The Daily Item
DALLAS, Texas — Jeanne Ditzler Dodds, 94, a tireless volunteer for church and community, was born at her parents’ home in Selinsgrove, Pa., in 1918 and died in the Presbyterian Village North retirement complex in Dallas on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.
Jeanne and her husband, Alan Dodds, who predeceased her on March 25, 2006, met at Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, married in St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Selinsgrove in 1940 and moved to Dallas in 1945, first owning a home in Oak Cliff and then, in 1949, moving to Preston Hollow. They joined the now robust Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas in 1949 as some of its first members, and during the 60-plus years of her membership, Jeanne served her church community in many capacities. She was that church’s first woman deacon, named to that position in the mid-1960s. She also served as an elder for PHPC, the third woman in that church to hold the position. She was a strong advocate for women’s place in the pulpit for all churches.
For years, she was a dedicated scout leader for the Cub Scouts, Brownies and Girl Scouts, and she enjoyed her years as a member of the Greenway Garden Club. Celebrated in 2011 by the Dallas League of Women Voters as a 50-year member, Jeanne was well informed in all things political. She worked to register voters, even in her final years, using her walker to get her where she needed to go to get that job done. She loved Texas wildflowers, was a voracious reader, a loyal supporter of the arts in Dallas and a fine amateur pianist.
Jeanne grew up in Selinsgrove, as did many generations of Ditzlers before her and two generations after she left. The family home was at 211 W. Pine St. and is still standing and in beautiful condition today. Jeanne remembered seeing Amish horses and buggies in the street and fish merchants and farmers selling vegetables from their pushcarts. She also remembered when the Great Depression closed the local children’s shoe factory, the Yeager Shoe Co., which her family owned and operated in Selinsgrove, drastically changing their lives and the lives of all of the company’s employees. But Jeanne was able to attend college on a scholarship after graduating in 1936 from Selinsgrove High School, where she was a member of the National Honor Society and valedictorian. At Carnegie Tech, she was a member of Cwens and of Mortarboard, both honor societies, was VP of the dorm council and was a member of a social sorority, which later became Delta Gamma. She graduated from Carnegie Tech in 1940 with a BS in household economics.
She is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law, Patricia and Michael McGuire, of Portola Valley, Calif., and Ann and Richard Costello, of Beverly Hills, Calif.; her son, Thomas Dodds, of Dallas; and two grandsons, Brian Costello, of Los Angeles, and Gregory Costello and wife, Anna, of New York City.
Jeanne was predeceased by her husband of 66 years, Alan Dodds; her mother and father, Daniel and Bess Ditzler, of Selinsgrove; her sister, Marjorie Shafer, of Havre de Grace, Md., and her brother, Richard Ditzler, of Selinsgrove.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Aug. 3 in Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, 9800 Preston Road, Dallas.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Jeanne and Alan Dodds Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, 9800 Preston Road, Dallas, TX 75230.
Arrangements are being handled by the Eastgate Funeral Co., Garland, Texas.