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Dorothy Henning Kaylor – or “Dot” to all who knew and loved her – passed away, surrounded by her family and friends, on May 15, 2018 at her home in Black Mountain, North Carolina. She was 83.
Born in Columbus, Mississippi, October 11, 1934, Dorothy was the daughter of Marion Haynie Henning and William Frederick Henning. Her father's work with the Association of American Railroads meant that Dot spent periods of her childhood in Washington, DC, Atlanta and Rome, Georgia, and finally in Birmingham, Alabama, where she graduated from Ramsey High School. Dot earned her B.A. in history from Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College) in 1956, where she was active in many campus organizations. She also met her future husband, David Kaylor, there. Dot and David were married December 28, 1956, while David was a student at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary. They lived in Davidson, North Carolina from 1964 through 2009, when they moved to Black Mountain, where they found a warm and welcoming community. Since 2015 they have enjoyed living at Givens Highland Farms.
In addition to being the mother of five children, Dot's varied career included teaching junior high school, serving as a high school counselor, serving as Director of Davidson-Cornelius Day Care Center, and being a Clinical Social Worker in Cabarras and Mecklenburg counties.
Dot grew up in the church and was nurtured by it. She expressed her Christian faith not only in her regular church attendance, but also by singing in the choir, teaching children's Sunday School classes, serving as a deacon and an elder, and devoting her time and talent to service activities through church and community agencies and organizations. This included leading Davidson College Presbyterian Church’s participation in a community-wide effort to found the Davidson-Cornelius Day Care Center as a racially integrated facility which helped to bridge the racial divides in her community, and volunteering for organizations that served those in need including Crisis Ministry in Davidson and Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry in Black Mountain.
Dot also loved travel and adventure as a way of expanding horizons. After her junior year of college she spent a summer in Glacier Park, working as a hotel maid and serving as a volunteer member of A Christian Ministry in the National Parks program. The next summer she worked with the same organization in Yellowstone National Park, earning her keep by working as a waitress in Old Faithful Lodge. A few years later, when David was in graduate school at Duke University, Dot convinced him that they needed a break and arranged for them to work with the Christian Ministry program in Yosemite National Park. Now with two small children, an old car and minimal camping equipment, Dot and David trekked from North Carolina to California and had a summer of wonderful adventures.
Beginning when her five children were ages 2-11, Dot shepherded her a family through two year-long stays in India, accompanying David on sabbaticals from his Davidson College professorship. Each of these trips included summer long camping trips through Europe. Dot thrived in India, ensuring that the family’s travels there and in Europe had a deep impact on her children while also pursuing for herself what would become a lifelong yoga practice. Dot’s international travels did not end there: she traveled to Egypt and to the former Soviet Union with a church group that made “journeys of understanding,” seeking cross-cultural and cross-ideological understanding; to Yugoslavia, Czech Republic and East Germany with son Charlie, who was studying in Berlin; and to China to visit daughter Cathryn, who was there teaching English. David and Dot traveled with friends to Ireland and Scotland, and to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary they traveled to South America.
Dot was a loving mother of her five children. She gave them freedom and independence while seeking to impart to them the values and goals that motivated her. Near her life's end they surrounded her with loving care and rejoiced in remembering the family travels and the many evenings playing cards and other games as they screened the collection of slides that record the family history. Dot is survived by her husband, David Kaylor, and their 5 children: Marilyn Kaylor (Steve Hale), Cathryn Harbor (David), Will Kaylor (Jennifer), Charles Kaylor, Marion Owen (Judd); and eight grandchildren (Erin, Kaia, and Thomas Harbor; Asa, Hanson, and Haven Kaylor; Dorothy and Isaac Owen); and brother William Henning (Joy).
A memorial service will be held at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church on Friday, May 18 at 2:00. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, you please donate to Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry though Black Mountain Presbyterian Church, to help them continue the service she valued. Penland Family Funeral Home is honored to be caring for the Kaylor Family.