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Dorothy Thornbury Mueller had a way of reinventing herself throughout her life. Teacher, farmer, artist and philanthropist – she was all these things and more.
“It seemed like one week she was teaching in school and then the next she was on a tractor,” says Kathleen Waters Sander, Dorothy’s niece. “But that’s how she was. She always looked forward to trying something new.”
What remained steady throughout her life, though, was her compassion for children and her desire to help them.
Dorothy spent 34 years as a teacher at College Hill School, where she made her mark on the community and its people. “She was a stern task master,” Kathleen recalls, “but the students appreciated and remembered her. She was enthusiastic about life and truly committed to the children.”
Dorothy passed away in August 2011 at age 94. But 15 years earlier, Dorothy made plans to ensure that children would still be cared for after she was gone by establishing a charitable remainder trust. Through the trust, Dorothy received an income stream from the trust assets (and a charitable income tax deduction), and upon her death, the remaining funds established the H. Ansley and Dorothy Mueller Endowed Fund at Cincinnati Children’s. The fund, honoring her late husband, supports chaplaincy and research needs for children being treated in the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute.
Kathleen said she could not think of a more fitting legacy for Dorothy than to direct funds to Cincinnati Children’s.
Though Dorothy and Ansley had no children of their own, they were actively involved in helping kids in their community. One of their favorite traditions was to dress up as Mr. and Mrs. Claus for the kids of Pleasant Plain, Ohio, where they owned a farm. The Muellers gave toys to children who might not have received any Christmas gifts without their generosity.
Dorothy and Ansley spent many wonderful years together on their farm, working it full-time after retirement. Dorothy took up painting late in life, and traveled the United States to find inspiration for her pieces.
Throughout her lifetime, Dorothy’s kindness and dedication to kids had a huge impact on many lives. Thanks to her thoughtful planning, Dorothy’s legacy will continue to change the outcome for children for generations to come.
If you have had an experience with Cincinnati Children's, we invite you to share your story.
Dorothy and H. Ansley Mueller have provided for patients at Cincinnati Children’s through an endowed fund.
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