Dorothy Dyer Vanek – Obituary

Dorothy Dyer Vanek was born in St. Louis, Missouri on July 2, 1926, and grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri.  A graduate of Webster Groves High School and Central Airlines School in Kansas City, she attended Ward Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee and transferred to Washington University in St. Louis to study architecture, art and music. She worked first as a dental assistant, and then as an airline hostess for Capital airlines in Chicago. She married Robert Vanek in 1950, an airline industry executive. They lived in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Guam, San Francisco and Morocco, making Tucson their retirement home.

Dorothy’s guiding values were philanthropy, education and the arts, and she inspired others with her distinguished record of service and philanthropy.  She was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, life member of Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority, Pan American World Airlines Retirees Association, Missouri Historical Society, and the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She was a major benefactor of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, True Concord Voices & Orchestra, Southern Arizona Symphony, Interfaith Community Services, College of the Ozarks, Pan American World Airlines Foundation, Cottey College, and the American Red Cross. Dorothy’s charitable heart, work and generosity have had a ripple effect across the cultural landscape of Tucson and beyond. She supported and encouraged the creation of new artistic programs and groups, as well as affirming and assisting existing organizations to grow and flourish.

She was preceded in death by her husband Robert Vanek, brother John Dyer, and daughters Deborah Butler and Nancy Vanek. She is survived by Robert Carroll,  grandsons Brian Butler (Jennifer) and Michael Considine (Megan), granddaughter Jennifer Bias (Randall), and five great-grandchildren, all of Dallas, Texas, and niece, Becky Kaiser of Orlando, Florida.

A celebration of life will be held at a future date. Private burial in St. Louis, Missouri.

Memorial gifts may be given to Interfaith Community Services, to True Concord, designated for the Dorothy Dyer Vanek Fund for Excellence, or to a charity of your choice.

Read True Concord’s Remembrance of Dorothy Vanek here.