Dorothy Marie Echols, 86, of North Richland Hills, Texas, passed away at 11:40 AM December 7, 2012, at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, Texas.
Interment will be at Elmwood Memorial Park, Garden of the Gospels, 5750 Hwy. 277 South, Abilene, at 11 AM on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, followed by a family lunch provided by friends at First Baptist Church. A memorial service to celebrate her life will be at 1:30 PM on Tuesday at the First Baptist Church Chapel, 1333 North 3rd Street, in downtown Abilene. Officiating is Dr. Phil Christopher, minister of First Baptist Church. Services are under the direction of The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road. Viewing will be on Sunday and Monday, December 9 and 10 at the funeral home.
Dorothy was born in Prairie Chapel, Texas, a small farming community outside of Sanger, Texas, to Ira Luther Wilson and Minerva Alice Wilson on September 23, 1926. She started school in Prairie Chapel with her aunt, Rena Webb, as teacher. Dorothy graduated high school at age 15 and went on to earn an elementary education degree in 1945 from North Texas State University in Denton, Texas.
Dorothy left home on a train to pursue her first teaching job in Friona, Texas, later moving to teach in Mineola, Texas, and Andrews, Texas, where she met Clyde Daniel (Dan) Echols, Jr., a high school teacher. They were married on July 9, 1955, at her parents' home in Denton, Texas, and later moved to Abilene, Texas, where she taught 5th grade at Bonham Elementary School and 4th grade at Valley View Elementary. Husband, Dan, was a teacher at Abilene High School. In 1966, Dorothy and Dan, along with their first and only child, Janlyn, moved to McAllen, Texas, where Dorothy taught for two years at Wilson Elementary School and Dan served as director of a new educational technology center for MISD. In 1968, the family moved to North Richland Hills, Texas, where Dorothy taught 3rd grade at Donna Park Elementary School for more than 20 years. Retiring from public schools, Dorothy taught at Fort Worth Christian School and at Southwest Christian School before the death of her husband.
Throughout her life, she supported Dan's career in education technology and served as first lady of North Richland Hills in the 1980's when Dan was elected mayor. Dorothy and Dan attended College Church of Christ in Abilene from 1955 to 1966, then Richland Hills Church of Christ in Fort Worth. After Dan's death Dorothy attended Smithfield Church of Christ.
She is preceded in death by her husband and her parents.
Dorothy is survived by her daughter and son in law, Janlyn and Eric Thaxton, Abilene, Texas; brother and sister in law, Lanier and Bobbyeann Wilson, Wichita Falls, Texas; two grandchildren, Hayley and Joshua Thaxton, Abilene; nephew Greg Bowman, his wife Melinda, and their children, Janeice, Glyn, and Elizabeth, of Keller, Texas; niece Barbara Malstrom, husband Eric, and their children, Makaela and Jackson, Grapevine, Texas; and numerous cousins.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Dan and Dorothy Echols Endowed Memorial Scholarship at Hardin-Simmons University, P. O. Box 16100, Abilene, Texas, 79698.
The family wishes to extend its sincere thanks to friends and neighbors who were of great help to Dorothy, as well as her doctors and the nurses of Hendrick Hospice, Abilene.