October 14, 1997
I just visited on the telephone with Doris Rodolph and learned that she is leaving shortly for an extended visit with her sister in Odessa, Texas. Doris has not been feeling well for quite sometime and she says the visit may become a permanent move, but that is not a certainty. If she stays in Odessa, our community will be deprived of a gifted musical artist and certainly one of my favorite people.
Doris has become something of an institution in Perry. The Methodist church, where she has served faithfully as organist for several decades, recently honored her with a special "day," and it was a well-deserved tribute. Doris has provided beautiful music for worship services, weddings and many other special occasions since the late 1930s, and you do not easily replace someone with her level of talent. She also has been pianist for both the Rotary Club and Lions Club through the years and both organizations probably consider her to be at least a member emeritus.
My own association with Doris goes back a few years. She was a close friend of my colleague at The Perry Daily Journal, Jane Schneider, when Jane and I started working there in 1941. Doris was a music teacher at Perry High School then, and another of her buddies was a teacher named Reta Pinkstaff. Those three young ladies were among the charter members of the Delta Nu Club, an organization devoted to small talk and good fun for some of the single gals in town. It was war time and young bachelors were in short supply, but the Delta Nus made the best of it by creating their own good times.
Doris also directed some memorable musical productions at PHS, including a few operettas, and that makes me wonder why we don't see things like that any more. Maybe it's because she was so good at recruiting some hairy-legged boys to sing on stage with a few of the town's talented young girl singers, like Lois Magee (Severe) and others. Today, Lois and Doris are close friends who have collaborated on some great music at the Methodist church and elsewhere through the years.
Back in the 1950s, Doris and I were active in the Perry Community Concert Association, which endeavored to bring a few nationally known musical stars to this city through a membership subscription organization. Some of our attractions were budding divas destined for greater things with the Metropolitan Opera, but the one I remember best is Susan Reed. She was a young folksinger who provided her own accompaniment on instruments like the zither. On the night of Miss Reed's concert in Perry, Doris and I had the pleasure of escorting her on a tour of the town, including a refreshment stop at one of the downtown cafes. Miss Reed was on the way to stardom in her field and she was already a performer with national stature at the time, but she proved to be a really folksy, down to earth young lady as we showed her the sights of Perry that night. I still have her autographed 8X10 glossy somewhere.
Whatever the future holds for Doris, this town wishes her good health and good fortune. If that means she will no longer be a part .of the community, that will be hard to accept, but I know she has left an indelible, lyrical imprint that will last a long, long time. Best wishes to you, Doris, and thanks for all the memories you have given us.