Dorothenia Free Carter, 80, of Greensboro (Raleigh), NC transitioned to a peaceful sleep on Tuesday, November 29th, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Dorothenia, affectionately known as “Dot”, was an amazing woman who will leave many to grieve her death.
Dorothenia was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on June 23, 1942, to the late James Albert Free, Sr. and Eula Perry Free Smith, the couple’s only daughter and youngest of four. As a youngster, she attended Rena Bullock Elementary in Pleasant Garden, NC. She briefly attended public school in Brooklyn, New York before returning to NC where she attended and graduated from James B. Dudley High School in 1960. As a proud “Panther” she later became an avid class reunion committee member and organizer.
While attending North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University she met and later married Kenneth Barnett Carter, Sr. Their union welcomed two beautiful children. Dorothenia continued her education at NC A&T and graduated with a degree in Social Studies & Psychology in 1966. She later completed a certification in Special Education.
Dorothenia had a unique gift and passion for teaching. Focusing on special education, she began her 31-year teaching career at Ridgeview High School in Hickory, NC. She and Kenneth later moved to Greensboro, NC where she became a teacher for the Greensboro City/Guilford County School System (GCGCSS). While working for the GCGCSS, she taught at Washington Street, Erwin, and Frazier elementary schools. She received numerous awards and accolades within the GCGCSS for her work in the field of education. In 1997 she earned the Celebrating Excellence Award for the North Carolina PTA Association District 17. After 31 years of dedicated service, she retired the same year.
Dorothenia loved serving her community and was heavily involved in several organizations focusing on politics, education, and most importantly, her faith. She was baptized at the East Market Street Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Greensboro, NC where she maintained her membership. As a member of East Market Street SDA Church, Dorothenia served as the Director of Senior Ministries (The Golden Age Society) and was a member of the Napoleon B Smith Adventist Academy School board. She was a Senior Choir member and a Hospitality Committee member. Dorothenia also served as a board member of the North Carolina Senior Adult Ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, South Atlantic Conference.
One of her many joys was her extended Free, Ferree, Strickland family and the annual reunion which she co-founded in the late 1960’s. She was known for her many creative contributions that made each reunion special.
Dorothenia was an active Life Member of the National Education Association/North Carolina Association of Educators. In 1991, she joined the Greensboro Chapter of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club (NANBPWC) where she served as the chaplain, member of the hospitality committee and co-chair of the Reading is Fundamental Program. In 2010, she was given the President’s Award from the NANBPWC. She was active with the Greensboro Democratic Party and later was a pollster for many years at Peeler Community Recreation Center and Bessemer Elementary in Guilford County.
Dorothenia was the beloved wife of Kenneth B. Carter, Sr. and mother of three children: Adrianne D. Carter (Danny), Kenneth B. Carter, Jr (Nakira), and Anthony Simons; grandmother to three granddaughters, Carisa Moore-Wheeler (Marlon), Shayla Vermillion (David) and Kayden Carter; and two great-granddaughters, Myla and Lyla Vermillion. She was sister to James Albert Free Jr., William Free, and was preceded in death by Phillip Free. She leaves behind a host of nieces and nephews, cousins and co-workers who became lifelong friends.
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