Dorothe Comber

Born Dorothe Mary St. George Comber on November 4, 1902 in Bobcaygeon, she was the only child of Walter Thomas Comber and Georgina Amelia St. George.

Dorothe attended school at her father’s private primary school, Hill Croft School in Bobcaygeon. She attended school in Lindsay and then progressed to the University of Toronto. She graduated in 1939 and became a teacher in Arnprior and Wingham (Heron County.)

When she retired, she returned to Bobcaygeon, where she lived next door to another Kawartha Lakes writer, Harry van Oudenaren.

Around the time of the country’s centennial celebrations, Comber, with a committee, captured Bobcaygeon’s history in the booklet, Bobcaygeon History: Amy Ellen Cosh Memorial. The book was dedicated in rememberance of Amy Cosh, beloved librarian to Bobcaygeon and friend to Comber.

In 1977, Comber recorded an interview with Doug Tangney, discussing some of Bobcaygeon’s history.

The Hill Croft School was started by Walter and Georgina Comber as a private school for the boy children of the Boyd family. Then, it was a “school for small boys.” When the boys aged, it became a high school, operated by the Combers until 1918. In 1929 the building was reopened and operated as Bobcaygeon Continuation School until 1956. From 1958 to 1976 the building was Hillcroft Private Hospital, owned and operated by Lorne and Orlie Stewart. Then in 1976 the building became Hillcroft Haven retirement home until the 1990s and then it became a medical centre, i.e. a cluster of offices for doctors. Now it stands abandoned.

After the school ceased at Hill Croft, Walter Comber went to teach at Ashbury College and then at the Lower School of Ridley College in Toronto. Walter was born in England in 1874 and had been educated at King’s School, St. Bury Edmond’s and Wadham College, Oxford. He joined the staff at Ridley in 1919 and was considered one of “Ontario’s finest history teachers. The Lower School loved him and would miss him greatly.” (Ridley: a Canadian School, Richard A. Bradley and Paul E. Lewis, 2000.)

Georgina was born in 1870 in Ireland and emigrated to Canada when she was seven. She married Walter Comber in 1900.

Dorothe Comber passed away on November 1, 1982. She left her collection of history about her family, the Boyd family and Bobcaygeon to her friend Harry van Oudenaren.


Bobcaygeon History: Amy Ellen Cosh Memorial, 1972.


Bobcaygeon: a picture book of memories, Harry van Oudenaren (1992).