Obituary for Dorothy Southerland Estes
Former UT Arlington Student Publications director and Texas journalism education pioneer Dorothy Estes died peacefully, January 25, 2018 with family at her side.
Funeral: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 31, at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, 2024 S. Collins St., Arlington. Interment: 2:15 p.m. at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, Dallas. Visitation: 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 30, at Wade Family Funeral Home, 4140 W. Pioneer Parkway, Arlington.
During her 50 years as teacher and administrator at the college level, Estes prided herself on the flexibility and adaptability she would need to build a formidable student journalism program at UTA. Under her leadership (1970-1996), the UT Arlington newspaper, The Shorthorn, became celebrated for its reporting and writing, photography, layout and design, ad sales, and adoption of the latest technology. The newspaper won every national and regional award given for college journalism, often more than once — she was proudest of the SPJ Freedom of Information Award (1995) — and placed more than 600 students in the communications workforce. Estes provided the vision and generated the funding for in-house production and daily publication and established a recruiting system involving high schools and community colleges.
In 2003 the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association inducted Estes into its Hall of Fame. Other inductees that year included Bill Moyers and Walter Cronkite. Dorothy’s first teaching job was at Marshall Junior High, where Moyers was her student newspaper editor. She was involved with TIPA since 1967, organized the first live competition in 1971, and was twice named TIPA Adviser of the Year. In 1996 she received a Commendation for Outstanding Service to Academic Journalism on the floor of the Texas Senate.
“Dorothy was incredibly astute and aware,” recalls John H. Ostdick, a 1979 Shorthorn editor. “Among her many strengths was the ability to look inside of people, to inspire them to become their best. Her light cannot be vanquished, as it lives on in so many, whether they became working journalists or probing, well-functioning communicators in whatever field they pursued,” he added.
While at UTA she hired just-graduated John Dycus. “We became the Batman and Robin of Student Publications,” Estes once said in that familiar soft conspiratorial tone. “The thing was, neither one of us ever was sure who was Batman and who was Robin.” Estes guided The Shorthorn through many complicated issues, coverage that received recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists for outstanding investigative reporting. Dycus stated, ”UTA had an excellent recruiting network. Everybody knew Dorothy Estes throughout the state in the journalism business. Prospective students wanted to come to UTA because of Dorothy, because of the quality of the program.”
Dorothy’s philosophy was, “ I function more like a coach than a teacher, but I do not call the plays. The students provide the vision, the energy and the courage; I am responsible for the coffee, the criticism and the comfort. They find events, trends, issues; I offer perspective.”
While attending East Texas Baptist College, she was in a hallway when she literally bumped into the man, fresh from serving with Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific, who would prove her ideal complement until his death in 2013, Emory Estes. After he reached down and gathered her materials, he “stood up, looked at her, and Dorothy was in love.” That moment never left Dorothy.
Dorothy and Emory Estes evolved into a power couple before the term hit the lexicon. Both were accomplished at the highest level of their fields. They shared deep political and civic concerns.
She spent 15 years teaching in public schools, including Poly High School in Fort Worth, Texas Wesleyan University, and Tarrant County College (then Tarrant County Junior College).
After retiring from UT Arlington, Dorothy and Emory travelled the world.
According to Dorothy, “ Having worked with student journalists for more than 50 years, I have boxes of imperfect publications, a directory of competent graduates… and a collection of priceless memories.”
Dorothy is preceded in death by husband, Emory D. Estes Sr., daughter, Linda Elois Estes, and parents Marshall and Sallie Southerland.
Survivors: Dorothy is survived by son, Emory D. Estes III and his wife, Patti; daughter Sharon Estes Daily and her husband, Louis; grandchildren Christopher and Nikki Daily, Ashley and Creighton Tubb, Justin and Amy Jeter, Ross and Nancy Jeter; great grandchildren Jackson and Ardyn Tubb, Kate, Owen, and Reese Jeter, 10 nieces and nephews; and a multitude of close friends and former students.
Wade Family Funeral Home