Ruth “Petie” Dodrill, Class of H'94

Posted Oct 05, 2021

Dodrill Petie Obit Pic

Ruth “Petie” Dodrill H’94 died Aug.26, 2021. Petie was born Feb. 7, 1929 in West Chester, Pennsylvania to the late Edith and Clarence Johnson. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Penn State University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theater from Ohio University. Petie was the costume designer for over 100 productions at the Otterbein College Theatre; she introduced Children’s Theatre to the Otterbein and Westerville community in 1962, directing 26 Children’s Theatre productions. Petie loved the theater: acting, teaching, designing, and directing in high school, college, and community theaters. She shared this passion and the love of travel with her husband of 48 years, Dr. Charles Dodrill, who passed away in 2003. Together they helped create one of the most preeminent theater programs in the nation over their three decades working together.

For creating a legacy of inspiration, community, and creativity at Otterbein, Petie received Otterbein’s Women’s Club Woman of the Year Award in 1979, and an Honorary Alumna degree from Otterbein University in 1994. Petie was the Director of the Speech and Theater Department at Gahanna Lincoln High School where she taught for 30 years and served as the director and designer for over 35 productions. Deeply engaged with arts and lifelong learning, Petie read voraciously, painted, traveled and audited numerous classes at Otterbein University. She shared her love of the written word with the broader community into her 90s in two book clubs, reading to first graders at McVay Elementary School for 12 years, performing on VOICEcorps live radio channel, and directing plays for Curtain Players and SRO Theater Company. She was also deeply involved with the Otterbein University Advisory Board as a dedicated board member and contributor.

Petie was blessed with three children: Tracy (Andy) Foster, Brad (Bethany) Dodrill and Trish (Tony) Garrison. Six grandchildren: Kate and Megan Foster, Lindsay Dorka and Matt Dodrill, Jake and Savannah Garrison, and one great granddaughter Reese Dorka. Petie so loved sharing in all their busy lives – her family was the greatest pride and joy of her life.