Dorothea Manning Liddell
Dec. 24, 1923 - May 23, 2020
Dorothea "Teddy" Liddell the former principal of Notre Dame School died Saturday, May 23, 2020, at home in Long Beach at 96, some 12 years after the passing of her husband, Dr. Charles Liddell, a local surgeon.
In 1965 Liddell began to teach as a substitute at Notre Dame. In 1968 she was asked to teach math full time to grades 4 through 8. She prepared herself to teach the "New Math" by taking classes simultaneously at Purdue North Central, telling her 8th grade students, "I'm just one day ahead of you." One of those students was John Roberts, now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
After three years Liddell became principal of Notre Dame in 1971 and the school thrived during her five years in that role. She is remembered fondly by many former students in the community who experienced her leadership, warmth and spirit.
"She was a disciplinarian, but was fair, compassionate, and always willing to share a smile," former student Patti Repenn remembered. "She made it clear that she believed in us and she challenged us to believe in ourselves."
Liddell was the first lay woman principal in the Diocese of Gary.
Executive Director of the Marquette Foundation from 1977-1988, Liddell raised over a million dollars for the support of the Catholic high school in Michigan City. Well known for her ability to cajole major donors she also for years organized volunteers who raised funds by collecting receipts from shoppers at Al's Supermarket stores. Al Pontius, founder and owner, made a cash donation to the Foundation each month based on the total purchases of any Marquette supporters who left their receipts in a box at checkout.
Angeline Benz, a former teacher at Marquette, said, "She worked tirelessly to secure funds for the stabilization of excellence at the school."
Liddell would say, "Every job I've had is because they couldn't find anyone else."
Evangeline Dorothea Miller Manning was born on Christmas Eve, 1923, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Edward Anthony Manning and Susanna Meakim Manning. She grew up in the suburb of Norwood, a ten-minute trolley ride to downtown Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania from which she graduated in 1946, majoring in Education. She then worked at Penn as a reference librarian and eventually as an administrator for the university's Catholic Newman Center, before agreeing to a blind date in 1949 with a career Army officer, Charles Liddell. They were married at West Point in 1950.
Her path to Michigan City was circuitous. Her husband shared an apartment at West Point with a young surgeon from Michigan City, Dr. Jack Kerrigan, both of them responsible for cadet medical care. Soon after marrying, Dr. Liddell was posted to Korea, a surgeon in a mobile operating hospital, commonly known as a MASH unit. She remained at the Presidio, an Army base in San Francisco, until he returned, then followed him to Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Kerrigan knew they were thinking of leaving the Army and encouraged them to move to Michigan City. With some trepidation the girl from Philadelphia agreed, arriving in 1956. Though she came to love the town and its people she was known to say, "I had heard of Indiana, but didn't know anyone lived there."
Liddell is a past president of the Service League of Michigan City, an organization that loans medical equipment free of charge. She served as the Secretary of the Friends of the (Michigan City) Library. She and Marge Kerrigan, wife of Dr. Jack Kerrigan, founded the St. Anthony Guild which has provided volunteers to the local hospital for over fifty years.
She was an active member of a local chapter of P.E.O., an organization which promotes the advancement of women through education, as well as Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional society for women educators. She maintained a relationship with her sorority at Penn, Alpha Chi Omega, and was a member of Questers, dedicated to historical preservation.
Liddell was an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs, rarely missing a televised game. At 92 years of age she traveled with her grandsons to Cleveland to attend Game 6 of the World Series on a cold November night.
She maintained a busy household on the beach to the end, filled with caregivers, family and friends, but managed to avoid significant illness. As her husband would have said, "The cause of death was old age."
A wonderful mother along with her active work life, Liddell is survived by her three daughters, Susan Liddell Colson of Cleveland, Ohio, and Valparaiso, Indiana; Florence (Thomas) Dewitt of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Sarah (Robert) Thompson of Long Beach, Indiana and Riverside, Illinois; and by her two sons, Ned (Bonnie) Liddell of Sutton, Massachusetts; and Robert (Marti) Liddell of Seattle, Washington; and by her sixteen grandchildren Theresa (Alan) Mooney, Ned (Valerie) Colson, John (Susan) Colson, Keally Dewitt, William Dewitt, David Dewitt, Charles (Carlie) Liddell, Kathryn (Chris) Johnson, Bridget Liddell, Emily Kubick, Rachel Liddell, Clare Liddell, Brendan Thompson, Maddie Thompson, Jack Thompson and Emma Thompson; and three great-grandchildren, Robert Colson, Evan Colson, and Elizabeth Colson.
The family will be forever grateful to Liddell's three primary caregivers, Diana Johns, Angela Fischer and Tammie Rogers, and to the wonderful team from Dunes Hospice, about whom not enough can be said.
Due to the pandemic a private funeral was conducted at Ott/Haverstock Funeral Chapel
by Father Kevin Huber. A memorial Mass at Notre Dame Church will follow when it is safer to travel.
Contributions may be made to Notre Dame School, 1000 Moore Rd, Michigan City, IN,
46360; Marquette High School Foundation, c/o President Doug Bobillo, 306 W. 10th Street, Michigan City, IN, 46360; P.E.O. International c/o President Joyce Dolton, 2939 Oakwood Avenue, Michigan City, IN, 46360; or Dunes Hospice Foundation, 4711 Evans Avenue, Valparaiso, IN, 46383.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dorothea Manning Liddell, please visit our floral store.