Dorothy Ann Boston Wicker was born on September 7, 1929 in Champaign, Illinois, the third daughter of LaVerne K. Boston and Esther Zahn Boston. She passed from this life on June 9, 2019 in Roseburg, Oregon at the age of 89, as a result of complications from surgery.
Dorothy grew up in east-central Illinois during the depths of the Great Depression and World War 2, the greatest trials that this nation has ever faced. She never forgot the challenges that she endured during those years, overcoming a life of poverty as the daughter of a single mother to graduate from high school and later to earn three college degrees.
After World War 2 ended in 1945 and she graduated from Champaign Central High School in 1947, Dorothy went to work for Southern Illinois Bell – you remember, the telephone company – as an operator. It was during this time that she went on a blind date with Neil Wicker, a handsome young U.S. Air Force sergeant. The two went through a whirlwind courtship of about 12 weeks, not uncommon in those heady postwar days, and were married on November 5, 1948. She left Illinois to live with her new husband in southwestern Arkansas. During those years the young couple had two sons – Stephen in September 1949 and Thomas in August 1951. It was in 1950 that she and Neil were moved to confess their faith in Jesus and be baptized.
The Wickers moved to Roseburg in August of 1952 – there was work to be had here in the Douglas fir timber industry, and Neil had spent time here before the war came along and sent him, along with millions of other young men, into service overseas. Neil worked in local lumber and plywood mills while Dorothy spent her days raising their two sons. She occasionally worked as a waitress in local restaurants.
It was during the late 1950s that Neil felt the call to serve God as a minister, and he kept supporting the family in secular work while reading and studying on his own. In 1959, Dorothy stepped into the role of minister’s wife along with her son-raising duties, and held that role for 38 years until Neil’s death in 1997.
In 1969, with one son in college and another a senior in high school, Dorothy decided to go to college. After 22 years away from classroom studies, she was unsure of just how she would fit in with the college crowd. But she discovered that at Umpqua Community College, there were many others who were just like her, and she succeeded beyond anything she had imagined. Dorothy graduated with honors in 1971, earning an A.A. degree, and was accepted into membership in Alpha Chi, the national junior college honor society. She then began her junior year at the University of Oregon in September 1971 and eventually earned a B.S. degree in elementary education in 1973. She went on to earn a M.Ed. degree at UO, as well as earning 45 graduate credits beyond that level on the Eugene campus. She always remembered how some had predicted she would never finish college, and had asked why she had wanted an education in the first place. “I guess I showed ’em,” she said to her proud family.
Dorothy went to work for the Roseburg School District in September of 1973 as a third-grade teacher at Sunnyslope Elementary School in the Green District. She worked at Sunnyslope and later at Green Elementary for 19 years, and retired in 1992.
After Neil died in 1997, Dorothy spent 10 years living by herself on Calkins Road in Roseburg. But when taking care of that home proved too much for her failing strength, she moved in with her son Stephen and his wife Rita on Jefferson Street – really just around the corner, where she lived from May 2007 until the time of her passing.
Dorothy was a member of First Christian Church in Roseburg, joining the congregation with Stephen and Rita in January 2007. She had previously served with Neil in several Churches of Christ in southwestern Oregon, including eight years at Garden Valley Church of Christ in Roseburg.
Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Louis, and sisters Ruthie and Marie. She is survived by her sons Stephen and wife Rita of Roseburg, and Thomas of Elko, Nevada; by her younger sister Alma of Boston, Massachusetts; by numerous nephews, nieces, great-nephews, great-nieces, and in-laws; by hundreds of former students; and by a host of friends.
Pearson’s Funeral Home of Roseburg is assisting the family. Disposition was by cremation.
A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. on Friday, June 28, 2019, at First Christian Church, 432 SE Kane, in Roseburg. Any memorial gifts should be made to the Roseburg Rescue Mission or to Saving Grace Animal Shelter.