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In Memoriam - MaryEllen (Green) Dohrs
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RogerDetroit
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MaryEllen (Green) Dohrs – Designer of the 1955 Caribbean interior.

MaryEllen was born September 20, 1929, and passed away January 10, 2022, at the age of 92. After graduating from Hollywood High School, she enrolled at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, while still only 17 years old. Upon graduation in 1950, she was the youngest person ever to be hired at General Motors Styling. At age 20, she too young to legally sign her own contract – her mother had to vouch for her until she could sign her own contact a few months later. One of her first assignments was to design the pleaded leather seats for the latest Cadillac convertible.

After GM She was hired as an Industrial Designer at Sundberg-Ferar, where Dick Teague recruited her to design the interiors of the 1955 Caribbean and Packard 400s. The ergonomic design she created was called “Posture-Perfect” seating.

If you attended the Packard National Meet in 2013, you may recall MaryEllen presentation during a luncheon at the Packard Proving Grounds. She mentioned her excitement walking toward the Packard design studios and hearing the clickity-clack sound of her high heels echoing off the walls.

This past September the EyesOn Design show selected MaryEllen as their “Designer of Distinction” and planned a tribute for her. Regrettably, she was not able to attend the show because of health issues. Hoping that she would recover, the Packard Proving Grounds also planned a tribute to her during our October Open House. However, plans were set aside when it became clear that MaryEllen would not attend.

Her attitude was summed up when she told a Women in Design conference in 2019, "I still resist calling me and my type as women designers… unless writers preface others as men designers."

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Posted on: 1/20 10:24
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1941 Model 160 Convertible Sedan
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Re: In Memoriam - MaryEllen (Green) Dohrs
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Leeedy
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Hello, I was certainly there at the Packard Proving Grounds when Mary Ellen Dohrs gave her wonderful talk for the Packard Club. A soft-spoken, very intelligent and graceful person of great achievement and immense talent. I was lucky enough hear her speak and to get her autograph.

Ms. Dohrs' "Posture-Perfect" seats– especially in the 1955 Caribbean– were indeed Posture-Perfect and so incredibly comfortable. I remember when I first drove the Howard Hughes/Jean Peters Caribbean (which was virtually NOS at the time) how very form-fitting and comfortable the seat was. Design of the bolsters and pleated leather inserts with indents for shoulder blades was pure brilliance. Support and give in all the right places. A pleasurable experience merely to sit behind the wheel. And they were beautiful just to view!

As a side note here, the "Eyes On Design" write-up has its facts confused. Mary Ellen's 1955 Caribbean and Four Hundred seats were not reversible. Those were 1956 Caribbean only.

Again, I feel very lucky to have met Mary Ellen Dohrs. Her loss both to the automotive world as well as to Packard fans is a great one. She won't be forgotten. Peaceful journey, Mary Ellen.

Posted on: 1/20 11:08
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