A Life Lived: Dorris Forney’s love for her church was an undeniable mark of her Christian faith

Published 2:47 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2020

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Ask anyone who knew Dorris Forney — her family, friends and neighbors and caregivers at Signature Healthcare of Elizabethton — and they will tell you that Dorris Forney loved God and her church. “She enjoyed all of our activities, but she especially enjoyed the worship services, Bible studies, and Gospel singings,” said Roberta Campbell, Quality of Life Director at Signature Healthcare, where Dorris had been a resident for sometime.
Dorris died April 27 at the age of 93. She was preceded in death by her husband, James “Chick” Forney, who was a member of the Elizabethton Blue Gray baseball team in the 1940s and ’50s. She shared her husband’s love for baseball and in 2001 Dorris and other family members accompanied her husband to Atlanta, Ga., for a weekend of Major League baseball.
That’s the way it was for Dorris and Chick. They enjoyed doing things together said a long-time family friend, Pearl Smith, who is 92 years old. “I’ve known Dorris for years. When I first came to Elizabethton, we quickly became friends, and she is one of the reasons I began attending Phillippi Baptist Church. She was one of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever known. She loved the Lord and Phillippi Baptist,” said Pearl.
Both, Dorris and Chick were active in the church at Phillippi Baptist. He was a deacon and long-time treasurer of the church, and she was a deaconess and president of the Missionary Society. Their daughter, Odessa, was for many years pianist at the church. “They were such a wonderful family. Dorris was a friend to everyone, a very kind and giving person,” said Loretta Bowers, who grew up with Odessa.
Odessa, the couple’s only child, died a couple of years ago.
Campbell, who saw Dorris and interacted with her almost every day at Signature Health, described Dorris as a people person, who enjoyed visiting with the residents. “She had a circle of friends she ate with and drank coffee with. She especially enjoyed our socials, playing bingo, and the parties we hosted. She enjoyed our jewelry-making classes and loved wearing jewelry. Dorris always carried her pocketbook wherever she went,” said Campbell.
A niece, Gladys Gillespie said, “My Aunt Dorris lived a wonderful life. She was a very compassionate person and very thoughtful. I remember when I was much younger — a child — and visited, she always gave me cookies. In fact, she always had something sweet to give to all the children in the community when they visited.
“I guess the most important thing she left with me was her love for family and her church. She was devoted to both. She lived her faith,” said Gillespie.
Both, she and Chick were hard workers. He retired from the TVA and later worked at Carter County Motor Co., and Dorris worked at Inland Container.
Pearl Smith recalled that Dorris was a very good cook and she enjoyed gardening. “She raised a vegetable garden, but she especially enjoyed growing flowers,” said Dorris. “We had some wonderful times together.”
Pearl noted that Dorris was a mother to all the children in the community and was always doing for someone in the community. “She lived her faith,” said Pearl.
Oswald Chambers is credited with saying: “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.” Truly, Dorris Forney knew and loved her Maker and she followed Him to the end.

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