Dorothy LeF. Cadigan, the former owner of a Rodgers Forge consignment shop who was a longtime volunteer at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, died Sunday at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson of complications from pulmonary hypertension.
The longtime Pinehurst resident was 82.
"Dorothy was a great lady and such a radiant person who could light up a room, as the saying goes," said the Rev. John E. Roberts, who served as pastor of Woodbrook Baptist Church, where Mrs. Cadigan was a member.
"She was a deeply warm person who had a knack for bringing people together. If someone was new, she got to know them without being intrusive," said Mr. Roberts, who was pastor of the church from 1970 until he retired in 2001. "She was just always so gracious."
"I first met Dorothy when we were students at Guilford Elementary School, and we went all the way together through high school and secretarial school. We've been friends for 77 years, and we used to talk to each other at least once a week," said Ann V. Bruning of Snow Hill.
"She was a gentle loving person and never met a stranger. She was just a wonderful Christian woman," said Mrs. Bruning. "She made every person she met feel special."
The daughter of Paul S. LeFaivre, superintendent of The Baltimore Sun's press room, and Dorothy W. LeFaivre, a homemaker, the former Dorothy Janet LeFaivre was born in Baltimore and raised on Evesham Avenue in Govans.
After she graduated in 1950 from Eastern High School, Mrs. Cadigan attended Baltimore Business College for two years. She then worked as a secretary during the 1950s for an ophthalmologist at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
"We didn't graduate from Baltimore Business College," recalled Mrs. Bruning. "Once we learned to type and got our speed up, we left and got jobs."
In the early 1960s, while living on Evesham Avenue, Mrs. Cadigan met and fell in love with Robert E. "Bob" Cadigan Sr. , a young trial attorney at Smith, Somerville & Case, who was a neighbor and carpooler.
After marrying in 1963, the couple lived in Rodgers Forge before moving to Pinehurst in 1971. In 1994, her husband was appointed a Baltimore County circuit judge by Gov. William Donald Schaefer. He died in 2010.
Mrs. Cadigan was a knowledgeable collector of antiques and conducted holiday boutiques and estate sales. From the 1980s until selling the business in 2001, she owned and operated Consignment Galleries, a consignment shop on York Road in Rodgers Forge.
"She was beloved by her customers," said a son, Robb Cadigan of Phoenixville, Pa.
"She had a way of talking to people that made you feel that your story was the most important story in the room," her son said. "She was an extraordinary listener, asked questions, and was truly interested in people. She could get your life story in a matter of minutes."
She was a longtime volunteer at GBMC, where every Tuesday morning she was the smiling and welcoming receptionist in the hospital's phlebotomy laboratory.
"She was feisty and dedicated, and I mean feisty in every possible and positive way. And she was dedicated and made sure she got here every Tuesday morning without fail," said Lieta C. Manistre, assistant director of volunteers at GBMC.
"Dorothy started volunteering here eight years ago and had accumulated 1,500 volunteer hours. And the last day she was here was Oct. 31," said Ms. Manistre.
"She was a very articulate, bright and strong woman, and had strength of character," she said. "She was the kind of person that when you had a discussion with her you came away smiling and very much enriched."
Ms. Manistre added: "She was a joy to the staff and I know we're going to miss her."
Mrs. Cadigan enjoyed attending the theater. She was also an accomplished baker and was known for her cakes and brownies, which she gave to family and friends.
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She liked to vacation at North Ocean City and Fenwick Island, Del. She also enjoyed eating steamed crabs, reading books on her back porch and spending time with "her beloved grandchildren," her son said.
Despite many health issues, Mrs. Cadigan had an "indomitable spirit," according to her son.
"She never asked, 'Why me?' but rather, 'Why not me?'" said her son.
She was a longtime active member of Woodbrook Baptist Church, 25 Stevenson Lane, where a memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 6.
In addition to her son, Mrs. Cadigan is survived by another son, David Cadigan of Phoenix, Baltimore County; a daughter, Claudia C. Anton of Chagrin Falls, Ohio; two sisters, Joan J. LeFaivre of Pinehurst and Leslye L. Carson of Loch Raven; and seven grandchildren.