Dorothy Brightbill

Dorothy Lambert Henderson Brightbill, 95, died peacefully Dec. 25, 2003, at Careage of Whidbey.

She was born Jan. 4, 1908, in New York City to Arthur and Madeleine Henderson. She was the oldest of four children; she had two brothers, Robert and Arthur, and a sister, Margaret, who died at age 7 of diphtheria. When she was a child, the family lived with her maternal grandparents, Michael and Marguerite Mauderer, at Pelham Bay, N.Y. Her grandfather built and rented boats and canoes in the summer, and as a child she helped her grandfather with the boats. She loved to swim.

She attended New York schools, and after graduation worked for Street & Phinney, an advertising agency in New York, until she married Joseph Trumm.

In 1927 they had a child, Dorothy Catherine Collins. She was a stay-at-home mom until her daughter was a teenager. She then began design and interior work for Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, House Beautiful, Country Living and other magazines. Most of her career was with American Home magazine, where she was the pattern editor and a do-it-yourself specialist. Her excellent color sense and knowledge in her field made her a popular speaker, and she traveled around the country doing publicity for the magazine. She also did demonstrations of many art skills and creative design for conferences and conventions, and she frequently appeared on radio and television.

Her husband, Joseph, died in 1959.

She retired to Maine and lived on Westport Island in a house that suited her love of 18th century antiques. After her husband Chet died in 1994, she moved to Langley to be near her daughter and her husband as well as their three children and four granddaughters.

Following a Christmas gathering on Whidbey, the family had a remembrance ceremony of her unique and varied life. The family said she was a woman ahead of her time in business, styles of dress and home design, and she was a precursor of many home decoration and personal enhancement programs now popular in magazines and on television.

The family said that during the past three years she was treated with respect and affection by the staff at Careage of Whidbey.