Dorothy "Dottie" Wasserman Schick, 75, a longtime Northern Virginia Democratic activist who for 38 years used her back yard to host the Mason District Democratic Committee Crab Feast, died Sept. 20 of respiratory failure at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital. She was a resident of Falls Church.

Hundreds of elected officials, candidates, lobbyists and supporters attended the annual event, which kicked off fall campaigns in Northern Virginia. "Anyone who is, was, or ever hopes to be anybody in Virginia Democratic politics was at Dottie's Schick's house," a 1991 Washington Post story said.

Over the years, more than 1,000 people gathered for what was once described as a "Democratic love fest and lots of hammering away at both crabs and Republicans." Guests ranged from former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and presidential contender Michael S. Dukakis to former governors Charles S. Robb and L. Douglas Wilder and a strong contingent of local officials and hopefuls.

Mrs. Schick, a member of the Democratic National Committee and past chairwoman of the Fairfax Democratic Committee, participated in the most recent crab feast Sept. 10 at her home.

In 1983, after serving four years, Mrs. Schick resigned as chairwoman of the county party. She also had served as a vice chairman and was credited with ending the intraparty feuding in the organization during the 1970s.

A native of Arlington, she graduated from Washington and Lee High School. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma and studied at the Corcoran College of Art and Design.

Her parents, Bertha and Albert Wasserman, owned the landmark Al's Motors on Wilson Boulevard in the Ballston area of Arlington. Mrs. Schick's husband continued the family business until his retirement in 2001. Al's Motors, which was in business for 75 years, was the oldest Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in Northern Virginia.

Mrs. Schick spent most of her life helping others, family members said. She was active in Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria.

She was a dedicated doll collector and had a passion for quilts. She and her husband spent the past several years remodeling a century-old waterfront home in Colonial Beach. They enjoyed traveling and collecting antiques.

Survivors include her husband of 54 years, Adolph "Sonny" Schick of Falls Church; four sons, Rory Schick of Potomac, Wade Schick of Culpeper, Kyle Schick of Colonial Beach and Albert Schick of Richmond; a sister, Beverly Talpalar of Potomac; and five grandchildren.

DOTTIE SCHICK