Dorle Dymond obituary

Other lives: Chef who took pleasure in providing for others

My Oma, Dorle Dymond, who has died of cancer aged 84, was an energetic, reliable and benevolent force in the community of Falmouth, the Cornish town where she lived for 50 years. Dorle succeeded as a chef in the 70s, in what was then a very masculine world, and brought people together through food, generosity and kindness.

Dorle, also known as Durten, short for Dorothea, was born in Weberin, a small agricultural village in the Mecklenburg region of north-east Germany. Her father, Martin Lübbe, a teacher, never returned from wartime service in Russia, and Dorle and her brothers, Wilhelm and Rudolf, were raised by their mother, Clara (nee Cords), and grandmother, Bertha Lübbe, on the family farm.

Dorle trained as a Kindergarten teacher and took her first job in 1958 on the island of Sylt, where she met Jim Dymond, a young English RAF pilot based there for training. They married in 1960 and had three daughters, Amelia, Anna and Amy. The family moved to RAF stations across the world, from Aden in Yemen to Devon. Dorle loved to travel and had a spirit of adventure. However once the family settled in Cornwall in the early 1970s, she focused on her career, training to become a chef.

Dorle Dymond in the kitchen at Falmouth Art School, where she was head chef for 20 years
Dorle Dymond in the kitchen at Falmouth Art School, where she was head chef for 20 years Photograph: Family Photo

Dorle was the head chef at Falmouth School of Art from 1980 until 2000; many former students remember the good quality fresh local food, homemade bread, large portions and garden flowers on the table in the canteen. It was revolutionary.

She worked exceptionally hard, raising her daughters single-handedly, as her marriage had come to an end. She and Jim divorced in 1982.

Throughout her life, Dorle was constantly reading and recommending books on art, theatre, psychology, the environment and horticulture. She was a loyal Labour party member even though, being German, she could not vote in general elections. Politics, reading and the news were her great interests and she stayed well informed and opinionated.

Dorle became an Oma (a grandmother) in 1989, and was an altruistic force to her seven grandchildren and our friends, supporting us as children, always listening and encouraging us.

In early 2004, Dorle started working as a cook at the Abbeyfield residential home in Falmouth, where she continued to work until the last month of her life, walking or cycling there to avoid unnecessary car journeys, although the family encouraged her to retire.

Dorle found great pleasure in providing for others. Every task was carried out with attention and energy. At her allotment, she considered the nettles and the flowers to be of equal importance to the onions, which defines her outlook on life. Anna once asked her “Mum... what is your religion?” Dorle’s reply was: “Nature.”

Dorle’s longtime partner Neal Kelly, a holistic therapist and artist, died in 2015. She is survived by her daughters and grandchildren.

Jessie Dymond Barber

The GuardianTramp

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