The Rev. Dr. Dosia Carlson
1930 - 2021
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The Rev. Dr. Dosia Carlson

A pastor, composer, writer, visionary, and humble community leader on multiple fronts - The Rev. Dr. Dosia Carlson succumbed to complications from COVID-19 January 13, two days following her 91st birthday. A dynamo all her decades, she remained active through her final night.

Rooted in family love, Dosia's life began in 1930 in Huron, South Dakota. While the temperature hovered at 30 below zero, her minister father and educator mother knew their daughter was destined to warm hearts as she would carry on their familial dedication to service.

Most of her childhood, Dosia spent in Toledo, Ohio. She spent her entire first year of high school in the Toledo Crippled Children's Home receiving treatment for polio. Though polio altered her life plan to be a missionary in China, it didn't alter her mission to help others.

After receiving her bachelor's degree from the University of Toledo, she developed and directed the high school program of Feilbach School for Orthopedically Handicapped. After obtaining her Master's at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, Dosia returned to Ohio and taught in the religion department at Defiance College for fourteen years. Eventually, she attained her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, an achievement accomplished despite numerous months-long hospital stays, an experience that was to guide her life of compassionate service for those most vulnerable.

Her growing interest in gerontology led to a year's sabbatical at Beatitudes Campus of Care, here in Phoenix. In 1974, she permanently moved to the Valley of the Sun to coordinate resident services at the Beatitudes Campus, while also serving as Associate Minister at Church of the Beatitudes, United Church of Christ. During these early years in Phoenix, she was instrumental in founding Hospice of the Valley.

Through her work, Dosia's empathy for the plight of senior citizens heightened. To realize her vision of a community where every person ages with compassion, dignity and hope, in 1981, she founded Beatitudes Center for Developing Older Adult Resources (DOAR). In 2009, the name was changed to Duet: Partners in Health & Aging.

She spent her final years residing at the Beatitudes Campus where she had served, volunteering as director for the Beatitones, a choral group of residents, and she developed the Center for Lifelong Learners on the campus.

Despite requiring some physical assistance like the seniors she had helped, per her hallmark humility, she focused on extending gratitude to others. The love she gave, she received in return, as many who were touched by her lent a hand in aiding her.

Those who know her well would agree she was humble, resilient, and had a beautiful spirit. It's no surprise the Greek meaning of her name, Dosia, is "God's gift."

Her final night, aware of her imminent passing, she faced her Maker as she sang one of her favorite hymns, exhibiting the resolve with which she launched multiple programs. In her journal, she wrote her final entry, displaying her faith and grace:

"I'm going into the promised holy life, grateful for each of you. Live in peace, love working for justice. I am moving calmly into the Divine light."

Her quiet desire was to leave a lasting legacy of service. Everyone involved in all the programs she instituted, along with tens of thousands of vulnerable older adults who have benefitted from services, are the ripples extending from this one precious woman. What a resounding testament to her inspirational life.

Dosia is survived by her brother, Bob Carlson, his wife Millie Carlson, and nephews David and Ken Carlson and their families.

A virtual memorial service will take place Sunday, February 14, at 2pm. All are welcome. The memorial gathering will be available to watch live online at the Church of the Beatitudes website (beatitudeschurch.org).

To honor her, please lend a helping hand to someone in need. Per Dosia's wishes, donations in her memory may be made to Duet: Partners In Health & Aging (duetaz.org), or the Beatitudes Campus (beatitudescampus.org).




To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7, 2021.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
FEB
14
Memorial service
02:00 PM
Memories & Condolences
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19 entries
February 22, 2021
Dosia Carlson along with Dr. Calista Olds were two grand ladies who taught at Defiance College in 1963-67. They were very supportive while I struggled having my mother and siblings trapped by the communist regime in Cuba. I remain forever grateful to them. May God have Dosia in His Glory.
Jose M. Arellano
Miami, Fl
Jose Arellano
Student
February 15, 2021
As a child in Sunday School at Pilgrim Church. I remember Dosia's smile and piano playing with arms swinging from her chair straps. Such courage is a model for me.
Christine Canning~Peterson
Student
February 13, 2021
I knew Dosia through her friend, Greta Wiseman, with whom she lived for about 40 years. Greta was a college friend of mine, and I was surprised she was not mentioned in Dosia's obituary. My late husband and I visited them a couple times in AZ, and they visited us in MN during trips there. Dosia was indeed a remarkable, talented, loving person, and my life is richer for having her as a small part of my life.
Kay Shaw
Friend
February 13, 2021
Dosia was the choir director of the children’s choir I was in at Pilgrim Congregation in the early 50’s. She was amazing and didn’t let her handicaps affect her abilities. She was in my husband’s class at DeVilbiss High School. Her father baptized me at Pilgrim when I was 3 years old. Rest In Peace Dosia. You have your angel wings.
Pat Hammonds Connolly
Student
February 9, 2021
Our family lived across the street from Rev. and Mrs. Carlson in Toledo Ohio. When we first moved into the neighborhood Rev. Carlson invited us to attend his church, Pilgrim Congregational Church. My siblings and I did and consequently we grew up in the church which began our spiritual path. On Saturday mornings Rev. and Mrs. Carlson would go to church to prepare for Sunday services. On occasions, and not knowing at the time, as I was 11 or 12 years old, I was in the presence of greatness and had the honor and privilege of keeping Dosia company while she was in an iron lung in her home. Dosia was very kind, sweet and always smiling. I have always membered her for those memories and more while growing up in the church. The role she played in my life remains with me to this day. Thank you Dosia. I extend my sincere sympathy Robby, as we called you then, and to your family. I know she is resting in peace.
Marjorie Horen-Gilliam
Friend
February 9, 2021
I studied at Defiance College from 1966-69. Dr. Carlson was a mentor and friend, and inspiration. She is solely responsible for the focus of my ministry in Christian Education and Supervised Ministries. In her career, she sowed any seeds which blossomed into "mighty" ministers. God bless her. May Dosia rest in peace and rise in glory!
William N Hamilton
Student
February 8, 2021
Dr. Carlson was my professor at Defiance College. She was not only a wonderful teacher but also a great friend to the students. When I was struggling with Spanish class she took time to tutor me and as a result I passed! Of course Spanish was not a subject she taught. She helped because I need the boost.
Dr. Carlson and Dr. Olds spent many weekends traveling with a group of students, called Pilgrims, to do programs for youth groups in churches. These are memories that will last at least a lifetime.
Carolyn Mann
Student
February 7, 2021
What an incredible human bearing. "God's Gift" how very appropriate. Dosia will always be a part of our family. My grandparents Cecil & Amy Estes were long time dear friends of Dosia's. She has received her wings. With deepest love to a beautiful lady.
Roy & Sharon
Roy
Friend
February 7, 2021
Disused was an inspiration to me from when I met her at Pilgrim Congregational Church, beginning in 1950s. She interacted with children of the church when her father was the minister. She left a lasting impression on me for her kindness, friendliness, musicality, and toughness, coping with affects of polio
I met her again in Phoenix where she was a leader in POAMconference and I was an attendee. A beautiful child snd woman of God
Linda Johnson Furtsch
February 6, 2021
Dosia was a remarkable minister and composer. She was an amazing activist for justice for all people. Together with other clergy and laity in the UCC who lived with challenging conditions, she influenced the congress to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act - which means that all public buildings must be accessible to all. Those of us who are have physical challenges due to illness, accident or aging can have access to the post office or our senator's office or our City Hall or the theater or concert hall. Think of Dosia the next time you walk up a ramp or find that, even in a wheel chair, you can attend a concert -- and utilize the rest room! Thank you Dosia. And thank you for your amazing hymns! And thank you for all you did to help LGBTQ+ people find a welcome in the Church! I look forward to seeing you at heaven's choir practice. My condolences to Rev Bob Carlson and family. Sincerely, Steve
Rev Dr Stephen Wayles
Friend
February 6, 2021
I first knew Dosia and Bob and family in Toledo, Ohio where her Dad and my husband Tuck were ministers in two UCC churches, then at Oberlin College. Over the years our friendship continued and deepened. We visited each other over the years. She was a source of joy and inspiration. She showed us how to live and serve fully in this live no matter what your physical challenges were. The world has a hole without her in it. How grateful I am to have had her part of my life and she will live on in so many of us. Bobbie Gilbert
Barbara Gilbert
Friend
February 6, 2021
I have fond memories of Dosia during her years in Defiance.
Suzanne deRoth
Friend
February 6, 2021
At Pilgrim Church in Toledo, Ohio, I was a Sunday School student where Doria played the piano with arms supported by straps on her wheelchair. I knew her as always smiling and always cheerful. My mother was the church secretary for Dosia's father and when I accompanied my mother Julia in the church office, i remember playing in the lost and found box. Later i was active in the youth organizatiin. Pil.lgrim Church and Dosia were mainstays in my early life.
Christine Canning-Peterson
Student
February 6, 2021
At Pilgrim Church in Toledo, Ohio, I was a Sunday School student where Doria played the piano with arms supported by straps on her wheelchair. I knew her as always smiling and always cheerful. My mother was the church secretary for Dosia's father and when I accompanied my mother Julia in the church office, i remember playing in the lost and found box. Later i was active in the youth organizatiin. Pil.lgrim Church and Dosia were mainstays in my early life.
Christine Cann8ng-Peterson
Student
February 5, 2021
There will NEVER be another Dosia. She was a true pioneer in making sure that aging adults are respected and have a right to lifelong learning. No one could say no to Dosia. I adored her.
Mary Jo West
Friend
February 5, 2021
Dosia was filled with and expressed the human spirit of love and caring for others. I came to feel and know her caring and guiding spirit when she served The Beatitudes and I was guiding the Flinn Foundation. It was my honor to work with her. Rest In Peace, dear Dosia.
John Murphy
Friend
February 5, 2021
I have so many fond memories from my childhood of Dosia and your mom and dad at West Milton UCC. I remember the night the youth group presented your folks with tickets to the Holy Land. I know that Dosia and Dr. Olds are together with Rev. and Mrs. Carlson are all looking down on us together holding hands celebrating a lives well live. RIP
Tom Sarver
February 5, 2021
Dosia was an inspiration to so many. Her beaming smile will be fondly remembered. May she rest in eternal peace.
Posey Moore Nash
Acquaintance
February 5, 2021
I met Dosia early in my work at the Are Agency on Aging. She was joyful, pleasant and gracious when I first met her. She did a funny and unique presentation with hats at our annual luncheon in the early years. Through the years she remained a vital asset to all who lived her vision. Her passing is such a loss to the aging community. She remain in my heart.
Laraine Stewart
Friend
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