Dorothy Ruth Purkiss Linke was born on October 5,1921, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She earned her BA from Chatham College in Pittsburgh and her MS and EdS from Butler University in Indianapolis. She moved to Indianapolis in 1943. Until her retirement in 1982, she had been a teacher for 16 years, teaching at schools #33 and # 101 and then served as a reading consultant for 13 years with Indianapolis Public Schools.
When Dorothy retired, she promised herself that she would develop a daily and weekly schedule to provide a reason for living each hour of the day. What evolved is being a volunteer 1,000 + hours a year through organizations such as Lighthouse Mission, Alpha Delta Kappa, Beta Chapter (honorary teachers’ sorority); Historic Landmarks of Indiana, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Lutheran Brotherhood, and the American Legion Auxiliary.
Serving others began at an early age for Dorothy. She played the piano for Sunday school in Pittsburgh from age 10 until she entered college. She has taught Sunday school for over 40 years. She currently teaches Vacation Bible School at two Lutheran Churches during the summer. Linke is the altruistic chairman for Alpha Delta Kappa and thus spearheads the collection of many items and money for community service organizations.
Dorothy is always collecting items. She hands out lists to help others remember what service agencies can use. You will find her family room crowded with bags of sugar for Lighthouse Mission, earning her the title “Sugar lady” from Mission Director Bob Goodrum, personal hygiene items for the Salvation Army Shelter for battered women, or peanut butter for the John D. Hughes Community Center. When people pass away, their family members know that Dorothy will make the best disbursement of their clothing.
With Dorothy, nothing is wasted. Children at the Morris-Butler House turn greeting cards into Victorian Christmas ornaments. Campbell’s soup labels go to Cedar Lake Lodge in LaGrange, Kentucky to buy educational and recreational items for mentally challenged adults. Eyeglass lenses, frames and cases go to the Lion’s Club for those in need in Guatemala. Soft drink pull-tabs go to the Ronald McDonald House. Clients at Lighthouse Mission and Pathways to Recovery appreciate donated bath towels. When she asks the congregation of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church for change on Sunday mornings, she has a specific project in mind; Bibles for Good News Ministries or funds for God’s Gang Planting Dream on Chicago’s Southside. Her pastor, Dave Rushton, describes Dorothy as “a one woman mission team.”
Dorothy is never too busy to help and lives by the philosophy that we are here to serve others. She has been the recipient of the Mayor’s Volunteer Partnership Award and has also been recognized by the Lutheran Brotherhood as their 1995 Fraternalist of the Year.
She also has been honored with the Spirit of Women Award by Saint Francis Hospital and as the Senior Volunteer of the Year by the county Council on Aging. I believe Dorothy Linke is deserving of your consideration for a Daily Point of Light Award. She is an inspirational example of senior volunteerism and a life of service to our community. Her energy, devotion, compassion, and youthful enthusiasm make central Indiana a better place to live. “Others” is the word that best typifies Dorothy Linke.