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Dorothy K. Magadieu

February 28, 1938 - March 30, 2024

A celebration of Dorothy’s life will be held at a later date.

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Dorothy Magadieu, 86, of Worcester, MA, passed away on March 30, 2024. She was a longtime resident of Sherborn, MA and Southport, ME.

Dorothy was born February 28, 1938 to Eugene and Fannie (Wise) Kortjohn of Pelham, New York. She leaves an identical twin sister, Lillian Thibodeau, of Venice, CA, and four children, John Magadieu and his wife, Cheryl, of Franklin, MA; Catherine Magadieu Sagui and her husband, Claudio, of Binago, Italy; Thomas Magadieu and his wife, Nancy, of Falmouth, ME; and Carol Zeroual of Boxborough, MA. 

She also leaves eight grandchildren, Nicole Sagui of Eugene, OR, Michelle Sagui of Binago, Italy, Holly and Emily Magadieu of Franklin, MA, Sophie and Gabriel Magadieu of Falmouth, ME, and Anissa and Rayane Zeroual of Boxboough, MA. She also leaves numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Dorothy was married 52 years to her late husband, Walter Richard Magadieu, who died in 2013.  

Dorothy graduated from Pelham High School and received a bachelor’s degree from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, VA. While living in Basking Ridge, NJ in the 1970s, Dorothy worked as a technical editor for Praxis Consultants in Morristown and as an editor for the AT&T sales training center in New Brunswick.

After moving to Sherborn in 1976, she went on to earn a master’s degree in educational media and technology from Boston University, where she was elected to the Pi Lambda Theta honorary and professional association in education. Her studies at BU ignited her passion for artistic expression through photography.

Dorothy delved into the medium, taking photography classes at the Project Arts Center in Cambridge, MA, and engaging in numerous photography workshops. She won a portfolio award and resident work grant from the Maine Photographic Workshop for its 10th anniversary exhibit at the 80 Washington Street East Galleries in New York City, NY. And she won a landscape award and workshop scholarship in the 1989 Maine Photographic Workshop slide and print competition.

Dorothy also received Massachusetts Arts Lottery grants for her photographic work in 1989 and 1990. She served on the advisory board for the Cambridge Arts Council-sponsored Cambridge Women’s Oral History Project, helping to develop a multi-generational oral history presentation documenting the life experiences of older women from diverse ethnic and cultural traditions. Dorothy conducted archival research for historic photographs, contributed original photographs for the slide-tape show, and designed a guidebook to be used as a resource for others planning oral history projects.

Dorothy’s early work was primarily in traditional black and white photography. She went on to experiment with infrared photography and the alternative process of mordancage using photographs that she made while traveling. In later years, she embraced the process of digital photography.

In the early 1990s, Dorothy received a grant to document Sherborn’s publicly accessible conservation land. Her photographs were exhibited at the Sherborn Public Library and published in a book, “Sherborn Walks”, authored by Arthur Schnure in conjunction with Sherborn’s 325th anniversary celebration in 1999.

Dorothy also had photographs published in the book, “Echo & Spark”, works from the 4×4 Poet and Artist Collaborative, a group of poets and visual artists who found inspiration for their own work in the work of each other.

She was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel, visiting 33 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Some of those journeys were excursions with a photography group led by Ron Rosenstock, with follow-up exhibits of their work.

In a write-up for Photography Atelier, Dorothy said, “Experiencing unfamiliar customs and cultures is always of great interest to me. Travel heightens my awareness of the way we all work to create for ourselves a comfortable space in the world. I find that no matter how the conditions of our lives differ, our human bond is evident in the ordinary rituals of daily routine, in what we create and what we discard, and in the mementos that we keep and treasure. My subject matter may be diverse, but in all of my photographs, appreciation of a shared humanity is the underlying theme.”

Dorothy has shown her photographs throughout New England at venues as formal as the DeCordova, Danforth and Fitchburg Art Museums, and as informal as the Clever Monk Coffeehouse in South Natick, MA and the Sprinkler Factory Gallery in Worcester. Her work has also been displayed at galleries in New York City and La Paz, Bolivia, and at college and municipal libraries throughout Massachusetts and Maine, Her work was shown often at the Maine Art Gallery in Wiscasset. 

Dorothy’s greatest joy was the time spent with her family. Her home on Pratt’s Island in Southport, ME, was a favorite family gathering spot in summer and during the winter holidays. She loved going on adventures, typically with camera-in-hand, with her children, grandchildren, sister and late husband. She also had an avid interest in genealogy and traveled with her sister, children and grandchildren to track down information about the family’s history. 

Dorothy will be remembered by those closest to her for her loving and generous devotion to her family, her keen wit and intellect, her fiercely competitive countenance in word-gaming (she was a formidable foe at Scrabble), and her compassion and concern for others.

A celebration of Dorothy’s life will be held at a later date. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Dorothy’s memory to the daughter house of the Benedictine Sisters of Mount Saint Scholastica, Mosteiro Santa Maria Mãe de Deus, Rua Quinze, 76 – Quadra 54 Lote 7 – Centro, Mineiros, GO – Cep: 75830-000, Brazil.