Dolores A. Broyles

Posted:  Monday, July 9, 2018 - 1:30pm

Dolores Anne Pettit Broyles was born on June 17, 1934, at the Bearskin Lodge on Gunflint Trail in Grand Marais, Minnesota and died on April 26, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.

She was predeceased by her adored husband of 61 years, John Allen Broyles, her parents, Watie Bell Pettit and Anna Sophia Nelson Pettit, her brothers Richard Bell Pettit, Watie Pettit, and J.L. Pettit.

She is survived by her daughter, Marianne Aweagon Broyles of Nashville, and her sisters, June Taya Pettit and Margaret LaHoma Pettit Martinez, both of Wichita, Kansas.

As an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, she graduated in 1954 from Bacone Junior College (Muskogee, Oklahoma), an American Baptist Indian boarding school, where she served as student body president. She then earned an academic scholarship to the University of Redlands in southern California where she met her lifelong love, John Allen Broyles, and married him the day before their graduation on June 2, 1956.

In addition to her co-ministry with her husband in the United Methodist Church, Dolores was most passionate about her family and being a devoted teacher and advocate for children of all ages and nationalities.

When she lived in Oklahoma City, she volunteered to serve as the UNICEF chairperson for OKC where, with her leadership, more money was raised that year than monies raised in the entire state of Massachusetts. She obtained her first teaching certificate in California where she worked with elementary school children and subsequently earned a certificate in the state of Massachusetts where she worked in a neighborhood of Italian-American fourth and fifth graders as well as a teaching position in Orono, Maine.

She subsequently moved to Memphis taught at Christ United Methodist Day School before her final job in the Memphis City Schools at Cummings Elementary in South Memphis, which has since been razed. She felt particularly called to work with children living below the poverty line who “needed me more.” Her dedication, particularly to teaching reading, was evident in the enthusiasm of her pupils. Even in her 70s, she tutored Hispanic children when living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. One of her pupils at Cummings wrote a card for her declaring her “The Queen of My Heart.” Her sharp wit, great capacity for joy, love, and diplomacy made this title resonate among her loved ones for the remainder of her life.

In lieu of flowers, please feel free to donate to Wesleyan Hills United Methodist Church, Bacone College, or Alive Hospice of Nashville. To celebrate her love of children, you are welcome to bring a backpack for a middle-schooler filled with school supplies to her service on Bastille Day, Saturday, July 14, 2018 at Wesleyan Hills United Methodist Church, 390 South Yates Road, Memphis at 1030 a.m.

She loved everywhere she went, but divided that love most among Boston, the Boothbay region where her husband served as pastor of the First United Methodist church in the ’60s and where they kept a second home on Ocean Point for 40 years, and northern Minnesota. If able, she would tell all who loved her to “carry on bravely,” one of her favorite telephone sign-offs.