Dorothy Bilanich Gaona
Dorothy Bilanich Gaona
  • December 19, 1932 - July 1, 2017
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

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Dorothy Gaona, 84, passed away July 1, 2017 at Brighton Gardens in Raleigh.

Dorothy was born and raised in Ambridge, PA. She married Bob Gaona in 1951. They lived in Wake Forest, NC in the married student apartments while Bob played football for Wake Forest College. They lived a various locations as Bob played in the NFL, playing for the Steelers and Eagles They relocated their family to Canoga Park, CA in 1957. Dorothy taught elementary school and supported both sons in their swimming careers from childhood to college. Dorothy and Bob ultimately retired "back east" to Raleigh in 1995.

Dorothy volunteered and tutored at Jeffreys Grove Elementary in Raleigh for over 20 years and was fondly known as "Grandma" by both students and teachers. Dorothy was an avid Wake Forest and Pittsburgh Steelers sports fan. She was an expert swim team timer, loved gossip magazines and matinee movies. Her favorite hobby was playing Bingo and poker and she usually won!

She is preceded in death by her husband, Bob Gaona, Sr. and brother Mike Bilanich.

She is survived by her brother John Bilanich of Bulter PA, her 2 sons, Robert Gaona Jr., wife Lisa of Arvada CO and Michael Gaona and daughter in law Betsy Gaona of Raleigh NC. Dorothy is survived by 7 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

A visitation will be held on Thursday, July 6, at 10:00AM at St. Raphael Archangel Catholic Church, 5801 Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh NC 27609, with a service beginning at 11:00 AM. Interment will be immediately following the service at the St. Raphael columbarium. The family will gather at Dorothy's home after the interment.

The family would like to extend their thanks to the wonderful caregivers and administration at Brighton Gardens of Raleigh.

In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be made to Jeffrey's Grove PTA at 6119 Creedmoor Rd, Raleigh, NC 27612.