BELLINGHAM — Dorothy Haggen, who helped her late husband launch the downtown grocery that became the 33-store Haggen Inc., supermarket company, died Sunday in her home at age 99.

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BELLINGHAM — Dorothy Haggen, who helped her late husband launch the downtown grocery that became the 33-store Haggen Inc., supermarket company, died Sunday in her home at age 99.

Up to the last few days of her life, family members said she gave as much energy as she could to her philanthropic activities, despite a stroke about 14 years ago that left her partly crippled.

“It was a very debilitating stroke,” daughter Mary King said. “She wasn’t expected to live the year.”

Every Thursday and Saturday, she set up shop inside the Barkley Village Haggen store and sold candy to benefit St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. She managed to do that as recently as Thursday, Oct. 2, son Don Haggen said.

“It was something that she could do in a wheelchair,” he said. “She did what she wanted to do right up to the time she died.”

Family members said they wanted to give special thanks to Arbadella McAllister, the nighttime caregiver for their mother in the years since her stroke.

The Haggen family business started in 1933, during the depths of the Great Depression, when Ben Haggen and his partner Doug Clark pooled their savings of $1,000 to stock the shelves of their first store at 1314 Bay St.

Dorothy Haggen later said she never doubted her husband would succeed, even if his store failed.

“We struggled a lot,” she told an interviewer in 1992. “We were poor but we were happy. I didn’t worry about it. I knew he’d get another job if things didn’t work out.”

Don Haggen remembered how his mom did whatever needed doing around the store. He recalled going to the store with her on Friday evenings, after the 6 p.m. closing, where she would slice and wrap bread for the next day’s shoppers.

“She loved the customers,” Don Haggen said. “She had a lot of friends who were customers and had a really good relationship with them. She was basically a really good business person. She really loved business.”

Although money was scarce in those days, Dorothy Haggen still found ways to contribute to her community.

“We were so poor we couldn’t give anything, so I got busy and worked,” she said in a 2000 interview, after she and her family had received that year’s award from the National Society of Fund Raising Executives as the state’s outstanding philanthropic family.

Besides St. Paul’s, Dorothy Haggen also worked for the old St. Luke’s Hospital. She was a familiar face in the gift shop for many years, selling products that she and other volunteers had made for fundraising.

“She always had her hands busy,” Mary King remembered. “She sat in front of the television making things to sell at the hospital.”

Son Rick Haggen remembered his mom as someone who accepted everybody, regardless of status.

“She was one who would interact with and say hi to everyone on the street,” Rick Haggen said. “That wasn’t something everybody did in Bellingham.”

After doing business at two other downtown locations, Ben and Dorothy Haggen moved their store to Illinois and Meridian streets, a site they still occupy. Ben Haggen turned the business over to his sons in the mid-1970s and died in 1980.

But Dorothy remained a familiar presence at local stores.

“She loved the employees as well as the customers,” said Sylvia Haggen, Rick Haggen’s wife. “She made brownies for them, brought food in for them. She was a loving person.”

Besides the brownies, employees especially looked forward to her pineapple upside-down cake, Sylvia Haggen said.

Most of all, the family remembered Dorothy Haggen as the one who presided over their gatherings.

“She always hosted our family dinners and hosted beautiful Christmases that all of her grandchildren fondly remember,” Mary King said.