Dorothy Mae Conner was the fourth child born to the late John McKinley and Sarah Pegram in Brunswick, Virginia. From birth, she was a member of the Mount Zion AME Church in Blackstone, VA. Although she was educated in the Brunswick County district, it would not be long before she was old enough to relocate to Brooklyn, New York where she would meet and marry the love of her life Paul Lawrence Conner. From that union, ten children were born. Paul was her loving groom for 62 years. She took pride in being a wife and mother; always preparing home cooked meals as well as desserts. Her southern skills resulted in country cuisine such as ho-cake pan bread, Brunswick stew, raisin pound cakes for Christmas and sweet potato pies for Thanksgiving. Whenever Paul made her angry she would tell him “just for that, I’m not cutting your toenails”.
Dorothy was a woman who loved life to the fullest. She loved traveling as well as being an adventurer. Three times she climbed Duns River Falls in Jamaica. Her adventurist side got the better of her, jumping on a home-made go cart that son David assembled; she took off full speed ahead before he could tell her that the contraption had no breaks. She landed across the street in the hedges; God sparing her life for greater things.
After raising her children, she worked as a home attendant until leaving to be a full time pastor’s wife. First starting as the First Lady of St. Paul Community Church, she was a willing worker on the Missionary Board, Choir and an active Sunday School member. There she would teach her culinary skills to the young adults. Many cakes sales help with the building of the church as well as community outreach. She would later become the First Lady of St. John CME Church for the entire tenure of her husband and Pastor Rev. Paul L. Conner until the time of his retirement; at which time she became the First Mother.
Loved by her nieces and nephews, it has been quoted that “Aint Dot” was a full force in our lives. With her there was never judgment or criticizing but she was an encourager and one that made a great impact in people’s lives. Her positive presence brought life and laughter everywhere she went. Matthew 5:16 says “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” From church functions, to family gatherings to her last place of residence, her presence filled the atmosphere with light and she life an impact on so many lives that will never be forgotten.
Considered to be a woman of wisdom, some of her famous quotes were: “if it don’t start out right, it won’t end up right”. “God ain’t sleep”. “Keep your mouth shut and your ears open”. “Those at the bottom shall rise to the top”. “When I leave here, life won’t owe me nothing.”
She lived her best life, something that she shared with both family and friends. We thank God because although sickness slowed down her physical body, she never lost her praise. After spending the previous day in worship and prayer unto her God and King; on Saturday Morning of March 27th, Dorothy went home into the arms of her awaiting Savior; prepared was her eternal home and robe arrayed in white according to Revelation 7:13-14. Beloved Husband Paul along with sons, Michael David and Joseph Steven Conner were waiting for her at the banks of the Jordon River; together again for all eternity.
She leaves to cherish loving memories; eight children, Cassandra Bell (Terry); Deborah Conner-Joseph (Anthony); Paul Gary Conner, Dorothy Linda Conner-Henry, Pastor Karen Conner Wilson (Douglas); Jeffery Conner, Lisa Harper (Linden), and Latricia Reynolds (Wali). Sisters Annette Conner and Elaine Ames;27 grandchildren, 67 great grandchildren, 8 great-great grandchildren, the St. John CME Church family and a host of nieces and nephews, spiritual sons and daughters, family and friends.
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