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Dorothy (Dea) Mabry was the 4th child born to the late Dolly (Donald) and Sylvester Roundtree, on February 5, 1933, in Goodman, Mississippi. Dorothy had six siblings who all preceded her in death: Christine (Walter) Lee, Andrew “Yank” Roundtree, Henry (Clara) Roundtree, Wardine “Dena” Roundtree, William “Jack Frost” Rocket and Willie (Clemmie) Lewis.
Dorothy attended church and gave her life to Christ at an early age. Dorothy grew up and spent her childhood years in rural Mississippi. She worked alongside her family as sharecroppers in the cotton fields of Mississippi, where adults and children were used as a source of cheap labor. As a result of having to work in the cotton fields during her youth, Dorothy only completed the 8th grade of school.
On May 1, 1948, Dorothy Roundtree was united in marriage to Oscar B. Mabry, Sr. in Goodman, Mississippi, and they moved from the South to Hammond, IN to pursue a better future. Seven children were born from this union. An eighth child was born later from another union.
Because Dorothy was denied the opportunity to get a formal education, she became a strong advocate for ensuring that all her children completed their education. Dorothy knew that an education is something that can’t be taken away from you. She was smart and savvy, managing her household without the benefit of a formal education. After moving to Hammond, Dorothy devoted her life to raising her children and ensuring that they received love, support, and the education that she had been denied in the South.
Dorothy encouraged all her children to get an education and she was proud that all eight of her offspring graduated from high school and attended college. Everyone who knew and loved Dorothy called her “Dea” which is a shortened version of “Mother Dear”. Dorothy read the Bible faithfully every day and could quote many different scriptures by heart. One of her favorites was the 23rd Psalm. When anyone asked how she was doing, her response would always be: “I am Blessed by the Best.” Another expression she often said is: “Give me my flowers while I yet live.” Dorothy was a long standing member of New Community Baptist Church in Hammond, IN.
Dorothy worked as a domestic for a short time and had several entrepreneurial endeavors. Her favorite pastime was playing the slot machines at the casinos, where she was well known by many of the patrons and staff who fondly referred to her as “the Flower Lady” because Dorothy always wore a flower in her hair. Her favorite colors were pink and white because she said that light colors lifted her spirit. One of Dorothy’s funny expressions that she used when she played the slot machines at the casino was: “please help the needy and not the greedy.” Dea had good luck playing the slots and generously shared her winnings with family, friends, and casino staff.
Dorothy celebrated her 90th Birthday on Feb. 5th, 2023, at a party that had attendance by all her children, family, friends and loved ones who came from across the country.
On May 8th the Lord called Dorothy home because her work here on earth was completed. Dorothy’s husband, Oscar B. Mabry, Sr., preceded her in death. Dorothy leaves behind eight children to mourn and cherish her memory: Adelene (Derrell) Greene of Kenosha, WI; Bertha (Gerald) Davis of Pearland, TX; Dorothy Jean Mabry of Hammond, IN; Oscar Mabry, Jr. of Omaha, NE; Patricia (Bruce) Tooles-Dyer, of Omaha, NE; Larry (Gloria) Mabry of Hammond, IN; Linda (Larry) Chase of Panama City Beach, FL and Craig (Tasha) Thomas of Hammond, IN, as well as 19 grandchildren, numerous great grandchildren, two great-great grandchildren and a host of other nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.