The Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society was deeply saddened by the death of Dorothy Jean Boley of Hinton, WV, on Dec. 13. She was 99.
Dorothy was a Chesapeake & Ohio Railway retiree, an avid supporter of the Clifton Forge-based organization, and a pillar at the Hinton Railroad Museum.
Born on March 9, 1923, in Hinton, Dorothy was part of a World War II hiring wave on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway that saw many women go to work for the railroad when huge
numbers of male employees left their railroad jobs for the United States armed services. She was
believed to be the last living female wartime hire on the C&O Railway
Like the well-known image of “Rosie the Riveter” representing women who entered the blue-collar workforce when men enlisted to serve in various branches of the military, women like Dorothy also stepped up in clerical and operational roles on American railroads. Hired by the C&O in 1943, she would go on to serve 43 years on the railroad.
In her railroad career, Dorothy was secretary to the division superintendent and, in her later life,
dedicated her retirement to the Hinton Railroad Museum, serving as a living link to the history that organization preserves in her hometown.
She graduated from Hinton High School, class of 1941, and the Charleston School of Commerce.
C&O Historical Society President Totten remembered the mutual support and respect between the Hinton Railroad Museum and their non-profit organization.
“On her 99th birthday this year, I called Dorothy to wish her a happy birthday,” Totten said. “She said she received her C&O Historical Society magazine the day before, immediately read it, and wished us luck on our current projects, including the restoration of a former C&O Railway office car in our collection.”
The C&O Historical Society dedicated its 2022 calendar “Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Through the New River Gorge,” to Dorothy Boley for her career as part of the “machines, nature, and human grit that conquered the wilderness of the New River Gorge” and for her tireless efforts
to preserve local transportation history at the Hinton Railroad Museum.
In October, Totten and Boley had one final encounter, during 2022’s Hinton Railroad Days, when the Autumn Colors Express excursion train brought hundreds of visitors to her hometown of Hinton as part of the town’s annual festival. There the two caught up and discussed the future of the festival that is a local tradition and the transportation history that both the C&O Historical Society and Hinton Railroad Museum strive to preserve.
In remembering Dorothy, Totten said, “As we mourn the loss of our friend and supporter, we are grateful to have known her, and thankful for the work she did not only to preserve history, but to write it.”