Dorothy Gail Secrest, 90

January 12, 2017

Dorothy Gail Secrest, known to her friends as “Teddy,” passed away in Medford, Oregon on December 27, 2016. She was born on December 23, 1926, the daughter of Helen DeVitt Secrest and Lee S. “Bill” Secrest.  She had acquired the nickname “Teddy” from a popular radio character in her teens.  Her mother Helen was the third child of David DeVitt, Sr. and his wife Florence.  The Devitts in the 1880s had started the Mallet Ranch west of Lubbock.  Ms. Secrest’s aunt was Christine DeVitt, first child of David and Florence.  Ranching, farming, and oil and gas activities involving the Mallet Ranch played a prominent role in Ms. Secrest’s life.  Also, she had many personal and professional dealings with her Ranch co-owners, her aunt Christine and mother Helen with whom she remained close.

Ms. Secrest grew up with her mother Helen in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Fort Worth.  She frequently returned with her mother to the Lubbock area in order to attend to family matters and ranching business.  She attended college at the University of California at Berkley and San Francisco State University, where she studied English literature, romance languages, the arts, and psychology.

As a young woman in the 1950s and 1960s she lived and worked in San Francisco; New York City; Woodstock, New York; and Cambridge, Massachusetts.  She supported the arts, particularly folk music, while living in various cities on the east and west coasts.  Eventually, she settled in Lubbock in the 1980s and early 1990s, where she continued her support for the arts, including charitable giving to Texas Tech University.

In 1991, Ms. Secrest founded the Plum Foundation, which she named after the nickname of English writer P. G. Wodehouse.  Since its founding, the Foundation has actively supported medical research, health and human services, visual and performing arts, animal protection, and environmental causes.  Throughout her lifetime, Ms. Secrest demonstrated a commitment to many charitable activities and, accordingly, has left the majority of her estate to charitable organizations.

Ms. Secrest led a life distinguished by kindness, learning pursuits, generosity and charitable giving.  She was the last DeVitt family member.  She spent the majority of her long life using her Mallet Ranch-related wealth to benefit and provide for the arts and artists, people struggling with financial setbacks and health problems, mistreated animals, scientific research, and the environment.

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Category: Obituaries