Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Dorothea Andes, 86, interior designer

Dorothea Andes, 86, of Villanova and Haverford, an interior designer with a deft touch who used her creative talent to build a company and nurture numerous arts and civic organizations in the city, died Friday, March 6, after a long battle with cancer.

Dorothea Andes
Dorothea AndesRead more

Dorothea Andes, 86, of Villanova and Haverford, an interior designer with a deft touch who used her creative talent to build a company and nurture numerous arts and civic organizations in the city, died Friday, March 6, after a long battle with cancer.

Known lovingly to all who knew her as "Dottebob," she was the wife of prominent businessman and civic leader Charles L. Andes, who last served as chief executive officer of the Franklin Mint in Philadelphia. Charles Andes died in 2006.

A memorial service will be at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 16.Because of their philanthropy and charitable contributions for more than 40 years, the couple's circle of close friends was like a who's who in Philadelphia arts and culture.

"When Chuck was alive, they were as active in helping to raise money and fund-raise for the orchestra and arts organizations as any couple I know," said Richard Worley, 69, of Bryn Mawr, chairman of the board of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and among that circle. "They were very socially active in Philadelphia."

Ann Sorgenti served as a trustee at the Franklin Institute when it was headed by Chuck Andes, and worked with Mrs. Andes on the Central Committee of the Philadelphia Orchestra, which raises money for the orchestra.

Sorgenti and Mrs. Andes helped to organize the Heart Ball, an annual event to raise money for the American Heart Association, in the early 1980s. Sorgenti said Dottebob, as everyone called her, did all the decorating for the ball. Mrs. Andes also became Sorgenti's decorator, redoing her Main Line home, condominium, and eventually her apartment at the Barclay, where Sorgenti currently resides.

"I liked her inner strength," said Sorgenti, whose husband, Harold, was former chairman of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, president of the Academy of Music, and chairman of the board of the Philadelphia Orchestra. "She was a quiet person who had tremendous style but was very low-key about her talents.

"She gave so generously of her talent without recognition, and she was always there when you needed her, or if you needed her."

In addition to the Central Committee of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mrs. Andes was active with the Acorn Club and the Academy of Music. She served as cochair of the Academy's 140th Anniversary Ball. She was also a member of the Philadelphia Country Club, the Merion Cricket Club, and the Acorn Club.

Born Dorothea Roberta Abbott, she adopted "Dottebob," as a child. She was named for her mother's two best friends who never married or had children.

She graduated in 1949 from the Linden Hall school in Lititz, Pa., where she was an art-history major. She and Charles married in 1960. They lived in Haddonfield for about a decade before settling down on the Main Line in 1976 in Villanova, and later Haverford, in 1992.

"She created a great atmosphere for us because we were a blended family," said daughter Page Andes Morocco, 49, of Atlanta. Both spouses had children from a previous marriage. "She was a classic homemaker, and at the same time, would run a business of her own."

Making things aesthetically pleasing would become Mrs. Andes' calling. She became president of her own design company, Sanderling Interiors in Haverford, for more than 30 years.

Morocco, who was the Andeses' only child, said her mother was fully engaged in the business until the end.

"Just last week she was picking out carpet samples for a client and working from her hospital bed," Morocco, who is an interior designer herself, said Saturday. "She had this incredible work ethic."

The Andeses' commitment to arts and culture was just as strong.

"My parents have been incredibly involved in the city and charities," Morocco said. "They were very philanthropic with their time."

After Charles Andes retired from the Franklin Mint, he became chairman of the Franklin Institute, the science museum. Mrs. Andes restored much of the institute's décor, redoing the boardroom and the office spaces.

Morocco said her mother also did many of the centerpieces and décor for the Galaxy Ball at the Franklin Institute and the Acorn Club, a women's club that still exists in Philadelphia.

Mrs. Andes used her creativity to please family and friends as well.

"She would take a pop book, cut out pictures of my family, and put them in the book so they became part of it," Morocco said. "I am going to miss that creative energy that she always had and making things aethestically pleasing, and she could do it with such ease."

Added Worley: "She was a stunningly beautiful woman who was very stylish, and yet had a very warm and friendly manner."

Besides Mrs. Morocco and her husband, Chris, Mrs. Andes is survived by another daughter, Susan A. Frost; two stepdaughters, Elizabeth Andes Bell and Karen Andes; and five grandchildren.

Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mrs. Andes' memory can be made to the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, One South Broad Street, 14th Floor, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107 or the Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19103.