DOROTHY LEE WHITE 1928 - 2021 After declining health, Dorothy died peacefully on December 19, 2021, at Toronto Western Hospital. She was born on May 12, 1928, in Springfield, Missouri, the daughter of Otis and Lelian White, and raised on a dairy farm during the Great Depression. She studied flute at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio and chose the harp as her minor. After she graduated in 1949, she taught harp and flute at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and in the mid 1950s moved to the University of Texas at Houston and the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Academic life, however, did not appeal to her. She then secured a Woolley Scholarship to study harp and flute in Paris with Lily Laskine and Jean Pierre Rampal. After two years in France Dorothy returned to New York where she worked with the renowned harpist Marcel Grandjany. She also learned elements of her craft from esteemed harpist Carlos Salzedo and Cleveland Orchestra harpist Alice Chalifoux. When Dorothy was touring with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the mid 1960s, she came through Toronto and visited Judy Loman. Dorothy had met Judy at the Salzedo Harp Colony in Camden, Maine, where she spent a summer studying with Salzedo, and Judy encouraged her to move to Toronto. That did not occur until the autumn of 1968, however, when John Fenwick, librarian with the TSO, invited her to play with the orchestra for Anne of Green Gables during two short engagements in Windsor and Toronto. Almost immediately Dorothy received invitations from several organizations: to be second harp with the TSO and to play with the National Ballet Orchestra and at the Guelph Spring Festival. What was to have been a few short weeks in Canada turned into the rest of her life. Her later performing days with the TSO occurred largely during the tenures of Sir Andrew Davis and Gunther Herbig. As a person, Dorothy was kind, generous, and good-natured. She had a wonderful sense of humour and never entirely relinquished either her charming southern accent or her American citizenship. She also possessed a gift for enduring friendships and a genuine interest in the lives of other people. She will be much missed by many. Dorothy is survived by her brother Wallace and sister-in-law Sandi of Torrance, California; her nephew Eric White and his wife Dana of Irvine, California; her niece, Amy Ballidis and her great niece Alexus Ballidis of Dallas, Texas. Two friends in particular gave unstinting care for Dorothy in the last period of her life, both fellow musicians: Lois Fusé and Janice Lindskoog. Grateful thanks are also owed to the staff at New Horizons, Dufferin and Bloor, where Dorothy had recently begun living after 50 years at 199 Roehampton Avenue, and to the medical staff on the 8th floor of Western Hospital for their care during her final hospitalization. Cremation has taken place, and it is hoped that a celebration of life event may occur in the coming months when circumstances permit.
Published by The Globe and Mail from Jan. 1 to Jan. 5, 2022.