At age 80 she died after a 35-year battle with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. For the last five years, Dorothy has been a virtual quadriplegic but receiving superb, loving care from the staff of Woodhaven Hall at Williamsburg Landing.
Married to John B. Ogden for 57 years, she has been his guide, support and steadfast companion. There are four Ogden sons: Jeff of West Orange, NJ; Phil of Doha, Qatar; Lee of Ridgefield, CT; and Steve of the Governor's Academy in Byfield, MA.
Upon her marriage, Dorothy accompanied John to a U.S. Navy hardship station on the Island of Antigua in the British West Indies. John was required to eat lunch in the Officers' Mess but Dorothy prepared dinner at home. There was no commissary so she had to order staples in bulk. The freighter arrived once every six weeks-maybe.
Dorothy taught herself to prepare dinners in a Direct Current oven the size of a breadbox. U.S. made appliances were useless without an expensive converter. Water was drawn from a stone catchment
It was indeed a "hardship station" and a difficult way for a 23-year-old bride to begin her marriage yet she and John felt that serving there taught them lots of lessons. Dorothy said that every young U.S. citizen should be required to perform some sort of government service abroad where the toilet paper is of varying quality-if available.
After John's release to inactive duty, Dorothy moved with him to Byfield, MA where he began an English-teaching career at Governor Dummer Academy. She and John soon came to love the small boys' boarding school founded in 1763 near the Parker River, the salt marshes and the Plum Island wildlife preserve
Because of her Katherine Gibbs School training she was asked to become the secretary in the newly formed Academy development office. Shortly Dorothy became an admissions officer. Appointed assistant director of admissions, she helped the Academy attract and then integrate young women into boarding school life. Dorothy made many friends among students, their parents and others in the North Shore communities.
She took great pleasure (in spite of risking frostbite) in watching innumerable hockey and lacrosse games. All ten of her grandchildren (five girls and five boys) have played or are playing lacrosse, in schools and colleges. Buckeyes, Dorothy nor John had seen a "crosse" until their New England life began.
From girlhood, Dorothy Ogden has always been a seamstress, making clothes, costumes (Bat Man and Robin), aprons, napkins and coasters.
She began quilting in 1970 with Mayflower Quilters of Rowley, MA when her sons became teenagers. She says that a main motive was "to get out of a house full of men". She enjoyed female companionship while she learned new ways to use needle and thread.
Her first quilt was a Sampler. She used traditional patterns such as Amish Bars, Tumbling Blocks, A Thousand Pyramids, Rocky Road and Double Wedding Rings. Also she used old-time patterns in unique constructions like Ducks Galore, Book Case, and Storm at Sea (with a handsome Mariner's Compass appliqued on the reverse. A dramatic geometric design was accurately transferred from Into the Future, a schoolboy painting done in bright acrylics by son Phil.
Those fortunate to see Dorothy's bold designs; precise cutting; superb use of fabric; and small, regular stitches will always remember them. Many of her quilt patterns suggest scenes or items from Dorothy Miller Ogden's Ohio girlhood.
Her family will hold a private memorial service. Dorothy's life can be honored by a contribution mailed to The Governor's Academy, Byfield MA 01922 c/o The John and Dorothy Ogden Scholarship Fund. Contributions may be made on-line at www.thegovernorsacademy.org/giving.