MARIETTA. GA --- Dorothy (Dottie) Browning Adams, 64, who devoted her life to supporting individuals with disabilities and their families, died of cancer on Tuesday, Dec. 27, after a stunning nine-year testament to strength, courage, determination and grace.
Dottie was born Aug. 5, 1952, the daughter of the late Howard Marion Browning and Ethel Lumsden Browning. She spent her childhood in North Carolina. She married Keith Adams in 1971. They moved to Fitzgerald and she began her career supporting individuals with disabilities and their families.
When Dottie and Keith divorced, Dottie and their two boys, Chris and Casey, moved to Athens where, as a single mom, she earned a master’s degree in education at the University of Georgia. She raised her boys and golden retrievers in Athens, working at Advantage Behavioral Health Systems for 25 years. In 2002, she took a position on the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. Although she officially retired in 2012, she continued working with the Council making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities, literally up to a few days before her death.
Her work exemplified the very best in supporting people with disabilities and their families. Where there was innovation and best practices in disability services in Georgia, Dottie almost always played some role. Dottie often reminded us, “All means all. The capacity of our communities is diminished when anyone is excluded.”
She was considered a mentor to essentially everyone in Georgia’s disability community and was respected by professionals across the nation. Her awards and commendations are far too numerous to list here. This year she was honored with a Proclamation from the American Association on Intellectual Disabilities as a Luminary, “in appreciation and gratitude for her leadership whose light has shown both within Georgia and far beyond.” However, to grasp the depth of her impact, one would need to listen to hundreds of mothers tell how their and their children’s lives were transformed by Dottie Adams. On her life’s work, Dottie once said: “This work is about taking the journey with people. We can’t always make things better, but we can make sure people don’t feel alone”.
When you were loved by Dottie Adams, you never had to feel alone. She loved and was loved by many, many friends.She was fiercely devoted to her parents. When her mother needed more support, Dottie brought her in and cared for her for the rest of her life. She loved and supported her sons in all that they did. As Godmother to Eason Hopkins, she set a new standard for that role and many felt that it was her boundless love for her grandbabies that kept her alive over these last years.
Dottie’s daughter-in -law, Melissa spoke for hundreds of people when she described Dottie as “the strongest, most caring, creative, ingenious, compassionate, thoughtful, selfless, loving individual ever.”
Dottie was an artist who created beautiful quilts. It is estimated that she made more than 100 over her lifetime. Although she would occasionally make a quilt “on commission”, she almost always gave them away or raffled them for her favorite charity, Relay for Life. She loved the Pilot Club and was a faithful and very active member. She continued to attend Pilot Club meetings and make quilts up to the last month of her life.
Dottie said that her mother told her “to be kind, treat people the way you would want to be treated, listen, protect children’s hearts and spirits and do the right thing.” That’s how she lived. Every day.
Dottie is survived by her son Chris Adams, his wife Melissa and their girls Gracen and Anna; son Casey, his wife Eva and children Skyler and Thomas; and a Godson, Eason Hopkins.
A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at Westview Cemetery, 5631 Road, Lula, GA 30554. The Ward Funeral Home in Gainesville is in charge of arrangements.
A service of Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, Jan. 7, at 1 p.m. at the Centenary United Methodist Church, 1290 College St., Macon, GA 31201.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hall County Relay for Life in Dottie’s name.