Dorothy Layne Hendrick

On the winter solstice December 21, 1926, Dorothy Ruth Layne was born in Forney, Texas. She died February 26, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Visitation will be held Friday March 6, 2015 from 5-7pm at Weed-Corley- Fish, 3125 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, Texas. A worship service expressing gratitude to God for her life will be held Saturday March 7, 2015, 11am at Faith Presbyterian Church, 1314 E. Oltorf, Austin, Texas. Burial will follow Sunday March 8, 2015 at 2pm, Hillcrest Cemetery, Forney, Texas. Her mother was Ruth Kathleen Chapman Layne (1904-1990). Her father was Valtai Cecil Layne (1898- 1959). Maternal grandparents were Sylvester I. Chapman (1872-1945) and Effie Montgomery Chapman (1878-1946). Dorothy will be buried beside them in the Hillcrest Cemetery. Her paternal grandparents Benjamin Prather Layne (1842-1914) and America Currey Pannell Layne (1858-1917) are buried on Republic Hill in the Texas State Cemetery. Dorothy, an only child, moved to Dallas when she was three but made frequent visits to Forney often riding alone on the Interurban. From her family there she learned the ways and words of small town Texas in the 1930s e.g. she churned butter, robbed bees and when surprised came to say “I feel like a calf at a new gate.” In Dallas she enjoyed the advantages of big city life. Her father, an avid sportsman, introduced her to Texas League baseball and Southwest Conference football. When he played softball, she kept score, and there was fishing, too, in any tank where they could wet a hook. There were girl things also - singing, dancing, movies, light opera and beautiful dresses made by her seamstress mother. Dorothy developed openhearted hospitality from the way her parents welcomed spinster cousins into their home and cared for her aged grandparents. She attended Mt. Auburn Elementar y School, J.L. Long Junior High School and Woodrow Wilson High School where she was a member of the National Honor Society. Over the years friends with whom she attended all three schools maintained close ties: Mary Blair Mottwiler, Ann Luther Miller and Marilyn Johnson Brooks. Dorothy Layne, no relation to quarterback Bobby Layne, enrolled at The University of Texas in the fall of 1944. She graduated in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science in Speech. Her most memorable and influential courses were in play directing with Loren Winship. Dorothy was a Bluebonnet Belle nominee, an officer in The Westminster Student Fellowship, an upper class advisor in Andrews dormitory, a participant in the Curtain Club and a member of Alpha Phi sorority. Martha Ann Goss McGonigle, a roommate in Andrews dorm and her little sister in the sorority, remains a close friend and near neighbor. She always remained an avid Texas Longhorn football fan. Hook ‘em Horns! Following graduation she taught high school for the Bellville, Texas Brahmas. In one academic year, 1948- 1949, she directed three plays, took a one act play to regionals, coached volleyball, handled popcorn for all basketball games, sponsored the junior class, learned to pronounce the German and Czech names of her students and taught a full load of English and speech courses all for $2,005 a year. They got their money’s worth! After a three year courtship and with dowr y in hand from Bellville, Dorothy and John R. ‘Pete’ Hendrick were married by W. Jack Lewis at First Presbyterian Church Dallas on July 16, 1949. Each day for a month before the wedding the best man, Richard S. Robertson, sentDorothy sympathy cards.  After a honeymoon in Estes Park, Colorado they returned to Austin where Pete enrolled in Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. With the GI Bill and Dorothy’s part-time work they managed financially. Dorothy adored and cherished her husband of 65 years. Between 1951 and 1961 Dorothy and Pete had five children: Laurie Anne 1951, John Layne 1952, Christa Chapman 1955, Melanie 1959 and Robert Sevier 1961. Of those years one of the children wrote, “I remember you rocking me when I was a child, your manner so gentle, you expression so mild. When you held me and sang meto sleep, I knew warmth and protection in the shelter of  your keep.” At this writing there are 16 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren and 2 more on the way. Dorothy had her own call to ministry. She always remained focused on her own congregation of five children and in the midst of church work and family responsibilities she undergirded the life of her pastor husband with great affection. In five congregations she was looked to as the pastor’s wife, in those days a role fraught with high expectations. While maintaining her independent spirit, she more than measured up to what was anticipated. She set a beautiful table and entertained with elegance. Teaching teenagers and young adults in the late 60s and early 70s was one of her many challenges. She once declared in frustration to her youth group and to the smug delight of the teenagers that they were “all a bunch of heathens”. ln 1977 Dot’s mother Ruth had a stroke and then fell and broke her hip. For the next 12 years she was part of the Hendrick household. After several years Pete’s mother, Lillian, became Ruth’s roommate. They were ver y happy together and thoughtful and appreciative of Dot’s care. During this time when asked to make a list of things she really enjoyed she wrote, “The thing that gave me great pleasure, happiness and a feeling of fulfillment was directing, creating and performing in plays and skits.” In 1987 she began taking acting classes with Bill Johnson and Mona Lee. In 1989 Sam Balcom and Mike Pruet of Actor’s Clearing House became her agents. Soon she became a member of Screen Actors Guild. In Ballad of the Sad Cafe, a Merchant-Ivory film production, she had lines with Vanessa Redgrave. In the Disney film Blank Check she was Mrs. Appleton and had an extensive scene with Mel Ferrer. When CBS remade the movie Picnic, Dorothy, as the former sweetheart, sang The Star Spangled Banner. In What’s Eating Gilbert Grape she had lines and was pictured with Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp. To her embarrassment she was featured in a film later renamed Teenage Catgirls in Heat. Her resume also tells of her work in commercials, industrials, television programs, theatrical productions and other movies. Among her most memorable role was playing Fannie Prichard (Governor Ann Richards) for 2 years in the Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre at The Driskill and Marriott Hotels. More recently she had parts in the movies “Elvis and Annabelle” and “The Teller and the Truth” (still to be released). Together with her husband they combined sightseeing with church meetings and conferences in Egypt, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, South Korea and the People’s Republic of China. In addition they visited nearly all of the countries of Central America and Western Europe. Wherever they lived in the United States, they took in the scenery, history and culture of these places and surroundings. Communities included rural southeast Arkansas, suburban San Antonio, Newton Centre, Massachusetts, downtown Beaumont, Texas, Manhattan and Queens, New York and central NewJersey and of most significance  to them, for over 40 years, Austin, Texas. In Austin among other activities Dorothy was a member of the Spade and Trowel Garden Club and the Tuesday Book Review Club. Collectibles, memorabilia, souvenirs, bric-a-brac, needless necessities; by whatever name, there is a lot of it in the Hendrick household. In addition to what has been gathered personally the house is full of hand-me-downs: glassware, china, antique furniture, etc. Each item has a story and proved to be too precious to pass on or give away. The family will find all business and legal affairs in order. What to do with all the things that Dot (and Pete) could not live without, that’s another matter. As an infant her grandfather took her on a pillow to the Forney Presbyterian Church, ever since she has been a ‘pillar’ of The Presbyterian Church. As a teenager she was baptized at First Presbyterian Church, Dallas. Par ticipation in the youth group there and attendance at camps and conferences nurtured and deepened her faith. In family, in congregations and in acting she has put her faith to work. As a member of Faith Presbyterian Church in Austin she served as an elder and volunteered many hours of service to the Faith Food Pantry. Pastor Rev. Dr. Kyle Walker of Faith Presbyterian Church will conduct her memorial service. Dorothy is counting on there being a place for Presbyterian Christians in heaven! The family is grateful toGod for Dorothy and all that she has meant to them and  others. They are thankful also for the many friends, helpers, doctors, nurses and all who surrounded her with love and care. Personal memorials may be left at In lieu of flowers please consider sending donations in Dorothy’s name to Faith Food Pantry, 1314 E. Oltorf, Austin, Texas 78704. 

Forney Messenger

210 W. Broad St.
P.O. Box 936, Forney, TX 75126
Phone: 972-564-3121
Fax: 972-552-3599