For 23 years, the Carroll County Orphans’ Court was led by Chief Judge Dorothy Virginia “Dottie” Utz , who served from 1994 until her death on Sunday. She was the first elected female Republican judge of that court.
Judge Utz died Sunday in Westminster after battling leukemia. She was 90.
Her son, former Westminster Mayor Kevin Utz, said his mother was deeply dedicated to her work on the court and wanted to serve until the completion of her term in 2018.
“She said, ‘I just want to get better so I can serve out my time,’ ” he said Tuesday. “She fought to the last day to be able to get better.”
Dottie Virginia Magin was born in Smallwood, Carroll County, to Frank Frederick Magin and Virginia Angela Stultz Magin.
After graduating in 1946 from Westminster High School, she attended what is now Towson University, where she studied business management.
She worked at the Westminster-based Quality Cleaners (now Admiral West Cleaners) before going into public service.
In 1952, she married Arlin Samuel Utz, who died in 2014.
“When there are situations where I have to stand up for what I believe in, I tell people that the Dorothy is coming out in me today,” her son said.
He recalled that when he was growing up, his mother was “very stern; she was the protector.” He remembered her tight curfews for him and his brother, Dwight, and that she would always know their whereabouts before they even made it home.
To her grandchildren, she was known for certain signature sayings. A granddaughter, Jenni Utz, particularly remembered her saying, “I treat everyone fairly — what I do for one, I do for the others.” That meant when one grandchild got a treat or a new dress, the others did, too, she said.
In the community, she was charismatic and involved, her son said.
“She would just go up to people she had no idea who they were and just start talking to them,” Mr. Utz said.
Judge Utz was a member of the Orphans Court Judges Association, the Gettysburg Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America, the Carroll County Historical Society and the Carroll County Republican Club. She was a member of Grace Lutheran Church of Westminster, where she sang in the choir.
Carroll County Register of Wills Paul G. Zimmermann worked with Judge Utz for about 15 years and said she was always well-briefed on her cases and brought a sense of calm and professionalism to her courtroom.
“She took great pride in what she did,” he said. “She knew it was important work.”
Judge Utz’s fairness on the bench stood out to Mr. Zimmermann. The Orphans’ Court is Maryland’s probate court and also has jurisdiction over guardianship of minors.
“She made sure that everyone had the opportunity to have their say,” he said.
Judge Catherine E. Reese, who worked with Judge Utz for about seven years on the Orphans’ Court, said: “Dottie helped me to understand what it’s like to work with families who are in turmoil after the loss of a loved one. She was extremely strong and determined, and she loved her job.”
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Pritts Funeral Home and Chapel, 412 Washington Road, Westminster.
Judge Utz is survived by another son, Dwight Utz of York, Pa; four other grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.