Dorothy S. Rawles 

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2020

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Dorothy S. Rawles of Suffolk, peacefully went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020.

Dorothy was born on Dec. 26, 1932, to the late James and Inez Simmons. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Vernon Rawles, sister, Olivia Madison Proctor, and brother, James Rudolph Simmons.

Dorothy lived a life of high achievement beginning with her education in the Suffolk Public School System. In 1950, Dorothy graduated from East Suffolk High School as the president and valedictorian of the class. She later received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from Virginia State University, where she also became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated.

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Dorothy was committed to serving others which became evident through her life’s work. Upon graduating from college, Dorothy began a career in Social Work. A trailblazer, she went on to become the first African American Social Worker in the City of Suffolk, where she eventually retired as a Family Services Supervisor. Dorothy also served on the Suffolk School Board, where she served as Vice-Chairwoman for two years. Once again, she was the first African American and woman to hold this position.

In 1957 Dorothy was united in holy matrimony to the late Vernon Rawles. They were blessed with two sons, Michael and Milton. Dorothy and Vernon were together for 50 wonderful years. 

At an early age, Dorothy accepted Christ into her life. She was a lifetime member of Antioch United Church of Christ, Suffolk.

Left to cherish Dorothy’s precious memory are two sons, Michael V. Rawles of Suffolk, and Milton R. Rawles of Virginia Beach; one foster daughter, Mildred Johnson of Suffolk; two grandchildren, Michael Smith and Sachie Hall; five great-grandchildren; special caregiver/daughter, Annette Harris; caregivers Edna Vann, Queen Powell, Tonya Bradley, Velma King, and several others; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

A homegoing celebration will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 7, at Zion Community Church – Port Norfolk, Portsmouth. The viewing will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, at Metropolitan Funeral Service – Portsmouth Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Antioch United Church of Christ, 900 Hull Street, Suffolk.