Obituary: Dorothy Margaret Kishibay, artist, lecturer, wife, mother

Dorothy Margaret Kishibay, artist, lecturer, demonstrator, art juror, wife, mother and creative spirit went home to Jesus on Sunday, May 15, 2016. She was predeceased by her husband, Charles O. Kishibay, Professor Emeritus of Engineering Education at the University of Bridgeport.

Born in 1924 in Bridgeport, CT to George and Veronica DeMirjian (Kaysalian) she attended both Hall Elementary School and Harding High School. In 1948, Dorothy graduated from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, where she received her degree in Industrial Design from the Art School and met her future husband and they married on lucky August 8, 1948.

Dorothy attended Silvermine School of the Arts, New Canaan, CT; Parsons School of Design, New York NY; and the University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT. Since her graduation, Dorothy has always been active, directly or indirectly, in enhancing the use of art in education.

She taught art classes to both children and adults, given untiring volunteer contributions to both the Boy and Girl Scout organizations, churches, designed logos for both the cardiac support group and Heart Beats and the cardiac rehabilitation unit of Bridgeport Hospital. She served as the Art Acquisition Chairperson of the Bridgeport Hospital Auxiliary bringing selections of art to the hospital and its patrons with one goal in mind, “to touch the lives of others that come through this often difficult passage,” reflected Dorothy.

Through her continued volunteer efforts, Dorothy donated many original watercolors for the annual volunteer luncheon in recognition of great service. She also served as historian of the Heart Beats since its founding in 1981 and created a unique flag design for the town of Chatham, MA competition. In addition, her artwork is featured in professional offices, churches, libraries, local schools and universities as well as in personal collections around the country. 

In the early 1970s, Dorothy launched the Nichols Improvement Association (NIA) art show and chaired this event for 7 years. This art show drew artisans from Florida to Maine and is now part of the Trumbull Arts Commission. Her logo and art work, “Next to Real Roses” has been exhibited and sold throughout New England; featured on the front cover in June 2003 of the National Pen Women Magazine. In 1987, Dorothy donated three icons she had painted to the Saints Joachim and Anne Armenian Apostolic Church of Palos Heights, IL. The paintings, “The Resurrection,” and “The Ascension,” are sub-altar paintings at the church.

In an interview Dorothy explained, “Icons are a representation or pictures of a sacred Christian personage. The language of icons is expressed through shapes, color, special signs and religious symbols. Religious paintings date back to the first century of Christianity and they carry on the spiritual heritage of their forefathers by the symbols used and its authenticity. Art is a living entity. It has something to say! Our sub altars of the Armenian churches should give the experience of dealing with our history of art and cultural heritage. It is the language of seeing and recording our past.”

In 1985, she had donated two similar paintings to St. Mark’s Church in Springfield, MA of Saints Sahag and Mesrob Mashtotz. In addition to her work for both churches, she supported Salem Lutheran Church, Bridgeport, CT for well over 30 years through teaching Sunday School, Arts/Crafts programs for children, special holiday Chrismon ornament sessions that filled the Christmas trees of the church, logo design for the church featuring the etched windows of the sanctuary, and in 2000 designing the Crown of Thorns banner used throughout the Easter season. The artist commented that the, “The Crown of Thorns is a symbol of great love...pain…and suffering.” In 1995, an article in The Connecticut Post, “Destiny by Design,” featured these extraordinary alter icons and works for the spiritual community. To learn more on these paintings and other art Dorothy created, please visit:

Since 1980, Dorothy has been a member of the National League of American Pen Women, Inc. of Fairfield County, Connecticut, an organization dedicated to excellence and achievements in the Arts. In 1995, she was featured in “Women of Substance” in The Connecticut Post and was nominated in 1996 for the second time in Fairfield County’s “Woman of the Year” program called, “Woman Wise” for women who make a difference in their communities. In 1986, Dorothy also received a “Certificate of Appreciation” (one of 20 nominated) from the State of Connecticut as part of the 350th Anniversary of Trumbull, honoring her as a “Town Hero of Trumbull,” for her unselfish contributions of volunteer time in art, to make the quality of life a little better for people of her community. She received numerous recognitions for her ability to continue to design and enhance art in many lives.

Through her generous donations, she has raised the level of appreciation for the ARTs in her hometown of Trumbull, Connecticut. She is a member of the Daughters of Vartan an organization dedicated to preserving and perpetuating the Armenian Heritage and Christian faith. She served as Dirouhie of the Nairi Otyag for several years.

She is survived by her four children: Dr. John S. Kishibay and daughter-in-law Dr. Donna J. Eteson Kishibay of Los Angeles, CA; daughter Dora V. K. Garabedian and son-in-law Thomas J. Garabedian of Hopkinton, MA; daughter Karen Y. Kishibay of Fairfield, CT; and daughter Darby M. Hobbs and son-in-law James W. Hobbs of Chatham, MA. Grandsons: Deran Thomas and wife Katy, Berj Jeffrey and wife Laura, Gregory Charles and wife Daniella Garabedian, Sean Patrick, Connor Ohannes Sullivan, and Brian Walker and wife Sara Hobbs. Grandaughters: Stephanie Marielle, Ashley Janelle and Emily Adora Kishibay, and Grace Weston Hobbs. Great grandchildren: Thomas Arthur and William Andrew Garabedian, Zabel Arya Garabedian and George Walker, Ella Sophia and Maxwell Connor Hobbs.

Memorial Services were held at Nichols United Methodist Church Thursday, May 19.

In lieu of flowers, the family has expressed donations be made in memory of Dorothy to the Nichols United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, 35 Shelton Road, Trumbull, CT or the Armenian Tree Project, 65 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472.

The Larson Funeral Home, 2496 North Avenue, Bridgeport, CT is in care of arrangements.

If you would like to leave a condolence online or light a candle please do at,
Bless You and Thank You, The Kishibay Family