Dorothy Bodenhamer-Adams

Obituary of Dorothy Bodenhamer-Adams

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Born September 10, 1927, in Huntsville, (Meridianville, Madison County), Alabama, Dot Graham was given an early spiritual and religious upbringing by her parents the late Reverend Sam Henry Graham and Dixie Pruitt Graham. Her grandparents on both sides of her family were founders of their respective worship facilities, the Meridianville Bottom Primitive Baptist Church and Zion Progressive Baptist Church, Huntsville, Alabama. Her name was Dot, however, it was changed to Dorothy when she started first grade. She had one older sister the late Addie Lucile “Cile” Graham Jackson. Dot spent most of her early years in Alabama with her parents and grandparents, William Henry and Hattie Pruitt and Reverend Mose and Harriet Graham. Around 1931, her father moved the family to Donelson, Tennessee when he got a job as the chauffeur for Tennessee Governor A. H. Roberts. Dot’s mother was the cook and housekeeper. They lived at the governor’s residence for about two years and then moved to East Nashville. She often talked about the great flood of 1937, which temporarily displaced them from their east Nashville home on Cowan Street. Dot’s formal education was in the Nashville school system attending Megis School and graduating from Pearl High School. She then attended Tennessee A&I College, majoring in Home Economics with a minor in Art. Dot’s major in college was the result of following her dream of becoming a clothing designer, since she had been sewing and designing clothes for herself and friends since the age of twelve. In 1948, she married the late Police Captain William David Bodenhamer. Through this marriage her three children were born. Dot loved her family and always put her children and family first. She would not only encourage her own but those in the community as well and they all knew her as “Mama Dot”. If you were hungry, she fed you. As a dedicated mother and neighborhood leader she served as a Room Mother for different grade levels, President of the Parent Teachers Association for three years and attended an unlimited number of local school and athletic functions providing support for kids. Creating and fashion design was always her passion which she diligently pursued. In 1950 she began her own sewing and alterations business out of her home on Herman Street. In addition to her home business, she began to teach sewing at the Preston Taylor Housing Community Center and did that for seven years. Dot’s reputation preceded her and was recommended to become a tailor’s assistant and alteration specialist for Mr. Jack Shepard, one of Nashville’s best independent tailors’ serving clients such as the Ingram’s, Werthans, Eskin’s and Goldman’s. Her work received many accolades, and she received a first-place ribbon for her hand beaded work for a dress displayed at the Women’s Building at the Nashville Fairgrounds. Unfortunately, the dress was destroyed in the Fairgrounds fire of 1965. Another of her suit designs was created for Mrs. Tish Hooker, then wife of John Jay Hooker, which was worn to a formal dinner at the White House hosted by President John and Jacqueline Kennedy. When Mr. Shepard died, Dot’s work was so well known, she was offered jobs as a seamstress and alteration specialist in some of the best department stores and tailor shops in Nashville. Instead of working for someone else she bought Mr. Shepard’s equipment and opened her own business at the Clothes Horse Boutique on White Bridge Road. Along with Mr. Shepard’s clients she established her own clientele, making her business the first black business located on White Bridge Road. She had this business for over eight years. Early in her ninth year at the Cloths Horse she had a severe health crisis and had to give up her business. She gave up her business but not her love for design and sewing. She continued to sew for family and herself, only when she wanted to. Once Dot regained her strength and was able to work again, in 1968, she changed careers and was hired as the first black Phlebotomist and later laboratory records specialist at Baptist (St. Thomas Mid-Town) Hospital. This was at a time before Baptist admitted black patients, and white patients did not want her to draw their blood because she was black. Two years later she became Blood Bank Records Supervisor at Baptist. After twenty-one years she retired from Baptist in 1989. As an avid traveler she traveled the U.S., Great Britain, Europe and the Caribbean. There were only four US states where she did not visit. In 1986, she met and married Ernest P. Adams her true soul mate. They enjoyed retirement together traveling across the United States, including Hawaii, Canada and Mexico until his death in 2006. Dot’s religious beliefs kept her, and her family spiritually guided in life. She was never embarrassed about how she loved the Lord and how good He has been to her. She was Baptized and rededicated her life to the Lord at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, in 1953, while under the leadership of Reverend Enoch Jones. Her involvement in church ministries, the oung Matrons, the Church Choir and Sunday School helped establish her firm foundation as a good Church Stewart. Cooking food and selling plate lunches on weekends to raise money for the church was a regular event. In 1976, Dot joined the Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church Family, where she actively worked in the Love Kitchen and Clothing Ministry. She was a long-time supporter of the FABC Christ Scholarship Fund because she believed in supporting the education of the young. She was preceded in death by husband Ernest P. Adams, her parents Sam Henry Graham and Dixie Pruitt Graham. She is survived by her very devoted children, sons Barry L. (Linda) Bodenhamer Sr., David W. Bodenhamer, and daughter Retired Lieutenant Colonel Beverly R. Bodenhamer; Grandchildren Barry L. Bodenhamer Jr., Patrick William Arthur Bodenhamer, Cybill W. Bodenhamer and Kelly (Vernon) Sanford; Great-Grandchildren Cydney N. Bodenhamer (Los Angeles, CA), Natalia Bodenhamer and Vernon Sanford III; Stepchildren, Patricia (Andrew) Dickinson, Mobile, AL, Leo (Bernice) Adams, Mobile, AL, and Jayne (James) Howse. Nieces and Nephews; Ronald O. Love Sr, Dixye Jackson Graham,
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Public Viewing

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Robert E. Lewis Memorial Chapel
2500 Clarksville Pike
Nashville , Tennessee, United States
MASK must be worn at all times while in the funeral home. Thank you in advance for your co-operation

Family Visitation

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Bethesda Original Church-God
2816 Tucker Road
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
MASK must be worn

Celebration of Life

Funeral Service Bethesda Original Church of God 2816 Tucker Road Nashville, TN 37218 6:00pm, Thursday, July 29, 2021
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Dorothy Bodenhamer-Adams

In Loving Memory

Dorothy Bodenhamer-Adams

1927 - 2021

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