Dorothy-Lee Jones Ward, formerly of Wellesley, Mass and Sebago, Maine, passed away In Nashville, Tennessee on August 4th, 2022, after a decline due to Alzheimer’s. She was 95.
Dorothy-Lee attended The Winsor School in Boston, graduated from Erskine Junior College and took courses at Boston University. While in college she started an antiques business, The Glass Basket, in Douglas Hill (Sebago), Maine. The Glass Basket was very successful, attracting visitors from all over the world and helping her build a reputation as an expert in both antique glass and ceramics.
An early avocation of Dorothy-Lee’s was music, and she trained with Maestro Alberto Saretti in New York in the 1950s and early 1960s. She was a wonderful mezzo soprano, performing in both New York and Boston as well as part of the choir at Park Street Church in Boston.
Dorothy-Lee was very active in a variety of volunteer organizations for decades. They included music-related non-profits in Boston and the Friends of The Deaconess Hospital in the 1960s and 70s. She was President of the Friends at one time and was the buyer for their very successful gift shop.
Dorothy-Lee’s real passion though, was glass and ceramics; even as a child she loved seeing interesting antiques. Lowell Innes was a prominent expert on American glass and good friend of her mother’s and helped to fuel her life-long interest. She was active in many collector organizations, including the China Students Club of Boston (now the Ceramics Study Club of Boston), the Wedgwood Society of Boston and the National (Early) American Glass Club, of which she was President (1965-1967) and editor of the Bulletin (1967-1973). Recognizing her accomplishments in the world of glass, she was invited to become an Honorary Fellow of the Corning Museum of Glass, a prestigious group of international experts.
After nearly 30 years running her successful antique shop in Douglas Hill, Maine, she embarked on a daunting task when she founded The Study Gallery: A Museum of Glass and Ceramics in 1978. Wanting to showcase the history and beauty of both glass and ceramics, she loaned her personal collection, alongside gifts and acquisitions by the museum, on display to the public from May to October. While the name was later changed to the Jones Museum of Glass and Ceramics, she acted as Founder-curator and Director for many years. She had had hopes of revitalizing the organization after it was dissolved in the mid-2000s but was regretfully unable to do so.
She had a passion for research and always enjoyed questions about glass and ceramics. When faced with a question from a museum visitor, she would likely drop everything, rush to the well-stocked, reference library and look up details on the piece in question. Despite dyslexia, diagnosed in her 40s, she had a near-photographic memory that allowed her to instantly locate specific images in reference books. She lectured at museums, clubs and symposiums all over the US, and published many articles in a number of glass and ceramics publications. Even when moving into a retirement apartment in 2010, she brought books and pieces with her hoping to work on continuing research.
Her enthusiasm and energy spilled over into other interests as well. She was an avid fan of ice skating and was a member of the Skating Club of Boston, enjoying many trips to skating competitions and exhibitions with her family and other Skating Club members. Dorothy-Lee and her husband Lauriston also were able to go on international trips over the years. Sometimes the trips were glass and ceramic-related, and other times were just to see new and beautiful places.
Dorothy-Lee’s life-long joy was in communicating her love, and knowledge, of glass and ceramics. Her dedication to all things of beauty will be missed. She was predeceased by her husband, Lauriston Ward, Jr. and her parents Kathryn and Harry Lee Jones of Newton, Mass. She is survived by her daughter, Lyra Ward Hankins of Nashville, Tennessee.
A memorial service will be held at Doherty’s Funeral Home, 477 Washington St., Wellesley, Mass. on Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 1 pm.
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