In Honor of Dorothy Estes, A Life Devoted Unselfishly to Serving Journalism and Student Journalists

We are sad to announce that Dorothy Estes died Jan. 25.  She was an much loved, extraordinary woman who touched the lives of so many incredible journalists, photographers, editors and anyone else who knew her.

She was a dedicated longtime member of the SPJ Fort Worth Professional Chapter serving as its president more than once.  Estes strongly  believed in helping journalism students fund their college education, which led her to assist in establishing the Lina Davis scholarship in the SPJFW Gridiron Educational Foundation.  This provides scholarships annually to students attending Texas universities.  Her accolades and accomplishments could fill the pages of an encyclopedia.

Dorothy Estes and Peaches Sanders at the SPJ Fort Worth First Amendment Awards & Scholarship Banquet, April, 2017. Photo by Bob Booth


Here are the details of her visitation and funeral:

Visitation:  Tuesday, Jan. 30 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Wade Family Funeral Home, 4140 Pioneer Pkwy, Arlington, TX

Funeral:  Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, 2024 S. Collins St., Arlington, TX

Dorothy’s amazing skills and love have inspired numerous former students and friends to post tributes to her in several places such as Facebook.  The UT Arlington student publication, The Shorthorn, published an article/obituary full of quotes from people whose lives were changed by their relationship with Estes.  Some of those tributes and the link to The Shorthorn story are posted below.

Here are some of the tributes posted on Facebook pages:

In April, Dorothy Estes grabbed my hand during a scholarship dinner, pulled my face right up to hers, and didn’t let me go for a full 45 minutes. We gabbed about everything – life, student media, The Shorthorn – and her smile made me feel like the most interesting person in the world. She did that: made you feel like the two of you existed in your own little bubble. She cared deeply and passionately about every person she met and every cause she got behind. I feel so fortunate that Dorothy, a force of nature like none other, pulled me into her bubble whenever we saw each other. She has inspired me to move, to shake and to shape others. Dorothy, former UTA Student Publications director and so much more, died this morning. Her light shines through every student she taught–Beth Francesco, UTA Student Publications Director (The Shorthorn)


Her presence was undeniable. More importantly, she embodied what it meant to be present.—Rebecca Guzman Bosquez, St. Joseph’s Catholic School Communication Director


Every time we saw each other, people said both of our faces just shined with happiness. Dorothy was my inspiration, my savior. When I was in high school, she encouraged me to be not so shy. She changed my plans and told me I had to go to college because I couldn’t go through life being smarter than my boss. Then she got me college and scholarship applications. When I was in college, she hired me first as a grading aide and then to help her prepare materials for the first journalism program on South. Then she encouraged me to go to grad school and helped me negotiate my salary at TCC. She went from teacher, to school mom, to mentor and cheerleader to good friend. At that same dinner Beth mentioned, she told someone she took credit for something I had done or award we had won. I told her that was OK because I gave her credit for everything I’ve ever accomplished professionally. She was and will remain my hero. I always tried to be the same kind of inspiration and mentor to my students.—Eddye Gallagher, former TCC Director of Student Publications (The Collegian)


I am another one who was fortunate to have known Dorothy. I had no idea who she was when Dorothy approached me at my first TIPA conference and told me how impressed she was with the work I was doing with the students at TJC NORTHWEST. I did not know at the time that Dorothy had ties to the community college system. That initial conversation made such an impression to a person who had no clue what to do at the time. It gave me the confidence that I so desperately needed. Dorothy and I stayed in touch from that day. She was a treasure trove of advice. I am so sorry to read about her death. Yet, I am so thankful that I know there is a part of her that will always be with me through the lessons she taught me on how to be a good journalism adviser. God got an AMAZING angel today.—Bob Bajackson, Texas State University –San Marcos  Student Publication Director


Yes, Dorothy and her dear friend Lina Davis put me on the path to a wonderful first career and friendships with some of the people I love most – Jessamy Brown;  Kristin Sullivan, Founding Executive Director at Fort Worth literacy partnership


Rich in wisdom, bountifully compassionate and authentically joyful. Dorothy graced my life and stamped a mark of joy on many people. May her soul rest peacefully among the communion of saints.  –Bill Kula, Senior Managing Partner at The Kula Group


Tough to describe how important an influence Dorothy was in my life and who I have become today. A lot of folks showed me HOW to do journalism. Dorothy taught me a lot about WHY we do journalism. And she would do stuff like leave cans of soup in my mailbox if she thought I wasn’t eating enough.—C.J. Schexnayder, former Shorthorn student


I think Dave Wilson and I may have been her last “recruits” to The Shorthorn in the spring/summer of 1996. She’s the reason I came to UT Arlington, and the reason I’ve had a fulfilling career as a professional writer, both in and out of journalism. She was one of those rare gems of a soul who changed and shaped countless lives through her motherly counsel and by quietly inspiring us all to try a little harder and be a little better. We carry on, doing that work in her memory. God bless her.—Danny Woodward, Executive Director of Executive Communcations at Virginia Commonwealth University


More tributes can be found on The Shorthorn Nation’s Facebook page:

…and here is a link to a wonderful story/obituary in The Shorthorn that honors Dorothy: