Dora Harriet McKusick, 97, was born in Orcutt, Calif., and went home to be with her Lord on Feb.18, 2019. Dora was the youngest of six girls born to John and Clara Cullen and moved to San Luis Obispo County when she was 6 years old. About this time, Dora received her first harmonica, an instrument she played joyfully until the end. Dora graduated from Atascadero high school in 1940. During World War II Dora worked at Fort Ord rebuilding carburetors, generators and starters for the war effort. Dora came back to SLO County in 1946 when she married Joseph McKusick. They started married life living with Joe’s parents at the 8 Mile House, an old stage stop just north of Cuesta Grade. In a short time Joe and Dora built their own home on the family property, and there Dora remained even after Joe passed in 2005. In 2010 Dora decided it was time to “’move to town” and moved into Atascadero Christian Home, where she made new friends and was always busy.
Dora was kind, generous, determined, and full of life. She was very involved in the Santa Margarita community, attended Santa Margarita Community Church, and later Rinconada Country Church. Dora was quiet about her faith but loved Jesus, Bible study and believed in the power of prayer. She was a Life Member in PTA, served as a Cub Scout Den Mother and was instrumental in managing the community Well Baby Clinic.
In 1962 Dora went to work for the US Post Office and eventually retired with 20 years of service. In later years Dora and Joe were active in the Santa Margarita Senior Citizen Club, helping build the clubhouse. She drove for the blind club, called shut-ins for RSVP, hosted breakfasts and barbecues on their patio and traveled. In their RV or trailer, Joe and Dora toured the west coast, made several trips across the US and traveled the Alcan highway to Alaska. Explorers, they enjoyed meeting new people, seeing new things, whether by themselves or with their grandchildren. They also traveled to the Copper Canyon in Mexico, the Philippines and through the Panama Canal.
Dora was adored and cherished by her family and all those who knew her. She is survived by her children Pamela Ramos of Arbuckle, Calif.; LeRoy McKusick (Diane), Atascadero, Calif.; grandchildren: Shelly Morris (Kevin), Brentwood, Calif.; Melanie Conrad (Abraham), Santa Margarita, Calif.; Lacey Utter (Micah), Paso Robles, Calif.; Bubba Ramirez (Tyra), Kalispell, Mont.; and Shanna Ramirez, Paso Robles, Calif. Dora was proud of her first great-grandchild, she now has nine great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. In addition, she was “Aunt Dora” to nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews who showered her with love. Dora was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, Joe and her five sisters.
A memorial service will be held in Dora’s honor on Saturday, March 16, 2 p.m., at Atascadero Christian Community, 8455 Santa Rosa Rd. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Santa Margarita Area Senior Center, PO Box 507, Santa Margarita, CA 93453 or Aging Angels, Atascadero Christian Community, 8455 Santa Rosa Road, Atascadero, CA 93422.