Jeanne Blackistone Mandel, 64, the wife of former governor Marvin
Mandel, died of heart failure Saturday at her Annapolis-area home.
She had suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease, a fatal neurological illness,
for several years.
Mrs. Mandel was one of the most recognized figures in Maryland during
the 1970s and '80s as she supported her husband through his indictment,
conviction and stay in federal prison.
His sentence was commuted by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, and
the Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1987.
"The skeptics, and there were many, said Marvin's marriage to Jeanne
wouldn't last, but they were wrong," said Frank DeFilippo, Mr.
Mandel's press secretary for eight years. "In a way it lasted forever.
Marvin remained extremely devoted to her to the end."
Mr. Mandel left the Governor's Mansion and his wife of 32 years,
Barbara, to live in an Annapolis hotel and then on the state yacht,
Maryland Lady. The Mandels were divorced nearly six months later and
he married the former Jeanne Dorsey.
She was born May 11, 1937, in Leonardtown, the daughter of Reginald
Golden and Ella Blackistone. She was a member of a family that has
lived in St. Mary's County since the 17th century.
She graduated from St. Mary's Academy and Strayer College and
worked as a legal secretary. She was married in 1955 to Walter B.
Dorsey, a state senator and member of a politically prominent St. Mary's
In the late 1960s she was a St. Mary's County commissioner for two
terms and was the county's first female police commissioner. Later she
worked in real estate.
Mrs. Mandel led a campaign to save St. Clement's Island, also known
as Blackistone Island, in the Potomac River, the site of the landing of the
Ark and the Dove in 1634. She also headed St. Clement's 100, a
preservationist group, for the site.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by four children, Philip H.
Dorsey III of Leonardtown, Helen Marie Dorsey of Williamsburg, Va.,
John Michael Dorsey of Green Bay, Wis., and Paul Bryant Dorsey of
Annapolis; two stepchildren, Ellen Maltz and Gary Mandel, both of Los
Angeles; one sister, Virginia Duke of Leonardtown; and eight
grandchildren. She was predeceased by a brother, Robert Reginald
The family will receive friends at Mattingly's Funeral Home in
Leonardtown between 4 and 6 p.m. Wednesday. Services will be at 11
a.m. Oct. 11 at Sol Levinson and Brothers, 8900 Reisterstown Road,
Pikesville. Burial will be in Lakemont Cemetery in Davidsonville.
Memorial contributions may be made to ALS Research, in care of Dr.
Daniel Drachman, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of
Neurology, 600 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD 21287, or the St.
Clements One Hundred, P.O. Box 54, Bushwood, MD 20618.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Published October 08, 2001, The Capital, Annapolis, Md.
Copyright © 2001 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.