Rouse, Dorothy

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Credit: File

Credit: File

ROUSE (GAY), Dorothy Jane

Mrs. John James (Dorothy Jane Gay) Rouse, Jr., beloved wife, mother and grandmother, died peacefully at 87 years of age on Monday morning, January 4, 2021. She was born Dorothy Jane (Dottie) Gay on November 10th in Walton, Kentucky to David Colson Gay and Sarah Jane Bishop Gay. The family moved to Lakeland, Florida where her father and mother owned a plant nursery business, growing strawberries, flowers, and potted plants for the local community. Dottie Gay graduated from Lakeland High School in 1951 with academic honors and worked at the local jewelry store in the afternoons. Her English teacher, Ms. Hazel Haley, encouraged her to go to college. She took her advice and went to Berea College, Berea, Kentucky. The family could afford Berea as the college has no tuition as every student works on campus. Dorothy worked in the college bookstore and soon met John James (Jim) Rouse, Jr. whom she married on June 5, 1954. The Berea College sweethearts' marriage lasted 66 years.

The newlyweds moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where her husband Jim worked at Crosley Broadcasting. Dorothy finished her Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Home Economics at the University of Cincinnati. While in Cincinnati, Dorothy held a high school teaching job. The couple later moved to Atlanta, Georgia as Jim was transferred to work at Channel 11 Television as the Station Controller. Atlanta was a perfect location for the couple being halfway between Dottie's home in Florida and Jim's in Virginia. Dorothy became active in her community – teaching in the Dekalb County school system at Snapfinger Elementary School. She was active in the Garden Club and won a dress making contest in the home economics category. Dorothy's enthusiasm for volunteerism was exceptional as she was a member of the HOA and Garden Clubs of Spring Valley in Decatur. She also enjoyed baking and making gingerbread houses during Christmas holidays and distributing many to the Ronald McDonald House and to friends. While living in the Stone Mountain/Tucker area, she held officer positions with the Smoke Rise Garden Club and was on the board of the Georgia Federation of Garden Clubs. She was President of the Tucker High School Band Boosters and helped parents organize a band trip to Mexico City. There the band students performed at the half time show at the semifinal world soccer match. Additionally, Dorothy worked with Emory University specialists on understanding special student learning needs for their academic studies. With a residential move in July 1990 to Johns Creek, Dorothy's civic participation grew even more as she was a member in the Bellmere Garden Club, was Emeritus board member of the Georgia Federations of Garden Clubs, Past President of Atlanta Ivy Association, Board member of the National Ivy Association, a Certified State of Georgia Flower Judge, Interior designs club member, Iris Society member, and a member of the National and local Genealogy Society.

Foremost, Dorothy focused on her family as wife and mother of three children: Janet, Judy and Johnny. She is survived by her husband, John James Rouse, Jr., her beloved sister, Evelyn Ruth Gay Roper and her children: Janet Gay Rouse Vaughan, Dr. Judy Ellen Rouse Van Doorn (Dr. John D. Van Doorn), and John James Rouse, III (Melissa Moers). Her grandchildren are April Dorothea Vaughan, Alexander Russell Vaughan, Dorothy Virginia Van Doorn, Georgia Emmeline Van Doorn, John James Rouse, IV, and LCPL Jackson Lanier Rouse.

During their life together and after Jim worked 24 years with Cox Broadcasting, Dottie enjoyed family time at Lake Lanier, renovating projects at Jim's Virginia birthplace farmhouse, traveling together to Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Germany, and China. One of their favorite trips was to China with the Berea College student choir and alumni on a culture exchange program.

Dorothy was a beautiful woman with extraordinary enthusiasm, creativity, and joy for civic and community work. Her family and dear friends remember her sparkle, giggles, smiles, and joyful laugh. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the following: Berea College, CPO 2216, Berea, Kentucky 40404 or Alpharetta Presbyterian Church, 180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009 or Bellmere Garden Club, 10777 Bell Road, Johns Creek, GA 30097. A Memorial service to celebrate her life will be scheduled at a future date.

Condolences may be sent by visiting

Bill Head Funeral Homes & Crematory Duluth Chapel (770)476-2535.

Funeral Home Information

Bill Head Funeral Homes & Crematory, Inc.

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