Dorothea Laurence Risker
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Dorothea Laurence Risker
  • February 15, 1919 - December 12, 2017
  • Huntsville, Alabama

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Joseph H. and Geneva Laurence welcomed their fourth child,


Sabbath morning, February 15, 1919, in Birmingham, Alabama. They


considered her a blessing and named her Dorothea "Gift of God."


Her parents dedicated her to God's service.


At an early age she was heard announcing to her younger siblings


that she was a "Gift". They were not impressed. However, nine


decades later, we can all attest that she has been a blessing to


each family member in a special way. In crucial times of need we


have all received, loving, skillful, professional care.


Dorothea always said she had not planned to be a nurse, "it just


happened." After graduating from Indiana Academy, she enrolled at


Oakwood Junior College, and chose the shortest course offered;


pre-nursing. When she was denied entrance to Adventist medical


training schools, she found herself a member of the "7 Angels"


enrolled at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. She


cherished the memory of time spent there; she made lifelong


friends, one of whom called her three days before she passed.


Dorothea enjoyed working at Provident in Chicago and Homer G.


Phillips in St. Louis, among other venues. It was here she received


the blessing of a life time. During many family worships, she would


share her testimony. As she was leaving St. Louis not sure where


she should go, she entered the train station and just stood there. A


tall uniformed man came toward her and offered to buy her ticket.


She hesitated momentarily, but followed him. Before he asked


"Where to?" Cleveland came into her mind. He smiled, brought her a


first class ticket, she thanked him, and he left. Having some time


before leaving, she went to a friend's home to wait. She told of this


handsome, blond, blue eyed attendant who had been so kind. "I've


never heard of that service. why did he buy first class? You could


have saved some money. Cash it in and change it." Dorothea always


regretted that she listened. When she returned she inquired about


the service the young man had provided. There was no such service.


She realized that it must have been her Guardian Angel who had


helped her. She learned that when God helps you, accept it humbly


and gratefully, don't change anything. Dorothea always expressed


the hope of meeting him again in the earth made new.


While in Cleveland, she joined the Red Cross. She taught home


nursing classes to church members and the local community. At


least one child's life was saved as a result of class information


shared. During a polio epidemic in Cleveland, Dorothea worked on a


polio unit at Cleveland Clinic.


While in Cleveland, Dorothea was inspired to become a Physical


Therapist because of a niece with cerebral palsy. She was


determined Daria would have first class care. She kept her 2 years


and provided this care.


In November, 1989 she married Frederick L. Risker, and acquired


two adult sons, daughter in law, and an adored grandchild, Eiko. She


and Fred were true roadrunners. They traveled extensively by land,


sea and air. Following his death she moved to Oakwood to live with


her nephew Philip Richards. Here at Oakwood she returned to


physical therapy, her joy. She worked a short time at Dynamic


Performance with Dr. David Peterson until her final retirement in


2006.


Dorothea enjoyed memberships in the Oakwood Church Chorale,


Committee of 100 for Oakwood University, the King's Daughters, and


H.A.R.A.W. organization. She was active until her illness.


She will be missed by her family, many friends and extended family.