Dorothy Chiyoko Sueoka Casterline, ’58 & H-’22, passed away on August 8, 2023. She was 95 years old.
Along with the late Carl Croneberg, ’55, Dot, as she was known, conducted much of the painstaking field research that led to the formal recognition of American Sign Language in the late 1950s and early 1960s. She and Mr. Croneberg were awarded honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees during Gallaudet’s 152nd Commencement in May 2022.
Dorothy Chiyoko Sueoka was born on April 27, 1928 to Toshiba and Toyiko Sueoka, in the city of Honolulu in the territory of Hawai’i. She began her education in the public school system. At age 14, she became deaf, possibly from mastoiditis. She then was educated orally at the Diamond Head School for the Deaf and Blind, which is now the Hawai’i School for the Deaf and Blind.
Up until the early 1950s, deaf people were not allowed to drive in Hawai’i. With the assistance of influential members of the National Association of the Deaf, Dot, while still a teenager, helped convince the Honolulu police department to remove this restriction.