Nancy Dunton Dorsey, age 87, died Monday, February 15, 2021 at the Ohio Eastern Star Home in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Nancy Ruth Dunton was born May 30, 1933 in Lakewood, Ohio, the daughter of the late John Bartlett Dunton and Amy (Perkins) Dunton. Nancy was raised in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and graduated from Chagrin Falls High School in 1951. She attended Ohio State University and earned her BA in Political Science in 1955. Nancy married James R. (Jim) Dorsey May 21, 1955. Nancy is survived by her husband Jim, daughter Allison Dorsey (Dan Gordon), son Jay Dorsey (Beth Waller) and grandsons Max Dorsey-Gordon (Katie Schaub) and Sam Dorsey-Gordon. Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, sister Winifred (Winni) Dunton and brother John Bartlett (Jack) Dunton (Mary Kiedaisch).
From 1955 to 1982, Nancy and Jim lived in Blanchester, Ohio where Jim owned and operated Dorsey Drugs pharmacy. In addition to raising Allison and Jay, Nancy variously taught English at Jefferson High School, worked at Dorsey Drugs, served as a Girl Scout leader, taught at Chatfield College, was a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, and led fund-raising efforts for the scouts, local swimming pool, new BHS band uniforms, and many other causes.
Intrigued following a trip to Africa (Tanzania, Nigeria and South Africa) with Blanchester friend Doris Faulkner in 1980, Nancy decided she needed to know more about Africa. She enrolled in the African Studies graduate program at Ohio State University becoming absorbed in African history and culture. She completed her thesis “Africa and Africans: An Introductory Handbook for Americans” hoping to help those like herself who knew Africa, if at all, through stereotypes. After she earned her MA in African Studies in 1982, Nancy and Jim immersed themselves in African culture (not as missionaries) by moving to a small village outside the Tanzanian capital of Dar Es Salaam where they lived from 1983 to 1985. To support themselves, Jim taught pharmacy at the University of Dar Es Salaam and Nancy taught swimming at the International School.
When Jim and Nancy returned to the US, they sold the drugstore and moved to Columbus. After completing a Master of Library Science at Kent State University (1986), Nancy pursued her Ph.D. at OSU concentrating her research on a historical women’s uprising in Tanzania. Supported by a Fullbright Scholarship, Nancy spent a year in Tanzania collecting data and interviewing community members about the Mbiru tax protest of the 1940s to document how this momentous event was remembered and communicated through oral history. Nancy earned a one-of-a-kind, cross-disciplinary Ph.D. in Folklore, Women in Development, and African Studies in 1994 by completing her dissertation “Pare Women and the Mbiru Tax Protest in Tanzania, 1943-1947: A Study of Women, Politics and Development” under the direction of Dr. Amy Shuman.
Dr. Nancy Dorsey leveraged her extensive experience and connections made during a 1990 visit to Kampala, Uganda to secure a teaching position in the late 1990s in the Department of Women and Gender Studies at Makerere University in Kampala. Nancy and Jim very much enjoyed their 2nd extended African stay together, again immersing themselves in the local Kampala/Makerere community, with Jim assuming the role of primary shopper and bottle washer.
While teaching at Makerere, Nancy was honored to support Miria Matembe, a central figure in Ugandan politics, share the story of her life and battles (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miria_Matembe). Nancy’s interviews with Miria and organizing/editing resulted in “Miria Matembe: Gender, Politics and Constitution Making in Uganda” (2002, Fountain Publishers).
As Nancy and Jim “retired” to their Columbus home, they still had many adventures, including three years on the road seeing new parts of the US in an RV. To satisfy a building interest in China, Nancy volunteered to teach English in a rural school in China so she could experience some first-hand exposure to Chinese culture (and authentic Chinese food). Nancy also played a significant role in helping Bill Myles tell his inspiring story “Myles Traveled: Stories of My American Journey” (http://www.mylestraveled.com/) about coaching football at the University of Nebraska and Ohio State, and serving 22 years as Associate Athletic Director at OSU.
Along the way, Nancy and Jim opened their home to international students and other young people to provide a stable, loving environment when needed. Nancy was ever a champion of women’s empowerment and diversity.
Nancy was a lifelong Christian Scientist, a member of congregations in Chagrin Falls, Hillsboro and Columbus, Ohio and Kampala, Uganda. She served on the board of Glenmont, a Christian Science nursing facility in Hilliard, Ohio.
All services are to be private.
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