Doris R. Keesey, 81, collected, repaired and sold antique dolls

October 28, 1995|By DeWitt Bliss | DeWitt Bliss,Sun Staff

Doris Rundel Keesey, a former commercial artist and decorator who, with her daughter, had a collection of nearly 500 dolls, died Sunday at Franklin Square Hospital of congestive heart failure.

Mrs. Keesey, 81, of Towson used surplus duplicate dolls from her collection to start a home-based business, Alice in Wonderland Dolls.

Her daughter, Wendy J. Rundel of Towson, said that the collection included antique and other collectible dolls. Ms. Rundel began the hobby with her mother in the early 1970s when Ms. Rundel returned from a teaching assignment at an elementary school for the children of U.S. military personnel in Turkey.

She said she and her mother got out the dolls that had been saved from her mother's childhood and had them repaired.

"Then we started going to doll shows and collecting, and then we began setting up tables to sell dolls at shows," Ms. Rundel said.

Margaret McGraw, a friend and fellow collector, described the collection as "eclectic, including dolls of many periods, materials and sizes." She said that antique bisque dolls probably were Mrs. Keesey's favorites in the collection which she also described as "right nice."

"She was just a happy person to be around, very joyful and full of life," said Mrs. McGraw, who also described Mrs. Keesey, known as Bobbe, as a good cook. She "always went out of her way to do something special" when she provided the refreshments for doll club meetings.

Mrs. Keesey was a member of the Lady Baltimore Doll Study Club, the Dollology Club of Greater Washington and the United Federation of Doll Clubs.

She was also a member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Towson, the Bykota Senior Center, the Bou-Tem-Sci Club, the Colony Club and many card clubs.

She was a member of the Embroiderers Guild of America and was skilled in other needlework such as needle point and knitting.

She was born Doris Goodwin in Boston and graduated from the Vesper George School of Art there.

She was a commercial artist in New York City, doing newspaper advertisements for Sears, Roebuck & Co. After coming to the Baltimore area about 1955, she worked for a time at the company's North Avenue store advising customers on interior decorating.

Her first husband, Kyrle Rundel, died in 1958. Her second husband, Richard E. Keesey, died in 1979.

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. today at Towson Presbyterian Church, Chesapeake and Highland avenues.

Other survivors include four sons, Peter C. Rundel of Great Falls, Va., Richard Keesey of Madison, Wis., Dorsey Keesey of Minneapolis and Christopher Keesey of Chesapeake, Va.; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren.

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