Community Mourns Longtime Center Place Patron
Dot Mahieu of Bloomingdale died at the age of 84.
A memorial service took place Tuesday, May 22, for Dorothy (Dot) Mahieu, of Bloomingdale who died May 16 at the age of 84.
Mahieu managed the Pat's Corner Gift Shop at Center Place, 619 Vonderburg Dr., Brandon, for a number of years and was a longtime patron of the nonprofit cultural arts and civic center. She also was a longtime member of the Newcomers Club of Brandon.
In 2011, she was awarded Center Place's S.L. "Spud" Clements Award for her dedication to Center Place during the nonprofit's annual Arts Gala.
As she walked up to accept the award, she was greeted with a standing ovation.
"I was overwhelmed," said Mahieu in an interview in 2011. "When my friend, Nancy Hilbert, told me to get dressed up and wear a lot of bling because she was taking me somewhere special, I never expected this."
Mahieu said she was especially surprised because it'd been a few years since she was involved with Center Place. She was forced to give up her volunteer duties at the nonprofit cultural arts center when her husband became ill and was placed in a nursing home.
Mahieu's involvement with Center Place dated back to 1989 when she ran into the Pat Odiorne, a longtime patron of Center Place.
“Pat kept talking about Center Place, urging me to volunteer with her there,” said Mahieu. “I didn’t know much about Center Place at the time, but I finally agreed. Pat took me under her wing and got me on the board. I just loved it. I was hooked."
A year later, in 1990, Mahieu played an integral role in starting the Center Place gift shop.
“I not only helped open it but helped organize volunteers from the Brandon Newcomers Club where I served as president and chaired just about every committee," said Mahieu.
Volunteering at the gift shop at 619 Vonderburg Drive, Brandon, at least three days a week, Mahieu incorporated her previous retail experience running a baby boutique on Oakfield Drive. She helped Center Place purchase its first cash register for the gift shop and, when Odiorne died, it was Mahieu who suggested naming the gift shop Pat’s Corner in Odiorne’s honor.
"I had to retire from Center Place almost three years ago," she said. "There were so many issues with my husband I needed to take care of."
However, her contributions over the years didn't go unnoticed when Mahieu joined the rank of fellow tireless Center Place volunteers in receiving the S.L. "Spud" Clements Award.
"I'm so grateful," said Mahieu in an interview last year. "This award really lifted me up. I miss being involved in Center Place. I was there three days a week for many years and I enjoyed every moment, I really did."
Mahieu was born in Bronx, N.Y., and had been a resident of Brandon since 1973, moving from Milford, Conn.
In addition to her volunteer work with Center Place, as both a board member and gift shop manager, and her membership in the Newcomers Club, Mahieu was a member of the Red Hat Society.
Known for her kind and generous nature, she enjoyed bowling, playing cards, traveling to Biloxi, Miss,, Las Vegas and loved cooking and entertaining.
Survivors include her daughters, Debria (Ronald) Francois; Bernadette Heyse; Denise (Nelson) Gardner; grandchildren, Jebin, Jeena, Jennifer, Brian; great-grandchildren, Noah, Alexis and Torin; and her beloved dachshund, Lucy.
She was preceded in death by her husband Louis J. Mahieu.
The memorial service was held at Serenity Meadows Funeral Home in Riverview. Interment will follow at Florida National Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to LifePath Hospice, 12973 N. Telecom Parkway, Suite 100, Temple Terrace, FL 33637.