Dorothy Ann Caswell | Obituaries

December 18, 1938
September 12, 2020

NAPLES, Fla .– Dorothy Ann Cottrell Caswell, 81, passed away peacefully on September 12, 2020.
Born December 18, 1938 in New York, to Eleanor Hildeborg Westberg Cottrell and Donald Peery Cottrell, she moved at the age of 8 to Worthington, Ohio, where she attended University School in Columbus. She then went to Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.
On October 24, 1959, she married Allen Caswell, a foreign service officer, and moved to Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC, where she received her bachelor’s degree from George Washington University.
In 1961, the couple was assigned to the American Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, where she worked as an office secretary.
In November 1962, she returned to Columbus for the birth of her first child, David Alan, born November 28. During a second tour of duty in Washington, his second son, Bruce Leland, was born on January 11, 1966. Shortly thereafter, they were posted to Dakar, Senegal, West Africa. A year later, they decided for family reasons to leave the foreign service and returned to the United States. They then established their home in Oneonta, where Allen was employed at SUNY.
For Dorothy, moving to Oneonta opened up several avenues for personal development, including opportunities to: develop a career in arts administration; study music and gain experience in theatrical performance; and, to practice and hone his latent skills as an artist, especially in liturgical painting.
Shortly after arriving at Oneonta, university professor and aspiring impresario Peter Macris told him about his ambitious visions for the promotion of music and theater in our region. Their subsequent collaboration began first with the Community Chorale (later called the Catskill Choral Society) where she was co-founder and principal president (1970-76), then Glimmerglass Opera Theater (as it was first called) where she was first general manager (1975 -78), and finally Orpheus Theater where she is associate producer (1984-91). His years of training with Glimmerglass have proven to be both challenging and rewarding. Like so many women around this time, she faced the many extraordinary challenges of “living in a man’s world”, but luckily she found paramount satisfaction in what she described leaving Glimmerglass as “the rewards. lasting to just be involved in creating something beautiful and worthwhile. “In Opera’s schedule for its fourth season, Dorothy was recognized for her” full four years of demanding work and all that needed to be done , including sewing costumes, soothing hurt feelings, handing out posters, putting on makeup, typing until dawn, and generally holding things together.
Dorothy then became Executive Director of the Upper Catskill Community Council of the Arts (UCCCA). At UCCCA, she moved the headquarters from the SUNY campus to Wilber Mansion in the center of the community and organized the Catskill Arts Consortium (1978-83) to jointly and successfully seek funding from the New York State Council on the Arts under Kitty Carlisle, who described the consortium as a “truly creative fundraiser for the arts.” He has helped provide a vital and timely financial boost to four local musical organizations, including the Opera House and the Catskill Symphony. Dorothy’s determined purpose in every organization she managed was to help ensure that it was structured to last, that its survival did not depend on one person but rather on a community of committed individuals working together. It was being associated with so many devoted and devoted friends in the community that she derived her greatest pleasure.
At SUNY, Dorothy has taken numerous courses in music theory, music history and singing, while participating in the opera workshop and performing in numerous musical theater productions. She has sung in the choir of the Glimmerglass Opera in more than 170 performances and has performed numerous roles of lead singer in productions of the Orpheus Theater. A highlight for her was performing solo with the Catskill Symphony in Frank Lloyd Weber’s “Requiem”. She also played a lead role in a series of films on WSKG-TV called “Susquehanna Stories” (1990). Dorothy was also active in community service. For several years, she was a representative on the regional council of the New York State Health Systems Agency, a member of the selection committee for the Military Academy of MP Sherwood Boehlert (1993-2006) and a member of the board of directors of the Otsego. County Tourist Board (1987-90).
Dorothy’s motivation and accomplishments were her lifelong deep quest for spiritual connection, meaning and peace. In its later years this resulted in the creation of numerous liturgical paintings, including large banners 20 feet high by 5 feet wide for each liturgical season to hang in the sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church. In this, Linda Clemow’s instructions and encouragement have been invaluable. On several occasions, she wrote the screenplay and directed reenactments of Good Friday performed in the sanctuary of the church. In church, Reverend Bill Bouten has provided his unlimited empathy and spiritual support for many years.
While pursuing these many opportunities, Dorothy has managed to engage her growing children while fostering their own interests as only a dedicated mother could. As with her professional and community interests, she brought the same spirit, creativity, empathy and the same love (not to mention a wonderful sense of humor) to her role as mother and wife. Therefore, the family home always had creative plans in various stages of completion, beautiful music and the smells of favorite family recipes often filled the air, and provided a warm and welcoming environment for dear friends, the compatriots of his teenage sons and the many students linked to Allen’s work at SUCO. In her diary, Dorothy summed it up, writing: “I wanted to bring music, theater, the arts to life for everyone – what an impossible goal! Impossible perhaps, but it turned out to be worth pursuing.
Dorothy is survived by her husband, Allen; his son, David, and his children, Daniel and Violet and their mother, Michele Caswell; and his son Bruce, his wife Lauren Deichman and their three boys Ben, Charlie and Sam.
On Saturday October 23, instead of the funeral that the coronavirus pandemic prevented, a private memorial service for family and friends will be held at the First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in Oneonta where his remains will be placed in the columbarium of the ‘church. .
Those interested in participating in person or virtually via Zoom should call FUMC at 607-432-4102.
Condolences to his family can be sent by email to [email protected] or by mail to 7900 Arlington Circle, Apt. 418, Naples, Florida 34113.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to any of the arts organizations she helped found, the First United Methodist Church, or any other charity the donor wishes.

Published on October 13, 2021


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