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Dorothy (Knight) Wilkie (1926-2017)
Church, children, and pie-making prized

by Margaret Marten
January/February 2018 Issue

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Dorothy (Knight) Wilkie
Photo © Thomas Brown

Longtime Harrison West resident Dorothy J. (Knight) Wilkie passed away on November 30, 2017, at Riverside Hospital after suffering a stroke in her home the previous week. She was 91.

Born at St. Ann’s Hospital in Columbus, on August 2, 1926, to Ruth and Albert Wilkie, she was the eldest of seven children and grew up on the east side, living on McAllister Avenue, and attending East High School.

Dorothy was a devoted mother to her two daughters, Cindy and Candy. Following a brief marriage, she worked for the Kroger Company Bakery Plant on Cleveland Avenue for 30 years before retiring in 1983. Dorothy was a member of the Columbus First Brethren Church on W. Third Avenue for over 60 years, and the oldest living member when it closed in August 2017.

Thomas Brown, who grew up in Harrison West and was a fellow congregant at First Brethren, described her as motherly. “She had a kindness about her,” he said. “All of those women who went there were like second mothers. They looked out for us kids. Not only because they knew us from the neighborhood, but also because they had this connection with us at the church. They kind of made sure we stayed out of trouble,” he added with a laugh.

“If you started to do something bad, and you thought you were getting away with it because your mother wasn’t around, well you know, there were other eyes.”

In her free time, Dorothy enjoyed baking (particularly pies), knitting, crocheting, and playing bingo at the Gillie Community Senior Center where she devoted time to arts and crafts and enjoyed excursions with friends at the center.

In an interview about the church and the late Pastor Richard Morris (for his obituary published in the Nov/Dec ‘17 Gazette), Dorothy mentioned that she always made the pies and rolls for the congregation and that Pastor Morris loved chocolate peanut butter pie. “I got a lot of memories from that church,” she said. Her story about Pastor Morris and the missing chocolate peanut butter pie (that we promised not to print) made it clear that her pies were highly prized.

Dorothy taught pie-making to the Boys Brigade at one time, a neighborhood group Morris organized. One boy was especially pleased with the outcome. “It was Cherry Delight,” she recalled. Although the electric mixer scared him at first, Dorothy told him to place his hands over hers. It did the trick.

“He said, you can take your hands off now, I’m all right.” After mixing it up, they put the cherries on top. “That boy carried the pie around like it was a treasure or something,” she said. “And he still makes that pie after all these years.”

Dorothy is survived by her daughters Cynthia Cochran and Candace (Garfield) Dingess; sister Thelma Meade, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by brothers Raymond, William and Charles; sisters Roberta and Anna Mae.

© 2018 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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