Joy Dodson

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SAN ANGELO Joy Dodson, 87, born Feb. 8, 1927, died Saturday, May 31, 2014. Wilma Joy Livingston was born and grew up in San Angelo, Texas, the daughter of Jess and Mamie Livingston. She was an active member of First Christian Church and an avid tennis player. As a teenager, she decided to be a missionary to Africa. Upon earning her B.A. degree in psychology and religion from Texas Christian University in 1948, Joy received a full scholarship to complete a Master of Science in nursing at Yale University. Pursuing studies in mission work, Joy met and married the Rev. Dr. James Richard Dodson. Ordained to be a missionary by First Christian Church, the Rev. Joy Dodson served together with her husband as missionaries of the Christian church (Disciples of Christ) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1953-1964. Joy gave birth to three children, Janet, David and Carol, on the equator in the Congo. During the revolution leading to Congo independence, Joy took the three young children south across the border - refugees in northern Rhodesia. The family returned to Africa in 1967, spending one year in Tanzania and a year in the Ivory Coast. The family returned to the Congo (Zaire) in 1975, where Joy was a nurse in the American Embassy medical unit. In 1979, the Dodsons settled on a small farm in Brownsville, Texas, where Joy taught nursing at Texas Southmost College. Joy retired in 1992. At age 66, Joy volunteered with Church World Service to serve as a nurse in Somalia for six months, living in a UNHCR compound. Joy built, staffed and supplied three village clinics, despite frequent outbreaks of violence. At her Yale 50th class reunion in 2001, Joy received a Distinguished Alumna award. Preceded by her husband in death in 2010, she is survived by her brother, James (wife Lynn) Livingston; her daughter Janet DuGay; son David Dodson; daughter Carol Richardson; granddaughter Shantala (husband Raghunand) DuGay-Iyengar; granddaughter Christina Richardson; grandson Clint (wife Molly Rothenberg) Richardson; and great-grandson Arka Iyengar. Donations in memory of Joy be made to Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church World Service or Yale School of Nursing scholarship fund. Graveside service will be held at noon Thursday, June 12, 2014, in Fairmount Cemetery officiated by the Rev. Carol Richardson and the Rev. Dr. James P. Livingston. Services are under the direction of Shaffer Funeral Home/Sherwood Way. Online condolences can be made online at

Published in GoSanAngelo from June 8 to June 9, 2014
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