Diana Dorrance, Supporter Of Arts

Posted: July 18, 1991

Diana Dorrance, 73, widow of Campbell Soup Co. executive Jack Dorrance and a tireless supporter of the arts, died yesterday at her home in Gladwyne.

She wed John T. Dorrance Jr. in 1979. It was her second marriage; her first husband, eminent anesthesiologist and educator Robert D. Dripps, died in 1973. It was Jack Dorrance's third marriage.

At the time of his death in 1989, Dorrance was one of the richest men in Philadelphia, leaving an estate of $224.7 million.

Born Diana R. Rogers in Newcastle, Del., Mrs. Dorrance was exposed to art at a very early age. She was the daughter of Lausatt Richter Rogers, a painter and art conservator. She graduated from the Tower Hill School, then studied at the Museum School of Art in Philadelphia and at the Attingham Study Center in England. She had a special interest in Chinese porcelain and American crafts.

She became a guide at the Art Museum in 1962, and three years later she was chosen to chair the guide program, which she was instrumental in expanding. She started a summer art study program for college students at the museum.

Mrs. Dorrance was elected to the museum's Women's Committee in 1964 and served as its president from 1974 to 1977. A highlight during her tenure was a dinner at the museum for England's Queen Elizabeth during the Bicentennial celebration.

She also helped found the Philadelphia Craft Show, now the largest single annual fund-raising event for the Art Museum.

Mrs. Dorrance was elected to the Art Museum board of trustees in 1977 and served on various museum committees.

Art Museum President Robert Montgomery Scott said: "Diana was an energetic and enthusiastic supporter of the museum, tackling all sorts of challenges - especially fund-raising projects - with extraordinary sensitivity. Her warmth and sense of fun brought great joy to the staff and volunteers."

Mrs. Dorrance was a trustee and past chairman of the Fleisher Art Memorial. In 1989, Fleisher dedicated the Diana Dorrance Studio/Gallery in her honor.

She served on the board of the Academy of Music and chaired its 117th annual ball in 1974. She also was a board member of Brandywine Conservancy.

Mrs. Dorrance also was a member of the women's committee of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, a board member of the Print Club of Philadelphia and a member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. She was a member of the Acorn Club, the Merion Cricket Club and the Gulph Mills Golf Club.

Surviving are a son, Robert D. Dripps 3d; daughter, Susan D. Stauffer; two brothers, and three grandchildren.

Services will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Chapel of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Montgomery Avenue in Bryn Mawr.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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