DOROTHY LEE JOHNSON MCNAIR was born to the late George Johnson and Elizabeth Underdue Johnson on July 1, 1926, in Henrico, North Carolina, and peacefully entered into eternal rest at 7:55 P.M on Saturday, October 29, 2016, at her home in Littleton, North Carolina.
During her early life, she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, was baptized, and became a member of the Gaston Baptist Church in Gaston, North Carolina. Her family later relocated to Troy, New York, where she attended Public Schools 5 and 14 and graduated from Troy High School with the class of 1945. She was a varsity cheerleader, was always interested in the arts, and learned to sculpt, paint, and play several instruments, including the piano, organ, accordion, and harmonica. Throughout her high school years, she was also a vocalist at the 5th Avenue A.M.E. Church in Troy, New York, and later had the opportunity to sing at Cornegie Hall in New York and the APOLLO Theatre in Harlem, New York. She had several RCA Victor record recordings, and many people have been blessed to hear her wonderful singing voice.
Although Dorothy was accepted to the famed Julliard School in New York, to major in music, her father did not believe that women needed a college education. However, she did receive yet another chance to go to college on a scholarship to Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, where she did attend. While there, she pledged and crossed into Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc. She later graduated with her bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate from Trenton State College in New Jersey. During her life as an educator, she touched the lives of so many children throughout the country.
In July 1947, Dorothy was united in marriage to John Howard McNair, Sr. She became a loving military wife who traveled the world with him. They were first stationed in Kyoto, Japan, where they gave birth to a son, John Howard, Jr., in May 1949. Later travels landed them in Fort Dix, New Jersey, and their first daughter, Parthena, was born. They then traveled to Europe and were stationed in Toul, France, where their third child, Deborah was welcomed into the family in November 1954, born at the closest military hospital which was hours away in Lansthul, Germany.
After a few other assignments, they were sent to the Orient again. Yes, you have it, they went back to Japan, where Daryl was born in Camp Zama in 1963. Once John retired from the army, they bought a home in Willingboro, New Jersey. Although Dorothy had been primarily a homemaker, she did some substitute teaching throughout the years. In pursuit of her love for teaching, she began teaching primary education in New Jersey, and shared many experiences that endeared her to those young minds she positively impacted on a daily basis.
After many years of residence in New Jersey, Dorothy and John wanted to fulfill their dream of moving to North Carolina, and owning property in the country. In 1977, they purchased an old farmhouse in Littleton, North Carolina, with acres of land and another small home with a pond on the property. In 1978, they moved to their heartfelt dreams of the country, extended family, and friendships that circled around many retired veterans in the area. Dorothy became a member of the Oak Grove Baptist Church in Littleton, North Carolina, where she spent many years singing in her church choir and also with the TS Cooper Ensemble. She also developed many other friendships while teaching in the local school district. She always loved stimulating minds and strongly believed that “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”. She ended her teaching career in the Warren County Public School System in Warrenton, North Carolina.
Friendships, as with Matthew Cooper, who, after a discussion with John, Sr., came up with the idea of creating a local American Legion Post. After meeting in various churches and other places, they realized that a permanent post home was necessary. Seeing this great need, and armed with the motto “For Love of God and Country” firmly in their hearts, Dorothy and John decided to donate an acre of their property with the small existing home for the creation of an actual American Legion Post. With this donation, the original dream of American Legion Post 425 in Littleton, North Carolina, General Chappie James materialized, and with the understanding that as long as the Legion existed, and the Post never folded, they always had a home. Dorothy and John believed that with the love and dedication of the Legionnaires and Auxiliary, this property would be the Post home forever.
Dorothy was founder, organizer, and the first President of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary of Post 425. She also served as First Division President, 1990-1991, and continued this service in various State American Legion Ladies Auxiliary capacities throughout her involvement with the organization. Additionally, she served as the POW/MIA Chairman/Ex-Officio for thirty consecutive years and was known as, “The lady who loved the POW’S”. Throughout her life, she was a member of the Amvets Ladies Auxiliary, VFW Ladies Auxiliary, DAV Ladies Auxiliary, and the Le Femmes. Dorothy always possessed steadfast Christian values, exemplary vision, and the true spirit of giving.
Dorothy loved literature, challenging puzzles such as Sudoku, and watching western movies. Her greatest joy was spending quality time with her four children, six grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
In addition to her parents and husband, Dorothy was preceded in death by her sister, Parthena; and her brother, Floyd.
Those remaining to forever treasure the precious memory of her life and share the legacy of love are her four children, John H. McNair, Jr. of Galloway, NJ, Chaplain Parthena Skipper Green (William) of Wilmington, NC, Deborah Renee Correll of Richmond, VA, and her “Baby boy”, Daryl McNair (Kathy) of Lexington, SC; her six grandchildren, Darrick (Marquita), Yavonne (Frederick), “Jay”, Nicole, John, and Olivia; nine great-grandchildren; her youngest brother, Albert Harding of Troy, NY; and two loving nieces, two nephews, three great-nieces, one great-nephew, many cousins and friends who will all miss her dearly.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 P.M. on Saturday, November 5, 2016, at the Oak Grove Baptist Church in Littleton, NC. The Pastor, Rev. Dr. Charles McCollum, will officiate, and burial will follow in the Crestview Memorial Cemetery, 489 Smith Church Road, Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Friday, November 4, 2016, from 6:00 – 8:00 P.M., and the body will repose at the church for one hour prior to the funeral time. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Community Home Care and Hospice, 525 Becker Drive, Roanoke Rapids, NC, or to the American Lung Association, 55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150, Chicago, IL 60601, in memory of Mrs. Dorothy Lee Johnson McNair.