Physician Calvin Jones first crossed paths with his future wife, Dorothy Breneman, an interior designer, when he was completing his surgical training in Cincinnati, Ohio. Their marriage, which would take them to Baltimore, spanned 44 years.
Throughout those four-plus decades, Dorothy donated her time to numerous charitable causes, especially those that supported young children. So before she passed away in August 2015 after a long battle with cancer, she had a request for her husband: She wanted him to offer a gift to Peabody that would help low-income, musically inclined young people in Baltimore City. Jones, a retired vascular surgeon who worked at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, honored her by making a generous $100,000 gift to support the Tuned-In program, which offers full Peabody Preparatory scholarships to young musicians from Baltimore City public schools.
Dorothy had also been a musician as a child, having studied piano for 12 years. She played with her high school orchestra, and throughout her life, “was capable of playing very well,” Jones says.
The wife and mother (she had one child, Thomas Randolph Fox Jones, with her first husband, Howard Thomas Fox, who died in the Vietnam War) was also fiercely committed to helping others. As an active member of Central Presbyterian Church in Towson, Dorothy was a participant in the Lay Caregivers Ministry, where she listened to others who needed religious support, and a member of the church’s Music Task Force. She also became a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for young people in Baltimore City, served on the CASA Board of Directors, and volunteered at the Eastern Family Resource Center, a shelter for women and families. In 1992, her selfless work was recognized when JCPenney awarded her a Golden Rule Award for her outstanding volunteer service.
“She was always planning ideas for us to work with young children and supporting the young folks and their needs,” says Jones, who now lives in Baltimore County.
Through the Tuned-In program, talented and motivated middle and high school students from Baltimore City schools participate in private lessons every week with Peabody Preparatory faculty and have the opportunity to work with accompanists and attend cultural events throughout the city. The gift that Calvin Jones made in his wife’s honor will continue her legacy of support- ing young people in Baltimore, providing scholarships that will enable these students to grow both musically and personally.
— Jennifer Walker
Pictured are participants in Peabody’s Tuned-In program.