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SHERBORN – Dorothea J, Widmayer of Sherborn, Professor Emerita of Biology at Wellesley College, died at home Saturday, March 6, 2021.

Known to many as Dot, she was the daughter of the late Edward and Edith Widmayer of Washington DC and sister of the late Edward Widmayer, Jr..

Dot was born in 1930 and raised in the District of Columbia.

She graduated from Wellesley College in 1952, and after receiving her PhD from Indiana University, she taught briefly at Simmons College before returning to her alma mater.

At Wellesley, Dot enjoyed a long and fulfilling career as a professor of introductory biology and genetics. Her research focused on gene action and expression in the protozoan Paramecium aurelia. Her love of Wellesley made her an active member of the college community, serving on various committees and supporting diverse interests including athletics, the library, and the greenhouses.

A scholar at heart, Dot pursued her interests beyond the college with focus and curiosity. She and her long-time friend, Eleanor Webster, travelled the globe, from the Galapagos to the U.S.S.R., riding elephants in India and chasing total solar eclipses around the world.

Dot and Eleanor were both passionate book collectors and enjoyed sharing that enthusiasm by running their used book business, Retired Books. Dot was an involved and enthusiastic supporter of many organizations. She will be deeply missed by her friends at her church, Unitarian Universalist Area Church at First Parish Sherborn, The Good As New Shop, The Musicians of the Old Post Road, her book club, knitting circle, and by many more groups in which she was a vital participant. Her numerous friends of all ages will truly miss her insight, wit, and stalwart presence.

Dot was predeceased by her nephews Kevin Widmayer and Fred Widmayer, and by her dear friend, Eleanor Webster. Dot is survived by her nephew, Doug Widmayer and his wife, Rayene Lehmann of Costa Rica; her niece, Margaret Fisher and her husband, James Fisher, of Idaho Falls, ID; her niece-in-law Linda Jensen Widmayer, of Friday Harbor, WA; and her goddaughter, Alison Campbell of Natick.

A memorial service will be held via Zoom on Saturday, March 20 at 11 a.m.

A link to the service can be found through the Unitarian Universalist Area Church at First Parish Sherborn website,

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a fund established in Dot’s honor, The Dorothea J. Widmayer ’52 Fund for the Science Center at Wellesley College, or to any of her other enthusiastically supported organizations.

Arrangements by George F. Doherty & Sons.


By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.