Dorothy Nifong Dickens

June 22, 2017

Surrounded by her loving family, Dorothy Nifong Dickens passed away on June 22, 2017 after a four-year journey with cancer, her grace and spirit enduring until the end. She was 78.

Dottie, as most everyone knew her, was born on Dec. 31, 1938, in Morganton, N.C., to Alliene Hilton and David Cletus Nifong. She grew up on rolling farmland outside that beautiful Blue Ridge town, where her love of family, food and the outdoors blossomed. She attended Morganton High School, where she met the love of her life, Alvin Johnston Dickens Jr. – even if she stood him up on their first date, a hayride. They graduated from Morganton High together in 1957. Dottie then earned an Associate degree from Lees-McRae College and they were married on Feb. 27, 1960. They settled in Charlotte in 1971, became passionate fans at their sons’ countless sporting events, worked together in the real estate business at Dickens Mitchener & Associates, doted on their six grandchildren, and spent fifty-seven years in love. Theirs was a union and a love to behold.

In addition to her husband, Dottie is survived by their two sons – Al and his wife, Elizabeth, and Bo, all of Charlotte; one sister – Nell Nifong Schopp of Greensboro, N.C.; two brothers – Colon Nifong and his wife Marjorie, of Lexington, N.C., and Larry Nifong and his wife, Betty, of High Point, NC; brother-in-law John Dickens and his wife, Linda, of Laurens, S.C.; brother-in-law Hank Dickens of Morganton; sister-in-law Martha Harvey of Granite Falls, N.C.; many nieces, nephews, and cousins whom she treasured; and her six beloved grandchildren – Bess Dickens Kelpin and her husband, Peter; Al Dickens IV and his wife, Courtney; Mary Cannon, Scottie, Hampton and Michael Dickens. She was their “Dotsie,” and they adored her.

Standing only 5’1”, Dottie was every inch a matriarch. The family knew never to question “Dotsie’s Rules,” the bendable kind that allowed her to “admire and acquire” a flower out of someone else’s garden or create a “Dotsie space” in a No-Parking zone.

Simply being in Dotsie’s “space was a joy. She exuded warmth and spirit in all that she did, whether it was hunting for antiques, playing bridge, tending to her beautiful flower garden, having coffee with friends or creating home-cooked meals for her loved ones. Her ability to entertain—in every sense of the word—was unbelievable.

Dottie was the consummate cheerleader for everyone in her life; family, friends, neighbors, grandchildren’s friends, dogs – anyone she met she opened her arms, her heart and her home to. She loved joining her friends at the Senior Fitness class and stopping by the church gift shop to browse and chat. Tuesday afternoons, she’d knit a little (and talk a lot) with the ladies making prayer shawls for the grieving and homebound. From the YMCA to Charlotte Country Day, from basketball to football to golf, Dottie never missed the chance to cheer on her family. And the more the merrier for gatherings at Litchfield Beach and at her beloved “Nook” in Banner Elk;   for Dottie there was nothing better than family and friends being together.

The family is deeply grateful for the love and care shown by Drs. James Hall and Erin Crane, as well as Amy Walsh and everyone at the Levine Cancer Institute. We all call them her “angels.”

A service to celebrate Dottie’s life will be at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 25, at Myers Park United Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Road. Visitation follows in Jubilee Hall.

In lieu of flowers, a gift in her memory can be made to Levine Cancer Institute, 1021 Morehead Medical Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28204; the Prayer Shawl Ministry at Myers Park United Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28207; or Lees-McRae College, 191 W. Main St., Banner Elk, N.C. 28604.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Avenue, Charlotte. Condolences may be sent online at 704-641-7606.

Share your memories & condolences


  • Ed Wadsworth

    Dear Al and Bo

    So sorry to hear about your loss.

    God blesses you and your family

    Ed Wadsworth

  • Kim Caddick

    A beautiful lady who touched all who met her! My heart is heavy for your loss. Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers. Rest In Peace, sweet Dottie.

  • Kathy Motsinger Lewis

    I loved visiting the Nifong family in Morganton. Dottie was the first person I
    ever saw apply eyeliner, she didn't miss a stroke and neither did I. Such fond
    memories of a cute, perky first cousin.
    Alvin and family, my heartfelt sympathy. Love, Kathy Motsinger Lewis
    Warner Robins, GA

  • Susan Marchant

    Our world has lost an angel and a remarkable woman. I am so saddened that I will no longer hear Dottie's teasing of her beloved "sugar" during bible study. Al and Dottie's relationship was something truly amazing to behold, and the best example of a match made in heaven that I have ever seen. The two of them together truly lit up the room for all of us on Monday night bible study. She taught us all so much about faith and strength and courage.....and the importance of laughter. She left her mark on me and inspired me to be a better person. Im sure that is the case for many others as well. I will be praying for Al and the whole family, and hope that in time you will be comforted by all of the wonderful memories she created with you.