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Rev. Dorothy L. Wilson

Rev. Dorothy Wilson Obituary

Memorial Service Update for The Reverend Dorothy J. Wilson

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Reverend Dorothy J. Wilson, Senior Minister of the Living Truth Center for Better Living in Cleveland, Ohio.

Her family has advised that a Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, November 18th, 2023, starting with visitation at 10:00 a.m. The Service will begin at 10:30 a.m. and end at noon, followed by a repass in our social hall. The family appreciates any floral arrangements or tributes you may wish to send. If you wish to deliver a Proclamation or Resolution, please send it to the Living Truth Center at 1850 Belmore Rd., East Cleveland, Ohio 44112, or email it to If you have any questions, you can call the church office at 216-403-0513 between November 13th and 18th.

Floral arrangements can be delivered to the Living Truth Center between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. Our thoughts and prayers are with Reverend Wilson's family and the Living Truth Center community during this difficult time.


Dorothy Jean Wilson (née Penro) was born on December 17, 1942 to the late Earl and Viola Penro (née Butler) in Tupelo, MS. Her mother was a schoolteacher. Her father was a landscaper and employee of the City of Tupelo. She was the eldest of four children born to this marriage. The tragic death of her mother, when Dorothy was aged 8, caused her to have a lifelong commitment to honoring the family’s history and protecting her family’s lineage. Her family benefited from her generosity.

Dorothy accepted Christ at an early age at the Emmanuel Church of God in Christ where her mother and Aunt Cynthia served as missionaries and Bible scholars. Her father served as deacon and trustee. She graduated from George Washington Carver High School in 1962, received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Jackson State University in 1966, and later graduated from Cambridge College in Boston with a Master of Education.

She had a full life which included many accolades. She won a statewide speechwriting and oratory contest, offering her a scholarship to college. She spent joyful summers in Kansas City, Missouri with extended family. After college in 1967, she travelled to Louisiana, New York, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Dorothy married Thomas David Wilson in 1968 in Cleveland. They purchased their first house in East Cleveland and later built a home in Moreland Hills in 1974. They had one daughter, Miesha Leanne Wilson, in 1971. Their life experiences included joining the Amway Corporation, growing to a 300-member organization, and achieving Diamond level faster than any other couple at that time. They divorced in 1988 but remarried each other in 2003, bookending 40 years of marriage.

Dorothy had a natural gift for teaching. She taught English at Aviation HS, South HS, Whitney Young MS, and Garrett Morgan MS in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District for 35 years. She served as department chair at Aviation and later at Garrett Morgan. During her career, she received a fellowship from the Martha Holdings Jennings Foundation, earned a spot in Who’s Who of American Teachers, and wrote a guidebook on helping disadvantaged youth pass the English section of the Ohio Proficiency Exam. She often boasted that her homemade chicken wings and brownies were an effective pedagogical tool. She loved her students.

Amway brought both financial success and an introduction to the New Thought Christianity movement, ultimately leading to the Universal Foundation for Better Living, Inc. In 1981, doctors hit her with a diagnosis of cancer at the same age her mother died and when the disease meant death. She secluded herself in prayer and fasting for three days. She credits her conversion and call to New Thought Christianity for her healing. She remained cancer free for 40 years.

In 1989, Dorothy joined the Living Truth Center. The height of her life was to become a minister as she hailed from a long line of clergy. Under the tutelage of Reverend Dr. May Rose Thompson, she became a UFBL teacher and later became an ordained minister. She served for several years on the LTC board and, for a brief time, on the UFBL board. Reverend Dr. Sheila McKeithen installed her as the Senior Minister of LTC in 2015, and she held the position for eight years. Her love for the church kept it open during the pandemic. She was devoted to advancing an intergenerational ministry and a healing ministry.

On Wednesday, October 11, 2023, Reverend Dorothy Wilson entered eternal rest. Left to cherish her spirit are her husband Thomas D. Wilson; sister Myrtle Penro; daughter Miesha Wilson Headen and her favorite son-in-law Raymond Headen; nephews and niece Mark, Victor, and Ashley Penro; and grandsons Raymond Carl Headen, Jr. and Thomas J. Headen. Also left to mourn are siblings born of the marriage of Earl and Lula Penro: James Penro, Mary Smith, Sandra Penro, Myron Penro, Jeremiah Penro, and Timothy Penro. She is preceded in death by siblings Clifton Jones, Ira Jones, Mary Jones Washington, Alice Jones, Samuel Penro, and Isaiah Penro.

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