Dorothy Tevis, 91, patron of the arts

February 13, 2006

Dorothy B. Tevis, an oil company board chairwoman and Carroll County patron of the arts, died in her sleep Friday at her Westminster home. She was 91.

Dorothy Berry was born in Baltimore and raised in the 1900 block of W. Mulberry St. She was a 1931 graduate of Western High School and earned a bachelor's degree in home economics from Western Maryland College in 1935. She also did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin and the Johns Hopkins University.

From 1937 until 1941, she taught home economics in Baltimore public schools. She returned to teaching in the late 1960s and taught home economics at South Carroll High School for about a decade. She also had been librarian for several years at the House of the Good Shepherd, a home for delinquent girls.

She was married in 1942 to Stanley Hart Tevis Jr., whose father had established S.H. Tevis and Son Inc., a Westminster oil company, in 1932. After her husband's death in 1974, she remained chairwoman of the company's board.

Mrs. Tevis was a member of the League of Women Voters, Westminster Garden Club and Carroll County Historical Society and was a past president of the Westminster Women's Club.

She was also a supporter of the Westminster Arts Council and in 1997 donated her West Main Street brick home, built in 1886, to the organization.

"In 1997, we were in a 900- square-foot basement at 15 E. Main St., and this was a huge gift," said Sandra M. Oxx, executive director of the arts council.

After feasibility studies showed that converting the house would ruin its character, the arts council, which was to receive the home upon her death, returned the gift.

"She was very gracious at undoing what must have been a major tax headache, but that's what made Dottie our fairy godmother. She wanted to make a home for the arts in the community and when the Carroll Theater restoration got under way, she made a major donation," Ms. Oxx said.

In recognition for her financial and personal support, the Tevis Art Gallery, in the renovated art deco theater that reopened in 2003 as the art council's new home, was named in her honor.

"We wouldn't be where we are today without Dottie. The entire community owes a debt of gratitude to her," Ms. Oxx said.

Mrs. Tevis was a communicant and a member of the altar guild of Ascension Episcopal Church, 23 N. Court St., Westminster, where a memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday.

Surviving are a son, Stanley H. "Jack" Tevis III of Westminster; a daughter, Margaret Louise Tevis of Arlington, Va.; a sister, Betty Ernst of Baltimore; and three grandchildren. Another daughter, Charlotte Anne "Singy" Tevis, died in 2002.

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