At different points in the late 1800s, both sides of Dorothy Patach’s family immigrated to Nebraska from Bohemia, which is now located in the Czech Republic. Some wanted to avoid going to war, and others wanted new opportunities. They were hardworking people who were invested in their community and believed in the importance of education. Dorothy’s parents, John and Marie, had been acquaintances “back in the old country,” but it wasn’t until they met again in Omaha that they decided to marry. Dorothy was born on December 4, 1923 in South Omaha.
Holding a number of important jobs, Dorothy’s father worked for numerous companies and at different locations when she was younger. He spent a significant amount of time in California on one job, so Dorothy and her mother would visit him when they could. He was also a member of several organizations, including one in which he had to be able to speak and write in Bohemian, something not everyone had held onto.
Dorothy’s father had a strong influence on her as he provided a lot of volunteer service and was very community-oriented. But another strong memory of him also had a lasting effect on Dorothy. After drinking some milk once, Dorothy’s father developed undulant fever, an infectious bacterial disease, and almost died. The hospital didn’t know how to treat it well, so Dorothy’s mother kept him home and they sponged him to keep his fever down. Without some important medical advancements like dialysis that could have helped her father, he suffered from numerous ailments brought on from a number of procedures performed at the hospital. Although she was only five, Dorothy remembers sitting on the bed, sponging his face and shoulders to keep his temperature down. This was the beginning of her desire to become a nurse.