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