Doris Marie Dickson Anderson, born on May 24, 1930, in Valley Stream, Long Island, N.Y., to Clarence Dickson and Anna Kline Dickson, went home to be with Jesus on Nov. 6, 2017, surrounded by family and some of her favorite staff at Green Hills Retirement Community. She looked forward to being reunited with her husband, her parents, her stepfather, Elsner Pearsall, and her brother, John Dickson, as well as many close friends and extended family.
Left to carry on her legacy are her siblings, Ruth Chase, Paul (Glenna) Dickson; daughters, Karen Anderson and Mary Beth (Ken) Neighoff; eight grandchildren including their spouses; four great grandchildren; and dearly loved nieces and nephews.
Her family and loved ones will gather to celebrate her life, with no formal service being planned at this time — though in her final weeks she mentioned some funny stories that would finally be appropriate to share at her memorial service.
Doris grew up in Valley Stream, Long Island, N.Y., where she lived with her parents and siblings, as well as her step-father, after her father’s passing. Being a German Irish New Yorker, she was by default a strong woman. All who knew her would attest to her strength and determination, which were defining qualities throughout her life. She was also respectful, gentle, caring, understanding, and full of a particular brand of humor that will be remembered fondly. Though she was born with a hearing impairment, she never lived in its shadow. She attended Eastern Nazarene College, leaving after her father’s death to return to her home and work at Sperry Rand. In 1954, she married John Anderson. They were brought together by a singular focus — the mission field. While she thought that she would be going to Africa, God had other plans, and the couple spent the majority of their working lives in India where John grew up as the son of missionaries.
In 1961, while living in Indiana, Doris was involved in a traumatic car accident as a pedestrian. She was walking home from a wedding with her husband and friend, and was hit by a drunk driver. She was thrown 60 feet and sustained compound fractures in both legs. After three months in the hospital, three months in a hospital bed at home, and 10 months in a wheelchair, she learned to walk again. She entered an x-ray technician training program the next year at Rosalind Hospital in South Chicago, where she learned skills that would later enable her to make significant contributions to the x-ray department at Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Washim, India. The couple went to India to be missionaries with the Church of the Nazarene in 1966, where they spent time church planting and working for the church in Washim, Delhi and Calcutta before retiring. While she was in Calcutta, she worked with hearing impaired children and their families. Having always had to work around her own hearing impairment, she was immediately overwhelmed upon her arrival in India. She listened through lip reading and had to learn a new language with new accents in a brand new culture. She said many times that she questioned God in sending her, while still believing that He had a plan and a purpose that included her hearing impairment. Her work in Calcutta was pivotal, as it was there that she was given a deeper understanding of God’s purpose for her in India. She was able to show families that their children’s impairments did not define their value. In this, she was profoundly grateful. During her time spent in India, she also enjoyed summers in the Himalayas, being involved in school activities — including writing a school play, and Bible studies with other missionaries. After retiring, they went from Bourbonnais, Ill., to Warren, PA and eventually settled in West Liberty, where they lived at Green Hills Retirement Community.
While her husband was working with churches and the Indian community, Doris was creating a home. She had a gift for making every house they lived in a place of sanctuary and she excelled in hospitality. She remained connected to her friends all over the world through entertaining and writing, and to Doris, everyone became a friend. John went to be with the Lord in 2016 and she spent the last year continuing to do what she loved. She read, wrote, had a poem published, pieced away at landscape puzzles, told her fantastic stories to anyone who would listen and remained arguably the greatest pen pal many have ever known. Her legacy is one of forgiveness, acceptance, and letting people know that they mattered. All who are left to remember her will carry on a piece of her story with thankful hearts.
The family would like to thank both the staff at Ohio State University Hospital and the staff at Green Hills Retirement Community, for the excellent quality of care she received.
Memorial contributions may be made to The John and Doris Anderson Memorial Scholarship through the Nazarene Foundation, www.cnf.nazarenefoundation.org/donate_now (Under the designation, use the scroll bar to locate the John and Doris Anderson Memorial Scholarship, which will go to help those attending the nursing college or x-ray training in Reynolds Memorial Hospital, in Washim, India or the South India Seminary) and to Universal Home Health and Hospice.