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302-478-7100 Wilmington & Hockessin, DE

Priscilla R. Dugdale

On June 7, 2024, surrounded by her family, puppy dogs, and in her beautiful home, Priscilla Randolph Dugdale closed her eyes for the final time.

Since September 2013, Priscilla valiantly moved through her journey with stage IV Ovarian Cancer and most recently Myelodysplastic (MDS) Leukemia. Priscilla was a force of nature her whole life, and especially during her 11-year cancer journey. Early in her diagnosis she decided to face the journey bare knuckled, with guns blazing, and she did just that. Priscilla faced her own mortality head on, beginning her final chapter with the same grit and grace she lived each day, emitting unyielding courage to plan a good death for herself, saying her goodbyes in her own way, in her own time, on her own terms.

Priscilla was born in 1945 in Wilmington, Delaware to Carol Harden Freeman and Jay Ellegood Mayerberg. A natural beauty, Priscilla was often referred to as Pocahontas or Cher in her youth, she also possessed an equally beautiful natural charm that resonated from her wherever she went. “The face of an angel, mouth of a sailor,” a moniker gifted to Priscilla by “Daddy”, her former father-in-law, Dr. William Oscar LaMotte, II. Always one to land a well-timed expletive, one always knew where they stood with Priscilla. She lived her life much like a flame; beautiful, fiery, fierce, and radiating from within. She cast an enchanting light that drew people to her, had a smile that could light up a room, and left those who knew her with an unforgettable glow.

Priscilla and her younger sister Lynn Martin Chambers (Mayerberg) spent their youth in Kennett Square, playing in creeks, riding horses, and chasing their beloved Cocker Spaniel, Ginger Peachy, and cat Degaulia. Priscilla lovingly spoke of growing up in Kennett – regaling fond memories of friends, the countryside, and her childhood homes – Greenwood Road, Draycott, and Marybelle Lane.

Priscilla attended The Tatnall School where she made lifelong friends in Cindy Chapman, Connie Jones, Fran Mitchell, DeeDee Demme, Andrea Dalglisch, Lynn Borough, Tanya Thurlow, Page Williams, Susie Whitman, and Steve and Larry Lincoln. Incandescently beautiful, Priscilla was voted May Queen of the May Court her senior year.

Priscilla started at the University of Delaware, where she met lasting friends Valerie Biden, Joe Biden, Michelle (Micki) Centrella, David Craven, and Betsy Preston, who remained some of her closest friends throughout her life.

In 1963, Priscilla married William Oscar LaMotte, III (Clipper). Together they had three children, William Oscar LaMotte, IV (Bo), Michael Kirk LaMotte, and Hilary LaMotte Burke. Priscilla placed college on hold to embrace motherhood. She later completed her education in 1987 with a degree in Nursing from Delaware Technical Community College where she graduated Phi Theta Kappa.

Motherhood was Priscilla’s greatest joy, and she dedicated her life to her children and later her grandchildren.  Even though Priscilla and Clipper divorced, they both committed to placing Bo, Michael and Hilary first, often spending holidays, special occasions and vacations together – she and Clipper shared a special bond until her final breath.

Given a second chance at love, Priscilla met and fell in love with William Kirkus Dugdale (Will) in 1987. Priscilla often joked that it was her cooking that “sealed the deal” with Will. Priscilla and Will were devoted to each other for 37 years. Together they built their dream home, Draycott Farms, on 30 acres in Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. They lived happily high atop their beautiful hill with their five dogs, tractors, and breath-taking vistas for 20 years. In 2010, feeling far away from friends in Wilmington, they moved to their current home, Shadow Hill in Chadds Ford. Priscilla and Will shared a love of all things English, whether it was driving through the Cotswold countryside scouring bookstores for first edition Agatha Christie novels, watching Downton Abbey, or purchasing English antiques. They filled their homes with their findings over the years, along with a plethora of puppy dogs, and their mutual love for one another.

Priscilla, while biologically a mother of three, often welcomed others into her home over the years. Whether it was her German exchange students Ralph and Marc, her “unofficially adopted” children Matthew, Isabella, and Treva, or any number of Bo, Michael and Hilary’s’ friends. Priscilla knew how to make a house a home, and at any given time groups of kids made their way through her door for a home-cooked meal or visit. And speaking of home cooked meals, Priscilla was a gourmet cook. Like everything Priscilla did, her cooking and baking were full of love – a meal prepared by Priscilla was certain to bring friends and family to gather at her table.

Priscilla’s other great love was nursing. A faithful nurturer, Priscilla gave all she had to her nursing career, delicately balancing the art of medicine and care for her patients and their families. She began her vocation at St. Francis Hospital where she excelled in medical surgery, labor and delivery, and postpartum and nursery. Priscilla transitioned to Home Healthcare in the early 2000’s and soon started her own company, Draycott Partners. For 20 years she gave herself and her medical expertise to her clients and their families, endlessly serving and loving them as much as she did her own family. Even in her final weeks, she remained a rigorous patient advocate, continuing the level of care her clients expected from her; facilitating their healing and offering compassionate caregiving.

Friendship was everything to Priscilla, and her longest friendship, over 72 years, was with Pamela Perkins Young. Since age 7, Priscilla and Pam constructed a lasting friendship, weathering weddings, childbirth, divorce, illness, deaths, and more. Diana Harder Terrell, another of Priscilla’s dearest friends, raised her children alongside Priscilla and later in life Diana was by Priscilla’s side for doctor appointments, chemotherapy, and ladies lunches. Valerie Biden Owens, who met Priscilla their first day of freshman year at the University of Delaware, described “the beautiful Priscilla sashaying down the freshman hallway of their dorm with her long thin legs and perfectly highlighted hair”. Tiny Valerie and the statuesque Priscilla became inseparable from their first meeting. Kathy Craven was Priscilla’s tranquility. Throughout Priscilla’s cancer journey, Kathy filled Priscilla’s heart with her soft-spoken voice and fed her tummy and soul with her exceptional cooking and baking. While Priscilla and her sister Lynne never had a brother, they had Dr. Gary Fisher as the next best thing, filling the  role in their lives where a brother might have been. And then there was Daren Hutchinson – her beach dancing, song singing, wig wearing, life of the party friend – who blew into Priscilla’s life like a stumbling bumbling ball of positivity in the mid 80’s. While Daren only lived in the area for two years, a lifelong friendship was forged and she remained a part of Priscilla’s life until the end.

Priscilla’s greatest accomplishment was her children. God’s plan is for His children to know deep, abiding, unending love from at least one human being in their life, for Bo, Michael, and Hilary, that person was Priscilla.

Priscilla’s three children, their spouses, and grandchildren were everything to her. She reveled in her role as Nana, and nothing pleased her more than sharing all that she loved with her family. An ever-present force in all their lives, she left behind an imprint on their hearts they will carry with them always.

Bo, Michael, and Hilary were blessed to be by their mother’s side during her final weeks. The offering of this time together laughing, crying, and reminiscing was a sacred experience they were fortunate to have. Priscilla’s final weeks were a revolving door of family and friends stopping by to recollect and say goodbye – cherished moments of connection – further magnifying the immense impact she had on others was a parting gift for her children they didn’t know they needed.

Priscilla the ever gracious soul, who joyfully shared her presence with her family, friends, and clients, those of us who had the good fortune of knowing and loving her, have far richer lives because of her. Those who knew her find peace in her passage into the encompassing eternal love of heaven.

Priscilla was predeceased by her mother, Carol Harden Freeman; stepfather, Alfred Hawkins Freeman; father, Jay Ellegood Mayerberg; sister, Lynne Martin Chambers and brother-in-law, Robert Gordon Chambers.

Priscilla is survived by her adoring husband, William Kirkus Dugdale; her children William O. LaMotte (Elizabeth Rose), Michael K. LaMotte (Wendy), and Hilary L. Burke (Ned); grandchildren Drew, Kyra, William, Jonathan, Thomas, Hawkins, and Travers and first husband and lifelong friend Clipper LaMotte (Nita).

A special thank you to the nurses who cared for Priscilla throughout her cancer journey, and especially during her final weeks. The transition from nurse to patient was the hardest hurdle for Priscilla, and her nursing team Laurie, Kelsey, and Nina, walked beside her, providing care, comfort, and companionship as only nurses can.

A Celebration of Life will be held Monday, June 17, 2024 at twelve o’clock in the afternoon at Vicmead Hunt Club, 903 Owls Nest Road in Wilmington.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Abramson Cancer Center at the Chester County Hospital in West Chester, Pennsylvania. For the last 11 years, Priscilla was earnestly cared for by a team of incredible medical professionals under the direct care of Dr. Michael R. Costello.

Funeral Services

A Celebration of Life will be held Monday, June 17, 2024 at twelve o’clock in the afternoon at Vicmead Hunt Club, 903 Owls Nest Road in Wilmington.

Condolences

    By Bishop lit a candle
    06/10/2024 03:19 pm
    N. McCormick writes,
    Rest in peace Cilla…love, Lynne M. Chambers’s daughter and your God Daughter.
    06/10/2024 05:26 pm
    Carey (Bishop) Zimmerman writes,
    My brother By Bishop let me and Amy know that Priscilla succumbed to cancer, after a valiant fight and life who touched many people. The Mayerbegs were friends of the Bishops for as long as I can remember having lived right down the road on Old Kennett Road. There had been many interactions over the years with us and Priscilla, not the least of which was her loving attention to my mother Ruth Bishop when she was in hospice having ovarian cancer. We also were able to consult with her about my brother Tim when he came down with leukemia. She had been a wealth of information and hope as well as just care. My sister Amy worked with her at PUFF, yet another food experience in Priscilla’s life. Amy and I also got to spend a weekend with Priscilla and Will when we came down for aunt Libby Dean’s memorial at the Brandywine River Museum. She was always welcoming. Priscilla has woven herself in and amongst us for as long as I can remember, and it makes me very sad to know that she died. Please accept my condolences as she meant a lot to all of us. One final add: Carolyn Roser (formerly of Kennett) related to me several years ago that she and Lois Calhoun arrived at Priscilla’s back when they were early 20s at the OKR house. Grandmother Carol sent them upstairs to wake Cilla up. Carolyn said (enviously) that Priscilla woke as beautiful as she was all the day long. My best thoughts are with you and your family. She was one of a kind. Carey (Bishop) Zimmerman.
    06/10/2024 08:52 pm
    Alice Masterson writes,
    Such a beautiful remembrance on a life well lived and definitely well loved! I was so fortunate to be in a birthday group with Priscilla for many years. She was beautiful inside and out. I treasure our time together. I last saw her in October at her beloved Watercolor vacation retreat. I am so very sad at her passing. RIP Priscilla.🙏💔🌹
    06/10/2024 09:07 pm
    Beverly Marschlowitz writes,
    I am so sorry to hear of her passing. We Nurses have a way of remembering our fondest families. I was one of Dr.( Mac) McDermott's nurses back when you children were growing up.. she lit up a room upon entering! Keeping you all in my thoughts during this difficult time. Beverly
    06/11/2024 08:04 am
    Eric Stranere lit a candle and writes,
    So sorry to hear of Priscilla’s passing, my thoughts and prayers go out to her family. She was a great friend and caregiver for my Aunt Theresa. A true Godsend. 🙏💐
    06/11/2024 11:21 am
    By McCune writes,
    Priscilla and her crew took care of our father. They were the most charming and caring people, we felt there were no better hands to entrust our Dads safety and welfare in his declining years. Priscilla was a godsend to all of us. Rest in peace and say hello to Roy. By
    06/11/2024 06:53 pm
    Dotsie Parker lit a candle and writes,
    My condolences to all Priscilla knew and loved dearly.
    06/11/2024 07:17 pm
    Larry Lincoln lit a candle and writes,
    I had the privilege to speak with Priscilla a few days before she died. I was so impressed with her grace, her practicality, and her serenity about her approaching death. She knew that she was loved. Her cup was full. We laughed plenty, two old hospice warhorses nodding invisibly across the phone. I hope I'll be as ready.... My condolences to all who loved Priscilla, all who were touched by her spirit.
    06/15/2024 12:12 pm
    larry bischmann lit a candle and writes,
    I will always remember the joy you could see in Priscilla when she was connecting with the people (and dogs) she loved - laughing/hosting/listening/sharing :). I feel very lucky for the time that I got to spend with her and we are all blessed that her spirit lives on in her children and grandchildren! My deepest condolences to the entire family.
    06/15/2024 05:25 pm

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