LEAGUE CITY, Texas — On the afternoon of 18 October 2013, Doris “Pinky” Dodson passed away peacefully after living with Alzheimer’s disease for the past five years. Pinky was comforted by her daughter and the staff at The Cottages Memory Care Facility in League City, Texas. She was 85 years old.
Doris Gray White was born on 22 October 1927 to Edith Alice Gray White and Raymond Clifford White in Fountain City, Tennessee. She grew up in Fountain City, graduating from Knoxville Central High School and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She had the nickname ‘Pinky’ since grammar school, when she was called “Pinky Purple Blackie Bluey Gray White”, and though she tried several times as an adult to be called Doris, Pinky stuck. While at UT, Pinky was president of her sorority, Phi Mu, and it was there that she met her husband, David Mac Dodson. Dave and Pinky were married in Knoxville in 1951 and moved shortly thereafter to Paducah, Kentucky, where Dave worked at Union Carbide. Paducah became home for them both, and it’s where they raised their daughters, Jan and Kim. Dave and Pinky celebrated 41 years of marriage and lived ‘happily ever after’ until Dave’s death in 1992. Pinky always thought of Paducah as home, even (especially) after moving to North Carolina and Texas in recent years.
At various times in her life, Pinky was employed by the Girl Scouts of America, taught school in the Paducah Public School System, at the Reading Clinic, and at St. Francis de Sales, worked as a social worker for the State of Kentucky Department of Human Services, and owned her own floral design business, Doris Dodson Designs. Pinky went back to school as an adult and earned her master’s degree in education from Murray State University in 1978.
Pinky was a tireless volunteer, serving as Sunday School teacher, room mother, Girl Scout leader, belonging to the Paducah Junior Women’s Club, and raising her hand for any other jobs that needed to be done. She was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church and served on many church committees at both Westminster Presbyterian and First Presbyterian Churches. She was active in Presbyterian Women, Churchwomen United, and served as vice president of the Synod of the Covenant. An avid and talented gardener and flower arranger, Pinky belonged to Suburban Garden Club, Perennial Garden Club, and Paducah Garden Club. She was a Master Gardener, and had fulfilled the requirements for Master Judge of Flower Shows of the National Council of State Garden Clubs. She was a member of National Flower Arrangers, and she never tired of anything having to do with flowers, gardening, or flower arranging. She was known for her abstract and “outside the box” arrangements, and for sharing her wisdom and experience with others. She was a font of knowledge, able to recall the common and Latin names of thousands of flowers and plants. She loved wildflowers and pretty things that grew alongside the road. Many a road trip was interrupted by, “Dave, pull over! There’s some gorgeous (insert random flower/weed/cone name here) over there!” Pinky loved collecting unique containers for her flower arrangements, and she gifted most of them to her garden club friends when she moved from Paducah. It makes us happy to know that she is remembered and honored whenever one of her containers is used in an arrangement.
In addition to her many volunteer activities, Pinky had plenty of other interests. She was a voracious reader, lover of history, and member of Delphic Club. She loved the outdoors — enjoying nature, hiking, searching for wildflowers, picking up interesting rocks and leaves, working in the garden, playing golf, camping — it was where she was her happiest. Indoors, she loved entertaining, cooking, and keeping a pretty home. She “collected” china, crystal, and silver and it pained her that her daughters were not as appreciative of her ‘pretties’ as she was. She had a huge collection of china demitasse cups and saucers and loads of Fiestaware (both of which her daughters do have and appreciate!). Pinky loved games, especially bridge and Mah Jongg, and she never met a crossword puzzle she couldn’t solve. She was a traveler, adventurer, and an independent woman. Pinky’s faith in God sustained her through good times and bad, and she was a good and faithful friend to many. She possessed a keen sense of humor, and she was able to see beauty in people and things, both ordinary and extraordinary. Some of her greatest gifts to her daughters were teaching them each how to be a friend, to love nature, to look for the good in everything, to be self-reliant, and to trust in God.
Pinky was preceded in death by her husband, David Mac Dodson; her sister, Mary Ann White Connors; her parents, Edith Gray White and Raymond Clifford White; and her nephew, Kevin Michael Connors.
She is survived by her daughters, Jan McCallum (Rex) of Tiki Island, Texas, and Kim Crawford of Cordova, Tennessee; her grandchildren, David McCallum (Markee), Kim McCallum, Kerry Crawford, and Kevin Crawford (Laura), her great-granddaughter, Elliot Marie McCallum; her nephew and nieces, Brian Connors, Kelly Reilly, and Bridget Connors; and her great-niece, Stephanie Connors.
A memorial service celebrating Pinky’s life will be held at First Presbyterian Church, Paducah, Kentucky, on Friday, 22 November, at 11 a.m. Her ashes will be interred at Lynnhurst Cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee, at a graveside service on Sunday, 24 November, tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m. Memorial gifts may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Girl Scouts of America, Phi Mu Foundation, Paducah Public Library, Master Gardeners, First Presbyterian Church (Paducah), or to the charity of your choice.
The family would like to give special thanks to the caregivers and staff at The Cottages at Clear Lake (Texas) and Seasons at Southpoint (Durham, N.C.), and to her many Paducah friends and neighbors, especially Caroline Yaffe and Marcia Stacy, and all of those who loved and sustained her. There will never be another Pinky!
Condolences can be left for the family at carnesfuneralhome.com/doris-pinky-gray-white-dodson.