Dorothy Lena Young
AGE: 103 • Tinton Falls
Dorothy Lena Young, 103, of Seabrook Village, Tinton Falls, formerly of Ocean Grove, NJ, entered into eternal rest on Sunday, March 20, 2011. Born in Otisville, NY on May 3, 1907 to a family of Methodist ministers, at age 17, Mrs. Young auditioned for Harry Houdini and won the role as his on-stage assistant. She toured the country with the illusionist in 1925 and 1926, leaving the act two months before his untimely death. She was the last surviving member of Houdini's troupe. In 1926, she married Robert E. Perkins in New York City and had a son, Robert E. Perkins, Jr. In 1928, she performed in Jarnegan, a Broadway play about the Hollywood movie industry directed by Richard Bennett. In the 1930s she performed in additional Broadway productions and formed a Latin ballroom dance team with her future second husband, Gilbert Kiamie. Mrs. Young was the author of two books, one of which, Dancing on a Dime, about her experience as a ballroom dancer, was adapted by Paramount Studios into a movie in 1940. In the 1940s, Mrs. Young studied oil painting and became known for her seascapes, landscapes and still life paintings. She was invited to join Fifty American Artists and exhibited her work in New York and Palm Beach galleries. She and her husband, Gilbert Kiamie had homes in Pelham Manor, NY, New York City and Ocean Grove, NJ. A philanthropist of varied interests, Mrs. Young funded scholarships and the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts at Drew University in Madison NJ in memory of her father and brother who were alumni of the Theological School. She donated the Young Chapel at the Jersey Shore Medical Center, Neptune, NJ and the Young Auditorium at the Youth Center in Ocean Grove, NJ in memory of her parents. Mrs. Young was on the board of the Jersey Shore Medical Center, and a member the Daughters of the American Revolution, St. Paul's United Methodist in Ocean Grove, the Ocean Grove Historical Society and the New York Athletic Club. She was interviewed for numerous documentaries about her experiences including PBS American Experience, NJN State of the Arts, and The History Channel.
She is survived by her son, Robert E. Perkins, Jr.; three grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 80 Embury Avenue, Ocean Grove on Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 4 PM. Donations in her memory may be made to the Dorothy Young Scholarship for the Arts at Drew University, c/o Advancement Office, 36 Madison Ave, Madison, NJ 07940. The Ocean Grove Memorial Home, Ocean Grove, is in charge of arrangements.
Published in Asbury Park Press on Mar. 27, 2011