To the Memory of Mrs. Dorothy Dyer Vanek (1926–2020)

by Tucson Symphony

Your Tucson Symphony Orchestra notes with sadness the passing of Mrs. Dorothy Dyer Vanek on March 25. Mrs. Vanek had a close relationship with the Orchestra for four decades, including being the presenting sponsor of the Classic Series at the Tucson Music Hall.

José Luis Gomez remembers, “I met Dorothy and Robert Carroll just as I started my tenure as Music Director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and immediately I was captivated by their wonderful life stories. She was so warm-hearted and supportive from Day One—and moreover so passionate and loyal in supporting the arts in Tucson. It is a great loss for this community and we all owe her generosity and love. She will be greatly missed.”

A few years ago, Dorothy recalled her path in music. “I was involved in grade school going to the youth concerts in St. Louis. They taught us about each one of the instruments of the orchestra. I played piano, organ, and sang in choir in church, high school, and college.

“Bob (Robert Vanek, Dorothy’s late husband) and I became involved again with the Philadelphia Orchestra when they were the first to go to China. Bob was in charge of all of the flights for the trip. When we moved to Tucson in 1983, we became supporters and Bob was an Honorary Board member.” Dorothy herself later became an Honorary Council member.

On another visit with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Dorothy remembered her life as a stewardess traveling the world with Bob, an airline executive with American Airlines and subsequently Pan Am. She enjoyed sharing how he was in a photograph with then-President Richard Nixon and the Archbishop of Philadelphia on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The caption stated that Bob, unnamed, was a member of the Secret Service.

President & CEO Steven Haines notes that “In the few months I have been here, one person after another has told me how Dorothy’s love for people and music lit up the lives of our whole Tucson community. Feeling both fond remembrance and sorrow, we join her family, her friends and the people of Tucson in celebrating her life and mourning her death.”