Remembering Dorothy Lee

Remembering Dorothy Lee

By Terry Gallegos, President, Quilt For A Cause, Inc.


Dorothy Lee

In 2002, Dorothy Lee was a member of the Steering Committee for Quilt For a Cause when it was a goal of Jeannie (Beahan) Coleman and Carol Zupancic to help women who had been affected by breast cancer or gynecological cancer.  The group wanted to show support to those women and thought about using quilts to assist in that effort.  With the assistance of the Tucson Quilters Guild, the first Live and Silent Auction of Quilts happened on November 15, 2003. The fundraising effort realized enough money to donate to two organizations that supported their mission, Dr. Joel Childers’ Memorial Fund, part of Tucson Medical Center Foundation, and The American Cancer Society for breast cancer research.  They raised $53,000 and gave it all away!  Six of the 208 quilts in the auction were donated by Dorothy Lee.

Dorothy staffing QFaC’s pattern table

Serving as a member of the Quilt For a Cause, Inc. Board of Directors after they became an incorporated, non-profit organization, Dorothy supported the effort by making quilts and donating them for subsequent auctions in 2006, 2009 and 2013. As the emphasis began to focus on patterns to sell as fundraisers, she made several quilts that became samples to display for the various patterns.  Her friend, Saw-Peng Laracuente, quilted many of the tops that Dorothy made for Quilt For a Cause.  Dorothy used Asian fabrics to make the quilts, giving a new and different look for each pattern. Those quilts are still used as samples for the pattern sales. Her work often included quilts made from fabrics that featured characters from the Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schultz, creating fun and whimsical pieces.

Dorothy Lee served as the Vendor Co-Chairperson for Tucson Quilters Guild Quilt Show planning committee for many years. She worked to organize the merchants who displayed and sold their products at the show.  She was a member of the Pacific Rim Quilt Bee, making quilts inspired with Asian themes, in the fabric and the quilting designs.

Waiting by Janet Pugh, 2016 Winner of the  Dorothy Lee Memorial Award

Dorothy was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and, sadly, she passed way very soon after her diagnosis.  She resigned from the Board of Directors of Quilt For a Cause by saying that, now I am the one in need of help, as we have helped others.  Because of her involvement with these three quilting groups, a proposal was made, to the Tucson Quilters Guild, to create an award to honor her memory.  With permission from her family, the Dorothy Lee Memorial Award was established to be presented annually at the Tucson Quilters Guild Quilt Show Fiesta.  It was decided to give this ribbon award for five years, in her honor.   One member from each organization, Quilt For a Cause, Tucson Quilters Guild and the Pacific Rim Quilting Bee, would be a committee to review all of the quilts and select a recipient based on these guidelines:

To choose one quilt to receive the award that they consider to best exemplify the criteria that highlights Dorothy’s Asian heritage in any of the following ways:

Tranquility by Gloria Bifulk, 2018 Winner

  • Includes Asian-inspired fabric
  • Uses an Asian technique in the design or quilting
  • Has an Asian theme
  • Includes Asian-style symbols or art

Members of the Pacific Rim Quilting Bee designed and made the ribbon toppers in a large square, turned on point with an antique gold Asian background, bound with black fabric and with a striking Asian symbol embroidered in the center of it.  The Quilt Fiesta Ribbon Committee donated the ribbons attached to the topper with the identification of the award and the year it was given. In 2016 and 2017, the first and second years of the award, Janet Pugh was the recipient of the Dorothy Lee Memorial Award ribbon for her quilts Waiting and Japanese Sampler respectively.  The third year of the award went to Gloria Bifulk for her quilt, Tranquility.  The fourth year, the award went to Regina Bechard for her quilt:  A Celebration of Happiness, Harmony and Love.


A Celebration of Happiness, Harmony and Love by Regina Bechard, 2019 Winner.

The fifth and final year of the Dorothy Lee Memorial Award will be selected from the quilts at the Tucson Quilt Fiesta in February, 2020.  Dorothy was the maker of numerous fabulous quilts, an inspiration to so many in the quilting world, a kind and generous person and someone who shall be remembered for her work with the three organizations that have continued to honor her in this prestigious way.





Previous Articles:
Remembering Dorothy Lee
Carol Carpenter The Maker of Quilts
My Quilt For a Cause Journey
Quilts Around Town Extend QFAC Outreach
Happy Birds
Elaine Romanelli – Love of Sewing Brings Great Volunteer Opportunities
Star Shower Wins at Road to California
2018 A Year in Review
Out and About Fighting Cancer
Holiday Gift Giving Plan
Making Quilts for Quilt for a Cause
Successful exhibition at Tucson Botanical Gardens Closes
Christmas in July
A Garden of Quilts continue
A Garden of Quilts May 2018
A Garden of Quilts April 2018
Quilt For a Cause Makes a Difference
Successful Road2CA Trip
2018 Exciting Year Ahead
2017 It was a very good year!
Happy Birthday St. Elizabeth Health Center
Thank You – Quilts in the Garden Success!
Jeannie Dank Coleman
Quilts in the Garden September Event
Quilt For A Cause – Encourages more board members
June 2017  Activities
May 2017  Activities
April 2017 Updated Activities
April 2017 Activities
March 2017 Activities
February 2017 Activities
January 2017 Activities
December 2016 Activities
September 2016 Activities
August 2016 Activities
July 2016 Activities
March 2016 Activities
Tucson Quilters Guild – 2016 Quilt Fiesta!
Suzanne Irving and The Warm Company
Quilts in the Garden Event October 2015
Gabby Giffords 2015

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