Born in San Diego, California in 1925 to
Mr. and Mrs. Emil F. Johnson, Dorothy graduated from San Diego State
University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. A member of Cap and Gown,
she was listed in "Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities".
She subsequently pursued post-graduate art studies at the Art Center
College of Design in Los Angeles, Columbia University, and the Art
Students' League in New York City. In 1957, she married Bethel Seminary
student Eugene Arthur Messenger, a native of Minneapolis Minnesota, and
in 1959, bore a first and only child, Guy Messenger.
Dorothy's work was exhibited in several galleries during her life, and
her illustrations and cover designs were featured in many books
including "Till We Have Faces" by C.S. Lewis, "Sandals for Jesus" by
Ellen Kirkwood, "Parson McFright" by Allan Whitman, and more.
Her most famous, or infamous illustration was a depiction of THE LORD'S
SUPPER in which, as she burned the midnight oil to reach a deadline, she
drew thirteen disciples at the table with Jesus, rather than the
standard twelve men. The error was not caught by editors and the book
went to press with the thirteenth disciple in attendance.
A lover of ballet dancing, literature, music, and all fine arts,
Dorothy's quiet personal Christian faith was also always a part of her
life. After the year 2005, infirmities of age caused her to gradually
distance herself from social, cultural, and religious activities.
However, she remained reflective, alert, and communicative until her
final days, and passed peacefully and quietly in her sleep on the 86th
anniversary of her birthday, February 9, 2011.
Artwork of Dorothy Messenger
all images here are copyrighted 2014 the Estate of Dorothy Messenger