Dorothy Lee Lewis Ivey

Published 8:18 am Saturday, March 4, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Dorothy Lee Lewis Ivey, whose work as a teacher inspired thousands of students to love literature, language and writing, died of aortic valve failure in the early morning hours of Saturday, February 25, 2023, after five weeks in home hospice care in Dallas, Texas. She was 101.

Her husband of 73 years, Dr. Nathan Ivey, was at her bedside the night before, surrounded by her children, grandchildren and a great grandson.

A memorial service and interment of ashes will be held on May 20, 2023 at 3 p.m., Christ United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas.

Mrs. Ivey was a part of the large group of young women who entered college in the 1940s after World War II and became life-long educators — strengthening the public schools in America.

Her college sweetheart, Dr. Ivey, age 95, shared her passion and served as president of four public colleges in Colorado, Michigan and Illinois. Mrs. Ivey taught English, Latin, and journalism in high schools in small towns and suburban cities. Together, their seven-decade partnership won them many admirers among students, colleagues and leaders involved in education.

Born in Fort Worth during a January icestorm in 1922, Mrs. Ivey was the daughter of Rev. Grover C. Lewis, a Baptist minister and Lee Ann Branaman Lewis, a church organist.

Mrs. Ivey played the piano, taught Sunday school, and spent most of her life as a United Methodist, faithful to the Wesleyan principles of nurturing a community through service, especially to those with the greatest need.

In 1946 at Hardin-Simmons University, Dorothy Lewis met Nathan Ivey in a college English class. The couple’s friendship grew into a romance when Dorothy worked on the college yearbook staff with Nathan as the managing editor. Both earned degrees from the Abilene, Texas university. Mrs. Ivey also earned a master’s degree from Western Colorado University in Gunnison. Her husband earned a doctorate from Michigan State University, East Lansing.

During her 35-year career, Mrs. Ivey taught in ten public high schools across four states as the family moved for Dr. Ivey’s new jobs. He was the president of Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely, Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac, John A. Logan College in Carterville, Illinois, and South Suburban College in South Holland, Illinois.

Her survivors include her husband and the three children: Judith Ivey, film, stage and television actress, and husband, Tim Braine of Nantucket, Massachusetts; James Paul Ivey, a retired university professor of theatre and wife, Emily Jennings Ivey of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Sara Ivey, retired journalist, and husband, Xin-Min Zhang of Dallas. Daughter Sara and her husband were Mrs. Ivey’s home hospice caregivers.

Other survivors: five grandchildren — Nathan Piller and wife, Morgan Harrison of Dallas; Martin Piller of Dallas; Margaret Braine and husband, Zachary Ellis of Brooklyn, New York; Thomas Braine of Livermore, California; Donnelle and husband, Chad Yungerberg of Seattle, Washington. A fourth generation survives — Ajeo James (A.J.) Piller, son of grandson Martin Piller.