Dorothy Heitler, née Shwayder, played golf for so many years even she professed to have forgotten all the women’s championships she won in Colorado. But the record is there, and it is superb. Between 1940 and 1963, Dorothy won the Green Gables Country Club Women’s Club Championship six times. She was the Colorado Women’s Match Play champion in 1949 and runner-up in 1951 and 1956. She won the Colorado Women’s Stroke Championship twice, in 1953 and 1956, and was runner-up in 1951. And in 1956, she also won the Denver Women’s City Championship.
The skills that brought those victories were honed early. Every day, before going to work, Dorothy’s father, Jesse Shwayder, played nine holes at City Park Golf Course. His love of the game passed naturally to Dorothy and it influenced her on and off the course. In the 1950s, then Governor Dan Thornton’s wife organized a Course Rating Committee, within the Colorado Women’s Golf Association, comprised of club champions. Dorothy was an active member of that group and also served on the CWGA Handicap Committee. Her devotion to the game spilled over to her children — Gail, who won the 1960 CWGA Junior Match Play; Dean, who captained his golf team at Amherst College; and Don.
Dorothy Heitler gave back to the community in ways other than golf. She served as president of the Children’s Hospital Auxiliary and as president of the Denver Symphony.
Colorado Golf Hall of Fame member Vivian Dorsey remembered Dorothy as “a challenging competitor, especially in the 1951 City Championship at Denver Country Club. She and I played 34 holes in a constant drizzle before luck was with me and I won. … Dorothy’s life has been involved with dedication to her family, sports and community endeavors.”
A pillar of the Denver community for many years, Dorothy Heitler epitomized the many positive contributions women have made to golf and to the quality of life in Colorado.