law Nancy Curtin of Ocean City, New Jersey.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert, on March 26, 2006; her parents; her sister, Catherine Trueblood; and her brothers Bill Curtain and Leo Curtain.
The private burial will be at the Mt. Sterling Catholic Cemetery and is for immediate Tracy family members only.
Due to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, which limits the size of groups to 10 people or less, a memorial service for Dot Foods employees, friends and the entire Tracy family will be held at a yet-to-be determined date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Holy Family Catholic Church, St. Mary School or Mt. Sterling Community Center YMCA.
The Hendricker Funeral Home of Mt. Sterling is handling funeral arrangements. Condolences to the family may be submitted online at HendrickerFH.com.