The family of Dorothy Blais Mulvihill regrets to announce the passing of our beloved mother and grandmother.
Dottie was born at St. Joseph's Hospital in Stockton, to Raymond and Elma Blais. She grew up in their Lodi home with her sister Martha and brother Jim. As a girl, she was active in Campfire, Rainbow Girls, and Job's Daughters Bethal no. 159, who elected her Honored Queen in 1953. In 1952, she was a member of the Grape Festival Queen's Court. From a very young age, she was active in theatre and dance, including teaching dance in her early teens.
A member of Lodi High Class of 1951, Dottie was always busy in school performing, chairing committees, and as an award winning member of the Speech team. While attending Stockton College, she was offered a scholarship from the Speech and Radio Department at College of the Pacific (UOP). She was honored to be a student of renowned theatre professor DeMarcus Brown and appeared in many productions.
Upon her graduation from COP in 1954, Dottie accepted a teaching position at El Segundo High in Los Angeles. Although she enjoyed the job and made many friends, she returned north for graduate studies at UC Berkeley. While there, she became involved with the London Circle Players, a theatre company in Jack London Square established by several friends from COP. It was at an audition there that she met fellow actor Edward Mulvihill, who went on to become her husband of over 54 years. They eventually settled in the valley with their children Patrick, Sandy, and Deanna. In the 1960s, the couple were well known for their involvement on-stage and behind the scenes at Stockton Civic Theatre.
After teaching positions at Lodi High, Clayton Valley High, and Stagg High (where she coached a popular modern dance troupe), in 1968 Dottie accepted a teaching position at Manteca High and the family moved to the new community of Raymus Village. In addition to joining the English Department at MHS, Dottie took on her most cherished role as the new Drama teacher. Over the next three decades, she would establish Thespian Troupe 1507, the Manteca Young Actors Children's Theatre, and the Manteca Community Theatre. She was always especially grateful for the support she received from her new hometown and its business owners, many of whom became dear friends.
Dottie was active with many theatre companies throughout Northern CA as an actress, director, and costumer. She was well known for her one-woman performances, including "The Belle of Amherst" and her series of Women of the West presentations, which she created. She received many awards and honors throughout her teaching and theatre careers, including the Golden Apple Award and induction into the Manteca Hall of Fame. After retirement, MUSD renamed the MHS auditorium the Dorothy Blais Mulvihill Theatre in acknowledgement of her commitment to bringing live theatre to Manteca. Never wishing to slow down, after retirement, Dottie returned to SCT to work, perform, and teach adult and children's acting classes. It was only the onset of Alzheimer's Disease which finally brought an end to her seven decades in the theatre.
Dottie is preceded in death by her husband, Ed; her siblings, Martha and Jim; her brothers-in-law, Milton, Richard, and Tom; and sisters-in-law, Gertrude and Madeline. She is survived by her children, Patrick (Sharron), Sandy (William Badgett), and Deanna; granddaughters, Caitlin and Megan; sister-in-law, Carol Blais; and her nieces and nephews and their families. She also leaves behind many cherished friends and former students.
Dottie will be interred at Cherokee Memorial Park. Due to current circumstances, a celebration of her life will be announced at a later date.
Published in Lodi-News Sentinel from Sep. 12 to Sep. 18, 2020.