Dorothy McHenry


Dorothy Randolph

Dorothy Randolph McHenry passed away on February 23, 2014. She was born to Alta McCord Randolph and Victor Lemuel Randolph on January 22, 1919.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Gerald Randolph Sr. and her beloved husband, James McHenry.

Dorothy attended Scott High School and graduated cum laude from the University of Toledo in 1941. She did graduate work at the University of Michigan in History. Dorothy was an avid lifelong learner, taking courses in everything from Advanced Russian to computer technology. She continued to attend classes into the 21st century.

Dorothy taught high school in Whitehouse, Ohio and Blissfield, Michigan from 1941-1945. From 1945-1947, Dorothy worked for Air Force Cryptography and Army Security assigned to classified projects. In 1947, she was recruited by the CIA, where she worked until 1973.

While with the CIA, Dorothy was an important part of building an effective and technologically advanced organization to interpret aerial reconnaissance. She was chief of a specialized information center with a staff of 28. Her involvement in photographic intelligence was key in times of crisis. Dorothy's former supervisor, senior intelligence official, Dino Brugioni, noted author and lecturer, wrote about Dorothy's work in his books, "Eyeball to Eyeball" and "Eyes in the Sky." Mr. Brugioni praised Dorothy's involvement in locating Russian nuclear missiles ready to be deployed in Cuba.

Although women often were not welcome in the CIA at that time, Dorothy broke down barriers with her highly effective personal skills and professional abilities. Over the years, the predominately male environment shifted, as intelligence officials came to rely heavily on the women that Dorothy had hired. As a result of Dorothy's pioneering effort, more than half the people in her former department are now women.

Dorothy left the CIA to care for her elderly mother and began working for the Toledo Public Library. She was employed there until 1980, when she married the love of her life, James McHenry. Together, they enjoyed golf, attending Highland Games, and traveling. They were married five wonderful years until Jim died in 1985.

Mr. Brugioni stated that the CIA repeatedly tried to re-recruit Dorothy because of her experience and knowledge in matters related to national security. Dorothy decided, however, that she would continue her lifetime passion for traveling and genealogical research. She traveled throughout the U.S., Canada, the Arctic Circle, Mexico, the Caribbean, Russia, Europe, Egypt, Turkey, and other parts of the Mid-East. Her last trips were at age 90, when she went to Austria, Washington, D.C., and California. While in California, she hiked along a coastal trail, and waded in a tidal pool. Dorothy was always adventurous, ready to explore and take on the world.

Dorothy was also a patron of the arts, a devoted symphony attendee, a knowledgeable genealogist, and an avid reader. She belonged to the American Association of University Women and the Arts and Antiques Group of Toledo. She gave presentations on both art and genealogy, volunteered at The Sight Center, and was a generous contributor to many charities. Despite Dorothy's many accomplishments, she always remained humble.

"Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dorothy is survived by her nephew, Gerald Randolph Jr. (Nita); niece, Linda Randolph (Chris Goodman); sister-in-law, Anna Marie Randolph; stepdaughters, Kathy McHenry (Cindy Navarro) and Nancy Zimmerman (Chuck); great-nieces and great-nephews, and several step grandchildren.

The family would like to express their appreciation to Ebeid Hospice, Sylvania, Ohio for their compassionate care.

A Celebration of Life Memorial will be held on Sunday, May 25, at 1 p.m. in the Swan Creek Mausoleum Chapel at Toledo Memorial Park, 6832 Monroe St., Sylvania, Ohio 43560.

Memorials may be given to the Toledo Art Museum; Toledo Symphony; Friends of the Lucas County Public Library; The Sight Center; Ebeid Hospice, or donor's .

Published in Toledo Blade on May 23, 2014