Dorothea Laurence Risker
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


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.