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Former dean at Grambling State to be remembered Saturday

The funeral and homegoing service will be held for Dr. Dorothy Alexander on Saturday at King’s Funeral Home, 1511 W. California Ave, Ruston, Louisiana at 11 a.m. Dr. Alexander died at the Legend Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Austin, Texas on Sunday, February 28. 

The family hour and Omega Omega Service (Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.) for Dr. Alexander will be held Friday, March 11 from 6-8 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 538 S. Main, Grambling, Louisiana.  

Dorothy Alexander

Dorothy Alexander

She will be interred in the Grambling Memorial Garden immediately following the funeral.

Dorothy Lamour Alexander, born May 8, 1939, was the only girl and fifth child of 10 children born to Charlie B. “C.B.” and Lula “Null” (Common) Alexander.  Born in Belzonia, Mississippi (on a plantation called “Hard Cash”), Dorothy later moved with her family to Jackson, Mississippi, where she attended Lanier High School and where she was a member of the New Hope Baptist Church.

Dorothy confessed Christ at an early age and remained committed and active in the church until her health declined. 

Better known as “DA”,  Dr. Alexander was generous and always looked for opportunities to make things better for others.

“DA” was the first person in her family to earn a college degree, graduating from Tougaloo College in 1962, with a major in biology.   She stayed at Tougaloo and worked as a library assistant for a year.  She loved Tougaloo and often contributed monetarily to it.  Afterwards, she attended the University of Washington at Seattle where she earned the master’s degree in Library Sciences (1965).

Dorothy moved to Portland, Oregon to become an instructor and the Science Librarian, at the University of Oregon. She also earned a master’s in education from Portland State University.  

She briefly worked at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory (Education Research Lab). She later earned her Ph.D. in educational testing and measurement from Ohio State University.  She then took a position with the Central Office of the Dallas School System in Dallas, Texas, but later returned to Pacific Northwest Laboratory.  

In 1987, Dorothy left Portland, Oregon, to take a faculty position at Grambling State University (GSU).  For more than 20 years, Dorothy was an active and vibrant part of the Grambling, Louisiana community.  

 At GSU, she was a professor of Educational Leadership in the College of Education, director of the GSU Academic Skills Center, and finally retired as the dean of the College of Basic and Special Studies in 2005.  She was a volunteer with several youth sports programs.

She was also a very proud member of Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated, having been initiated into the Grambling Alumnae Chapter in March of 1991.  She served as chapter president and donated land to the sorority. The Grambling Delta Foundation has a two-week summer reading program that she started that is now named after her, "The Dorothy Alexander ‘Read-Me-a-Story Program’.”

She got the local Delta chapter involved in sponsoring three summer little league baseball teams.  She also worked with Delta Teen Lift, which is an initiative that mentors young ladies, and teenagers in the community.  

She was active in the community as vice-president and director of the non-profit Pinkie T. Wilkerson Life Development Center. She worked as an administrative advisor with the Louisiana Annual Conference of United Methodists.  

She started and was the director of the Little League baseball team in Grambling, Louisiana and she was instrumental in getting students into college. She sponsored many college students in the community who needed help. 

She was an active member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church where she taught Sunday School. She was committed to getting many unchurched children in Grambling to come to St. Luke and she was quite successful. 

She was a delegate to the Diocesan convention and a member Bishop’s Council until she relocated to Austin, Texas.  D.A. was also a Junior Warden of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. She was the coordinator for the Absalom Jones’ Lectures. She was also a member on the Diocesan Commission on Dismantling Racism.  She traveled extensively and visited more than 20 countries during her life time including, The Gambia, Egypt, South Africa, Israel, Dubai UAE, Barbados, Canada, the Bahamas, Greece, Mexico, and Ghana. 

In 1971, Dorothy adopted 3-year old Joe Edward Alexander, who was the love of her life.  They enjoyed decades as mother and son until Joe was killed in a tragic accident in Portland, OR in 1993.  After Joe’s death, she took a sabbatical to Gambia, West Africa, which helped her heal.  It also helped her open her heart and her home to other young men.  Dorothy became the mom to Momodou Lamin “Mo” Baldeh from Biakama, Gambia, West Africa in 1995. Mo graduated from GSU with a BS in Political Science and earned the J.D. from the University of Denver School of Law.   He is now an attorney in New York City.  Dorothy later became mom to Pa Manding Sanneh, a young man, who as a college freshman at GSU, came to stay with Dorothy from Biakama, Gambia in 2000.  Pa married Brooke Ellen Voelker.  Pa and Brooke have one child Matty Jane Sanneh.  Dorothy was also Blasius Awonsang from Bamenda, Cameroon.  He is the son of the late Madeline and Nichole Awonsang.  He came to live with Dorothy his sophomore year (August 2003) and stayed until he graduated from GSU.  He completed graduate studies at Kansas State University and now works as a specialized police officer (Agent) with the state of Arkansas.  He is currently pursuing his PhD in Criminal Justice at the University of Arkansas- Little Rock.  Another son, Albert Glenroy Allen, came to live with Dorothy as a college freshman.  He is from Montserat, Virgin Islands.  He married Charlene Marie Porter from Sulphur, LA.  They have 2 children: Albert Glenroy Allen, Jr. and Cassidy Venesse Allen.

These are only a few of the people she referred to as “son” and Dorothy had numerous “daughters”.   The name “Alexander” means, “Helper of Mankind.”  A proponent of educational achievement, Dorothy mentored hundreds of young people, from little league sports to adults.  Her home at Medgar Evers Drive became a community gathering place and was temporary home to dozens of young college students during their tenure at GSU.  After she retired, Dorothy moved to Arcadia, LA where she became friends with several residents of the Leslie Lakes Retirement Center.  She moved to Austin, TX in 2013.  While there, she enjoyed spending time with her friend, Dr. Mary Minter, Mary’s family, and members of the Alexander family.  Dorothy was also faithful in church in Austin, Texas and joined the Hyde Park Christian Church where she participated in the Sunday School and other church activities.  Dorothy transitioned into full eternal life at the Legend Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Austin, Texas on February 28, 2016.  

The name, “Dorothy,” means, “Gift of God.” In her travels to Gambia, Dorothy was given the name “Allah Losoro” which also means “Gift of God”.   Dorothy was a Gift of God to everyone she met and in every place she travelled. She was a person of integrity who believed in loving family and friends by being present in their lives.  She made a concerted effort to stay connected with her friends and family, even during her illness.  She was articulate, passionate and vocal.  She was an apt debater, but also laughed easily and often.  In addition to her work with young people, she also worked with senior citizens, and a number of community groups.  

She had a great friendship (of more than 40 years) with Dr. Jerome “Jerry” Wilson, as well as Dr. Ethel Young, Maxine Turner, Captain (retired) Walker Williams, “The Family” (Dr. Edward and Andolyn Harrison, Brenda Cooper, Dr. Larry Lewis, Dr. A. Phillip “My Brother” and Gloria Butler, Gwendolyn Spencer, Rhonda Fleming, and Elfreda “Sis” Humphries), Dr. Ethel Simon McWilliams, sisters of the late Dr. Susan H. Hashway (Janice H. Curtain, Joan H. Lisee, and Betty H. Gould), Carol Townsend, Gail Murray, and Simon Boone, to mention a few.  According to one of her loving friends, “She had lots and lots of friends-in all circles: church, community, every place she’s ever lived, every country she’s ever visited. To name them all would take another 16 pages.” 

She leaves to cherish her memory several sons (Mo, Blasius, Pa, Albert, Jamal Story, Adekunle Adeleye, Rico Rivers, Cuzembe Muato Abena, “Erich”), several grandchildren, 2 brothers [Major (retired) Bing C. Alexander (Warner Robbins, GA) and Edward Alexander, (Sacramento, CA)], 8 sisters-in-laws [Nell (J.B), Annie H. (James), Geraldine (Hank), Anita (Bing), Annie F. (Joseph), Gloria (Edward), Chung Mun (Edward), and Gloria H. (Dean)], and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, colleagues, mentees, and friends. Special thanks to the members of the Grambling Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated. The family of the late Dr. Dorothy Lamour Alexander, would especially like to publically recognize and thank Dr. Mary Minter, who became her caregiver.