Dorothea T. Apgar, who wrote about fashion for the News American and was a Hearst newspapers correspondent, died of stroke complications Jan. 4 at Roland Park Place. The former Rodgers Forge resident was 90.
Born Dorothea Tipper in New York City, she studied at Parsons School of Design, Fashion Institute of Technology and New York University, and was a management trainee for the old B. Altman department store.
She began newspaper work covering weddings for the Ridgewood, N.J., Herald-News. In a 1993 Senior Digest interview, she said that "all women in newspaper work started with weddings."
Mrs. Apgar became women's and fashion editor at the News American in 1968 after holding newspaper jobs in Wilmington, Del., and Indianapolis. In 1986, when she retired as the paper folded, she was a fashion editor, feature writer and columnist.
"She knew her business well and had confidence in what she wrote," said Corinne F. Hammett, former News American feature editor and a longtime friend. "She did her work and never talked about it. She was much more interested in politics and world affairs."
She was also senior fashion writer for the Hearst newspaper chain, and covered the major designers and annual fashion weeks in New York and Paris. The New York Fashion Couture Business Council awarded her its fashion reporter's trophy for excellence in interpreting American fashion. The Men's Fashion Association also gave her an award.
"She was easy to work with but demanding at the same time," said photographer Richard L. Tomlinson, who shot many of her fashion layouts. "She wanted you to do your best."
He recalled that Mrs. Apgar would not generally allow fashion pictures to be taken in a department store. She would choose other locations - often outdoors - to be used as backgrounds.
Mrs. Apgar was a National Press Club member and could recall when female reporters were assigned to a separate section of its quarters.
"She also had impeccable style," said her son, Mahlon "Sandy" Apgar IV of Baltimore. "With her keen eye for fashion and her sense of what was appropriate, she knew how to dress for every occasion on a modest budget, and she could instantly appraise others' dress with instinct and skill."
In retirement, Mrs. Apgar was a volunteer at Maryland Public Television, proofreading the station's magazine and helping during fundraisers.
She was the public relations liaison for Planned Parenthood of Maryland and a member of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Associates. She volunteered at the Symphony Decorator Show House, working at the annual event until she was in her late 80s. She was also a guide at Mount Clare Museum House and a greeter at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Museum of Industry.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. July 14 at St. David's Episcopal Church, 4700 Roland Ave.
In addition to her son, survivors include three grandchildren. Her marriage ended in divorce.