Dorothy B. Troutman died peacefully on January 31, 2024 at her home in Upper Marlboro, MD. Troutman, a civic activist who became an expert in zoning laws for Prince George’s County and coined the phrase “Keep Marlboro Country”, was 101.
Indomitable Dorothy was the daughter of a veterinarian, grew up before the era of electricity and running water, and attended a one-room school house. During harsh winters on their Iowa farm, wood was burned to heat the home and hot bricks kept feet warm when bundled under heavy wool blankets during travel by horse drawn sleigh. She learned to write Gregg Shorthand and was the Iowa Shorthand state champion. She was valedictorian of her High School and moved to Hollywood, CA at the age of 18.
An accomplished whistler, an orchestra would accompany her while she performed her vaudeville act along the west coast. She worked at Selznick Studios and was on the set when Jimmy Stewart filmed the famous bridge scene in It’s a Wonderful Life. She loved Big Band music and would ballroom dance at the Hollywood Palladium. She worked for the FBI and “there were young men everywhere!” She met an Army Air Corps bomber pilot at a bus stop at Hollywood and Vine and they married a few months later. Ralph Edwards, host of the radio games show Truth or Consequences, was the Best Man. She devoted all her love, time, and energy to being an Air Force Officer’s wife, moving around the country, and raising 3 children.
While living in Prince George’s County, she became concerned about noncompatible commercial development near her residential neighborhood and thus began her years as a civic activist. She became an expert in zoning and was a formidable opponent. “Do not let emotion enter the testimony, discuss only the facts.” Armed with facts and zoning maps for visual aids, she would testify at zoning hearings before the County Council and Park and Planning Commission. She was widely known and greatly respected by citizens, Council Members, Governors, Congressman, and Senators. She worked for Senator Barry Goldwater and would help Arizona constituents resolve their concerns.
One day, while working in the Senate, a man entered the office and stole her purse. Dorothy took chase and ran down the marble halls in her high heels, keeping him in sight until the thief was apprehended. She was short in stature, but a strong force of nature. She promoted the horse industry and was the founder of the Maryland Horse Council, Maryland Equestrian Foundation, Rosaryville Conservancy, and The Marlborough Horse Trials. Her vision to maintain the rural nature of Southern Prince George’s County by focusing on horses and using the Old Marlboro Racetrack as the site for The Prince George’s Equestrian Center permanently changed Prince George’s County. She secured funding for the Show Place Arena and suggested building the Community Center on the other side of Route 4 rather than tearing down the existing track and barns. She united citizen groups and coordinated a horse census of the area to show the demand for such an equestrian center. Through many personal visits and tours, she educated County Council members along with members of Park and Planning to the benefits of developing a rural tier.
Her positive imprint on Prince George’s County is undeniable. Dorothy’s altruism, positive spirit, determination, strength, courage, and wisdom will be fondly remembered by all who had the privilege of knowing her. Dorothy is survived by her 3 children, Glenn, Sandra, and Diane; 4 grandchildren, Dori, Stephanie, Walt, and Julia; 5 great grandchildren Luke, Isaiah, Marie, Abigail, and Sophia.
Friends may attend the viewing on Saturday, February 10, at the Lee Funeral Home in Owings, MD from 1 to 4 pm. Church Service will be Saturday, March 2, at St. Thomas Parish in Croom, MD at 11 am. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date dependent on the Arlington National Cemetery schedule. Per the family’s preference, in lieu of flowers, please donate in her name to Hero Kids Foundation at www.HKFVA.org.