Dorothy Margolis, a retired department store advertising executive who had been an official of the charitable organization based in Israel, died in her sleep of dementia complications Sept. 9 at a memory care facility in Reno, Nev.

The former Pikesville resident was 91.


Born Dorothy Drazen in Baltimore, she was the daughter of Jacob Drazen, who did painting and wallpapering, and his wife, Fannie Kriegel, who ran a delicatessen and grocery store, and who was a lifelong Zionist. Her parents had immigrated from Minsk, Belarus, in 1910. The family lived above their store at West North and Linden avenues.

She was a 1941 graduate of Western High School and attended the Maryland Institute, College of Art, where she studied fashion illustration. She joined the staff of the old Julius Gutman & Co. on Park Avenue and Lexington Street, and served as the department store's advertising manager in the 1940s and 1950s.

In 1954, she married Aaron Margolis, an attorney in the firm of Margolis, Pritzker, Epstein & Blatt. He had been president of the Baltimore Chapter of the American Jewish Congress.

During World War II she volunteered as a neighborhood airplane spotter. She spent summer vacations during the war harvesting vegetables on the Eastern Shore because there were too few men to pick crops.

Family members said she followed in the footsteps of her mother and father and became involved in the labor Zionist movement. She joined Gordonia, the forerunner of Habonim, a Jewish youth organization.

"She was hard-working and was thoroughly dedicated to whatever she was doing," said her son, Morris Margolis of Rockville. "She was headstrong. She always had a positive attitude about life. She did not dwell on the negative side."

Mrs. Margolis volunteered with Na'amat USA, the Pioneer Women of the Women's Labor Zionist Organization of America.

She began her association with the group when she was 20 and was a founder of the Baltimore chapter. Mrs. Margolis served in numerous capacities of the local chapter and was elected to the national board in 1975. She was national secretary from 1981 to 1985.

In 1982 she was featured in an Evening Sun article about a Na'amat charity fundraiser, "Nice Things Happen," a tea she co-hosted in Owings Mills. The charity assisted infants and senior citizens, and provided day care, community centers and agricultural and vocational schools, as well as day camps.

She also represented Na'amat USA at meetings of the American Zionist Congress and as a delegate to the World Labor Zionist Movement Convention and World Zionist Congress in 1982.

She served on the editorial board of Na'amat Woman, a national publication.

She and her husband helped to establish the Fannie and Jacob Drazen Vocational School in Nahariya, Israel, and the Celia and Leon Levinson and Dorothy and Aaron Margolis Day Care Center in Rosh Ha'Ayin, Israel.

Mrs. Margolis was also a founder and the first president of the Women's Division of the Maryland Chapter of the American Jewish Congress.

She served on Gov. J. Millard Tawes' First Convening Session for the Establishment of the Maryland Commission on the Status of Women in 1963.


She was active with the Baltimore Jewish Council and its Middle East and Interfaith Committees and was a volunteer at the Jewish Community Center on Park Heights Avenue.

In 1987, Mrs. Margolis was listed in Who's Who in World Jewry.

She enjoyed vegetable gardening. She was a Center Stage and the Fells Point Corner Theatre subscriber.

Funeral services were held Thursday at Sol Levinson and Brothers.

In addition to her son, survivors include another son, Jacob Margolis of Reno, Nev.; a sister, Esther Eidensohn of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and three grandchildren. Her husband of 59 years died in 2013.