Dorothy Sue Noland, an educator who was the first woman to lead the Los Rios Community College District teachers union, died Friday of pneumonia complications, her family said. She was 97.
Mrs. Noland started at American River College in 1967 and taught English and music. She retired in 1983 but returned to ARC as a part-time piano teacher.
She joined the California Federation of Teachers and became the first woman president of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers. She advocated for job benefits for part-time teachers, who often were hired by colleges to cut labor costs.
"She was a strong voice for teachers," said Robert Perrone of the Los Rios teachers union.
The California Federation of Teachers honored Mrs. Noland with the Ben Rust Award in 1983. She belonged to the California Retired Teachers Association, Mu Phi Epsilon and the California Music Teachers Association.
The former Dorothy Sue Norton was born in 1914 in Los Angeles and settled with her family in Stockton. A gifted student, she graduated from Stockton High School and then-College of the Pacific and began teaching at age 20.
She taught music at a small school in Middletown during the Great Depression and was K-12 music supervisor for Antioch public schools. She left after marrying Byron Noland in 1940 to raise two children.
Mrs. Noland returned to education as a teacher at Stockton Junior College and moved to Sacramento in 1964. She earned a master's degree from then-Sacramento State College in 1968.
Predeceased by her husband and daughter Rhea Hayslett, she is survived by a daughter, Patricia Tolleson of Granite Bay; five grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and two great-great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Mrs. Noland's life is set for 11 a.m. May 20 at the Maidu Community Center, 1550 Maidu Drive, Roseville. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association or any charity.