Dorothy Miller Ogden

May 22, 1934June 9, 2014

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


Dorothy Miller Ogden

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Catherine Rankin Robinson

July 14, 2014

I was so sorry to learn of Dorothy's passing. While it has been years since I've seen you two, you have often been in my thoughts. Our oldest daughter is entering high school this year, and boy do I wish you could whip her writing into shape, as you did mine! Sending our sympathy and love.

July 7, 2014

Dear John & Family:

We are so sorry to learn about Dorothy's passing. We have such good memories however: You both were such welcoming and supportive neighbors when we were first diving into our project on Strong Street in Newburyport. Of course I recall the piano-and-saw duets, wringing out those cloying old tunes which were so appropriate for my well-worn ripsaw. Dorothy, on piano, bravely navigated uncharted territory through the middle of the saw's quavering vibrato. That was big fun. We also remember her instantaneous bonding with our very young son during one of her visits many years later. (We still have the well-thumbed Mother Goose book you both gave to him.) We've been thinking about you. Hang on to those great memories.

Reg Bacon & L.J. Newton
Newburyport, Mass.

June 21, 2014

Dear John
I was so sad to hear of Dorothy's passing. She was such a great lady and you were so devoted to her and she to you... a great love story. I certainly enjoyed her company and enjoyed using pilates exercises to help her feel better and more independent. She was always positive and made me feel good about our sessions.

When I told the staff, Elizabeth, Trina and Nick (now an instructor for us), they all were sad and mentioned what a great lady she was.

I currently have clients who also have M.S. as well as Parkinson's disease and are helped by their pilates and Muscle Activation sessions but Dorothy was the first and so special!

My thoughts are with you and your family. May you all enjoy your fond memories and share your love for her still.

Mary-Jane Amrein

Jack and Vera Bray

June 17, 2014

Dear John, Vera and I wish to convey our deepest sorrow to hear of Dorothy's passing.

June 15, 2014

DMO you were a good friend and grandmother to my children. I'll always cherish memories of family visits and your beautiful quilts! You still have 'The Best Pecan Pie' recipe on the planet! Sinsiroll, another family favorite. You are in my thoughts and prayers... By condolences to all the Ogdens.... With love and sympathy ,Jenny

Raymond Brooks

June 13, 2014

extending my heartfelt sympathy and condolences during this sad time. Raymond Brooks class of 1974. etaoinshrdlu

June 12, 2014

Sir John of Ogden,
Gidget and I extend our deepest sympathies.
With kindest regards,
The Reconstructed Rebel

Linda & Frank Drinkwater

June 12, 2014

Dear John, Jeff, Phil, Lee and Steve, We send our deepest sympathy to you and your families. Dorothy's friendship, advice and wit will never be forgotten. She was a strong and true friend over many years to the Drinkwater family. Our hearts go out to all the Ogdens at this sad time. With love and sympathy, Linda and Frank Drinkwater