When Dorothy Woodcock was a teenager, she worked at Frederick & Nelson, using the money she earned to buy her first piano, a baby grand...

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When Dorothy Woodcock was a teenager, she worked at Frederick & Nelson, using the money she earned to buy her first piano, a baby grand.

It would transform her life.

In her 88 years, Mrs. Woodcock taught piano to more than 9,000 students, kindergartners through adults.

Mrs. Woodcock died May 11 at her home on Mercer Island.

“She had a very long life, full of hardship and tenacity and persistence,” said Cindy Woodcock, who is married to Mrs. Woodcock’s grandson, Paul. “She really has an amazing story.”

Born and raised in Seattle, she learned to play the piano at Seattle’s First Baptist Church, where she was a lifetime member. She started teaching when she was 17, attended the University of Washington and graduated from the Cornish School. She settled on Mercer Island in 1952 and opened Dorothy Woodcock Studios, where she taught piano for more than 60 years.

In an interview eight years ago, Mrs. Woodcock said, “my whole idea behind my teaching is I want my students to grow up to love music, and I want them to grow up to love living.”

She had been a president of the Seattle Music Teachers Association and also taught lessons for Yamaha International.

She learned her love of music from her father, who played six instruments. During World War II she would drive to Fort Lewis to accompany entertainers performing for the troops.

In the 1980s she turned the carport of her home into a studio with several pianos for teaching.

“Grandma loved her students,” said Cindy Woodcock. “They were her love and her passion.”

Longtime friend Doreen Kenkman said they met 55 years ago at Cornish College of the Arts when she was a soloist and Mrs. Woodcock accompanied her on piano. The two taught music together.

“She was the consummate teacher, completely dedicated to the science of teaching,” she said. “She learned how to keep children interested and focused and how to best promote their talent. It was her whole passion.”

She said Mrs. Woodcock’s second passion was animals, and that she had two ponds on her Mercer Island property, where she raised ducks and geese. In addition to her dogs and cats, she had a family of raccoons living on her property.

Mrs. Woodcock taught Ted Rosenblume’s children and his wife, and he later became her attorney and friend. “She was a wonderful lady and will be sorely missed,” he said. “She cared about her kids, and every time I’d go and visit her, she’d sit down and play music for me.”

Mrs. Woodcock, whose son, Michael, preceded her in death, is survived by four grandchildren.

The family asks that donations be made to a music or animal charity of choice.

A memorial service for long-time Mercer Island piano teacher Dorothy Woodcock will be held Saturday, June 9, at 2 p.m. at Evergreen-Washelli Chapel, 1111 Aurora Ave. N., Seattle.

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or sgilmore@seattletimes.com