Dorothy Leola Thompson Thomas Shackelford, a joyful educator who loved to share her hard-won wisdom and deep knowledge of God’s Word with others, passed from this life to reward on May 2, 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA. Dorothy was born in Nashville, TN on July 26, 1933, the first child of William and Pauline (Cheatham) Thompson.  

Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Paul A. Thompson, as well as by John W. Thomas, whom she married in 1954, and Arligues H. Shackelford, whom she married in 1995. She is survived by sons Courtland Wesley Thomas of Columbus, OH and Stephen Michael Thomas of Pittsburgh, PA; granddaughter Amanda S. Patterson-Thomas and great-grandson Courtland Patterson, both of Glenville, MD; devoted sister, Grace Thompson Neely of Columbus, OH; brothers William R. Thompson of Nashville, TN, Leslie E. (Marilyn) Thompson of Dublin, OH and David M. Thompson of Columbus, OH.  Dorothy had more than 30 nieces and nephews, whom she loved. She was an enthusiastic curator of family history, which she shared often with relatives.

Dorothy was known for her generosity, her lively spirit and sense of humor, and her dedication to Christian service. A pioneering educator, Dorothy was the first African-American teacher in Gallatin, TN and Meadville, PA. During her 50-year teaching career, she taught in the Pittsburgh and the Columbus Public Schools and received numerous awards for excellence. Dorothy helped to develop two Christian schools: Bible Way Christian Academy in Columbus, OH and Reid Temple Christian Academy in Glenn Dale, MD.

Dorothy graduated from Pearl Senior High School in Nashville, TN in 1951.  She graduated from Tennessee A & I University (now Tennessee State) in Nashville, TN, with a Bachelor’s degree in Science Education in 1967. She also graduated from Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University with an M.S in Education, and earned an M.S. in Theology/Counseling from Methodist Theological School in Ohio (Delaware, OH) in 1991.  

Dorothy was a faithful member of Reid Temple AME Church in Glenn Dale, MD for more than 20 years. Dorothy was also a member of Bible Way Church and Rhema Christian Center in Columbus, OH, as well as St. John A.M.E. in Worthington, OH. She will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by all who knew her well.   

A memorial service to celebrate her life will be announced at a later date.