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Dolores M. Lott, Ed.D. of San Antonio, who for decades worked as a San Antonio Independent School District administrator and filled an appointed term as a District 2 council member, died Friday, April 7 at age 92. A mother of five children and stepmother of three, Dolores passed at her home following a short illness.
With the opening of James Whitcomb Riley Elementary and Junior High School in 1957, Dolores became its librarian and counselor. The school became Riley Junior High in 1965 and she served as a counselor until 1971, becoming a counselor at Jefferson High School for two years. From Jefferson she transitioned to the SAISD central office, a move that at the time made her the district’s highest-ranking African American woman. She served the district as a personnel director and the director of program coordination before her retirement in 1989.
At Greater Corinth Baptist Church in San Antonio, where she had been a member since the age of 7, Dolores held many roles, including Sunday School teacher, Finance Committee chair, usher, and production editor of the church bulletin. She directed the church’s Drama Guild, writing and staging scripture-based plays and spiritual dramatizations that were presented in the church sanctuary. And in a 2015 dedication, the church honored Dolores and another parishioner, Hilton Hamilton, by renaming its multipurpose building the Hamilton-Lott Fellowship Hall.
Ruth Jones McClendon, preparing for a new role as a Texas State representative, recommended Dolores for the City Council District 2 seat Councilwoman McClendon was vacating. The City Council approved the recommendation in 1996, and Dolores served her district for the remaining 10 months. In her brief tenure, the City Council carried out a mission for improving streets in San Antonio’s southeastern quadrant.
Dolores Maxine Woods was born July 17, 1930 in Rockdale, Texas to Isaac Woods and Ada Woods (Green). Isaac, a World War I veteran, died in the child's 10th year, and Ada, buttressed by Isaac’s military pension, her proceeds from rental properties, and supplemental work, would rear Dolores as a single parent. Dolores received her diploma from Holy Redeemer School and graduated from Saint Peter Claver High School by age 16.
As an English major at Prairie View A&M College of Texas, she excelled academically, danced with the college’s dance troupe, joined Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, and earned a teaching certificate en route to receiving a Bachelor of Arts in January 1951. She would earn a Master of Education from Our Lady of the lake College in 1963 and a Doctor of Education from Nova University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. in 1986.
Dolores and Frank White II of Victoria, Texas were married in San Antonio in February 1951. The couple had two children, Andrea Lynn White (May 1952) and Frank White III (January 1955). The marriage ended in divorce in September 1955.
In July 1956, Dolores and Rufus Lott of Runge, Texas, who had been caring for his three children from his previous marriage, were married in San Antonio. The union produced Rufus Lott Jr. (March 1958), Vernon Keith Lott (April 1962), and David Terrence Lott (February 1964). With the new household, Dolores gained stepchildren Lorenzo D. Lott, Margaret Maxine Lott, and Fred Jerome Lott; Rufus Sr. gained stepchildren Andrea and Frank. The marriage lasted 29 years, until the death of Rufus Sr. in 1985.
While a young mother, Dolores worked as a procurement officer at Kelly Air Force Base. There, she first showcased her writing and organizational skills, once winning a hefty cash reward in a competition seeking ways to save costs in her division. She served as an assistant supervisor at Kelly until joining the SAISD.
Some family members believed Dolores’ passing on Good Friday affirmed her Christian faith and signified the wholesome life she lived. All her children, from childhood to adulthood, saw Dolores as a moral compass, a model pragmatist, and a master of time management. Despite her high achievements – her biographical sketch appears in Marquis Who’s Who publications, such as Who’s Who in America (2001), Who’s Who in the World (2003) and Who’s Who in American Politics – she was not inclined to make value judgments about one’s station in life. Rather, she hoped any individual would mesh God-given talents with personal goals and, making best use of time and energy, become a productive citizen. In her own household, she inspired two children, Rufus and Vernon, to follow her path with a long-term career at SAISD; others worked in civil engineering, legal support, civil service, medical technology, journalism, and nursing.
This educator strived to teach self-sufficiency. Yet she felt compelled to help her adult children who might want or need financial support, and often she did. Light lectures might accompany any loans. She went a generation further: grandchildren who were high school seniors could look forward to receiving her “DM Lott Scholarship”, a generous, fixed-amount cash award aimed at bolstering their understanding of personal finance. Her name would be associated with actual scholarships as well. In the early 1990s, a family donation matched by corporate and university funds established a scholarship endowment in her honor at Prairie View A&M University, her alma mater. Scholarship recipients have hailed from the western United States and Morocco.
In “retirement” Dolores flourished. She busied herself with the San Antonio Retired Teachers Association, especially with the processing of scholarships. She became a San Antonio Democratic Party precinct chairwoman in 1988. She joined the Coalition of 100 Black Women. She wrote and published a biography of her mother, ADA: Journey of a Post Slavery Woman of Color. And, inspired by her mother and encouraged by her husband, Rufus, she embarked on real estate, ultimately converting her childhood home into a multi-unit apartment complex.
She loved to chronicle developments at Corinth, and on occasion was interviewed by media about church history and developments on San Antonio’s East Side as well. “My house has been hit by gunfire,” she told the San Antonio Express-News in 1996. “I’ve seen the revitalization of the community since I’ve been there.” When the venerable Earl Abel’s coffee shop was featured, she recounted in a media interview that the restaurant had opened its doors to Black residents before similar establishments had deemed it appropriate to do so. Dolores bonded with staff too – after a veteran server relocated to another state to recover from illness, Dolores once sent her financial support.
Near the end, the lady who could bedazzle onlookers with her dance steps, known for her exquisite attire – her hats, maintained a youthful mind and heart through merriment with her 13 grandchildren, engagement with her bridge club members, and fellowship at Corinth, her bedrock.
Survivors of Dolores M. Lott include:
Children: Andrea Smith (Gary), Frank White III (Okarsamaa), Rufus Lott Jr. (Oralia), Vernon Keith Lott (Loretta), and David Terrence Lott (Ava); Lorenzo Lott (Phyllis), Margaret Maxine Lott, and Fred Lott (Sonya).
Grandchildren: Sharrieffia Lewis, Lynnette Lewis, Rufus Lott III, Amber Lott, Kristina Lott, Elizabeth Lott, Ronnie Lott, Vernon Keith Lott Jr., Raquel Lott, Cameron Lott, Justin Lott, Jonathan Lott, Alexis White.
Great-grandchildren: Meshach Lewis (Ariel); Amber Lewis, Bryan Lewis, Karter Reese Lott-Battles, Zion Jashad Bishop and Rufus Lott IV
Great-great-grandchildren: Kai Alexander Lewis, Nevaeh Lewis. Aziah Lewis
Cousins: Val McGowan, Kim McGowan, Stephanie McGowan, Gretchen McGowan.
Nieces/Nephews: Velma Jo Carter (Lott), Phyllis Warren (nee Lott; Errol), Alfreda Lott Eagle, Eldridge Charles Lott (Mary), Wendell Steve Lott; Homer Lott Jr., Jackie Lott.