Dorothy Leavey

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Dorothy Leavey
Born Dorothy E. Risley
Omaha, Nebraska
Died January 7, 1998
Beverly Hills, California
Resting place
Holy Cross Cemetery
Education University of Montana
Occupation Philanthropist
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Thomas E. Leavey
Children Dorothy Therese Leavey
Kathleen McCarthy Kostlan

Dorothy E. Risley Leavey (1897-1998) was an American philanthropist from Beverly Hills, California.


Early life[edit]

Dorothy E. Risley was born in 1897 in Omaha, Nebraska.[1][2] She grew up in Cleveland, Chicago and Butte, Montana.[2] She was educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Illinois.[2] She then attended the University of Montana.[1][2] She briefly worked as a legal secretary.[1]


Shortly after getting married in 1930, she volunteered for the Assistance League, the Ladies of Charity, the Salesian Boys Camp in Oceanside and the Social Service Auxiliary.[1] She also established the Teresita Pines Camp for Girls.[1]

In 1952, she co-founded the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation with her husband.[1] In 1994, they made two major donations for the establishment of the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Library on the campus of the University of Southern California and the Dorothy E. Leavey Family Resource Center at the Assistance League in Hollywood.[1] She later donated to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a non-profit organization founded by Candy Lightner.[1]

A devout Roman Catholic, she became a Dame of the Order of St. Gregory, a Dame of the Knights of Malta, and a Dame of Magistral Grace.[1] Moreover, she received four honorary degrees—from the University of Southern California, Santa Clara University, Georgetown University and Loyola Marymount University.

Personal life[edit]

In 1930, she married Thomas E. Leavey, co-founder of Farmers Insurance Group.[1][2] They resided in Beverly Hills, California.[1] They had two children: Kathleen and Dorothy Therese.[1] Their daughter Dorothy Therese was killed in a car accident in 1979.[1] A year later, in 1980, she became a widow when her husband died in 1980.[1] Their daughter, Kathleen McCarthy Kostlan, became a philanthropist.


She died on January 7, 1998 at the age of 101 in Beverly Hills, California.[1] Her funeral took place at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Westwood.[2] She was buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Myrna Oliver, Longtime Philanthropist Dorothy Leavey Dies, The Los Angeles Times, January 09, 1998
  2. ^ a b c d e f g James Lytle, Philanthropist Dorothy Leavey Dies at 101, University of Southern California, January 19, 1998