By Jim Barrett
People will know about Dorothy Lusby now, thanks to her grandson.
Dorothy Lusby is credited with being the first female licensed plumber in Galveston County, and the 17th in Texas. She worked at the University of Texas Medical Branch for 20 years.
"She was special for a lot reasons, including being one of the first woman plumbers," said her grandson, James Lusby-Garcia, 18. Dorothy died in 2003 at the age of 63.
James became a candidate for Eagle Scout in 2012. He decided to build a memory garden for his grandmother as his Eagle service project. In October, James, along with family and other Scouts, finished the garden and ordered a stone monument. It arrived in December. At 13th and Mechanic streets in Galveston, the site is only a few blocks from where Dorothy used to report for work.
As for James, he received a favorable Eagle Scout Board of Review on Dec. 12 and became an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouting.
The project started in May 2012. James, a senior at Ball Preparatory Academy in Galveston, wrote a letter to UTMB President Dr. David L. Callender and enlisted the university's cooperation. Members of UTMB's Business Operations and Facilities pitched in.
Working together, they selected a site at the Business Operations and Facilities headquarters, 1302 Mechanic St. UTMB contractors Vaughn Construction and Sal Esparza Inc.-SEI donated some supplies to help James' volunteers build the memory garden.
UTMB leaders asked Tim Schilling, manager of maintenance contractor service, to assist on the project. "I met with James and helped somewhat, but he was very focused and did almost all of the work," Schilling said.
Dorothy started work at UTMB as a messenger in 1975, and later joined its in-house apprenticeship program for the crafts and trades. In 1983, she passed her state exam for journeyman plumber at the age of 43. She retired in 1995.
"Her story gives hope and encouragement to all that no matter what age or gender you are, it is never too late to accomplish your goals," her monument says.
Dorothy once said she took up plumbing because she couldn't learn to type. Interviewed in 1984 by the Galveston County Daily News, she said, "Something about sitting down at a typewriter for so long makes me unable to type. I couldn't learn even when I took a course."