In Loving Memory

Dorothy Sanders

Dear Friends,

This has been a challenge to write and assemble but also a cathartic process, bringing me peace and fond memories. I will be creating a formal memorial page and tribute on the Artisan website at the end of February (we are converting to a new website on February 22). Sharing these precious images with you as a memento of the enormous impact Dorothy had on Artisan Center Theater. You are welcome to share it with others as seems appropriate. John Garcia will be posting a tribute with some of these images and others on his blog later today.

Dorothy Sanders, 88, passed away January 19, 2021. Her ashes will be placed with those of Allen Sanders, her husband of 62 years, at Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas. She was born December 2, 1932 in Springfield, Massachusetts to Harry and Jane Mould. Having received only an elementary school education themselves, they never knew quite what to make of their Ph.D. daughter. With a Master's degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Texas Woman's University, Dorothy spent many years in the education field, both in the classroom and as a consultant.

When not teaching she and Allen traveled the world, visiting every continent, including Antarctica. Together, they succeeded in a most ambitious quest - to cross the border of every county in every state of America! They drove many thousands of miles, criss-crossing the country using dozens of Rand McNally maps carefully planning each trip.

Dorothy moved to Fort Worth in 1983. It was on the stage of Fort Worth Community Theatre, where she was cast with Joan Anderson, that the two met and became friends and writing partners for 36 years. They enjoyed sharing their creative script writing adventures both on and off stage, winning play festivals in theaters across the United States. In 2012 they won first place and performed on stage at the Texas Nonprofit Theater Festival in Tyler, Texas with their 10 minute comedy, Horsing Around Cowtown.

In 2004, the Live Theater League presented Dorothy with the Arts Advocate of the Year Award and in 2009, she was honored with the Elston Brooks Lifetime Achievement Award. She was associated with Circle Theater for many years as a dramaturg, reviewing thousands of scripts for Rose Pearson and performing in many shows, while serving on the board of directors. Dorothy could not remember any extended time in her long life since junior high school - where she learned to type - when she could not be found sitting at a keyboard writing or editing something.

Dorothy and DeeAnn Blair co-founded Artisan Center Theater in 2003. She’d worked with DeeAnn at another theater and had encouraged her to follow the dream she had of opening a family-friendly theater. Dorothy also encouraged DeeAnn’s husband, Rick Blair to get involved. He did and he’s had very little sleep since then.

Dorothy was in the very first production at Artisan as Ousier Beaudraux in Steel Magnolias (2003). She was Bernice Bower in 1-800-For-Advice (2003), Mrs. Savage in The Curious Savage (2005), Abby Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace (2006), Daisy Werthan in Driving Miss Daisy (2008, 2017), Mattie in Walking Across Egypt (2009), and Grandma Kurnitz in Lost in Yonkers (2014).

When husband Allen passed away in December of 2016, Dorothy was in rehearsal for Driving Miss Daisy at Artisan Center Theater. Typical of her belief that “the show must go on”, she completed the final production and announced that she would not be returning to the stage. Dorothy sold their home in Fort Worth and spent the last years of her extraordinary life at Alexis Estates in Allen, Texas where she was fortunate to find an outlet for her piano-playing talent. She gained many new friends and a wonderful companion in Charles Robert Strong, who was a widower living in the same facility. She is survived by her daughter Julie Robinson (David) of McKinney, TX and son Christopher (Lisa) of Flower Mound, TX and two grandchildren, Josh Robinson (Sarah) of Dallas, TX and Natalie Parrish (Casey) of Houston, TX. Both of Dorothy’s grandchildren followed in their grandmother’s footsteps and are school teachers.