D ot Barber is what our Mom called herself.
However, she was named Dorothy Lee Harrison, daughter of Cora and Johnny Harrison. Born Sunday, August 8, 1937, in Greensboro NC where her parents resided at that time. Born the middle child of 5 children.
Grandma Cora moved her family to Salisbury NC where Dot and her siblings were longtime members of Mount Zion Baptist Church, Salisbury, NC. Dot was a “Tomboy” in her neighborhood of “Barnhardt Alley”. Horseshoes was her game; she was the best! Stickball, Dodgeball, Relay Races, and just plain street fighting the neighborhood bully, which frankly may have been her.
Standing five feet two inches and maybe 89 pounds, Dorothy was a tornado. As a testament as the story goes, an urban legend, if you will; a close friend Maggie’s cousin, (we believe) - visited every summer at Barnhardt Alley. Dot and her sister Felicie would play all day with the neighborhood kids and the visiting cousin but just before the streetlights came on, Dot and Felicie would take a time-out to plan a fight strategy to best the cousin. Now the cousin was a bigger girl than the sisters, so Dot was responsible for the top half of her body while sister Felicie handled the lower half. The entire summer the strategy failed. Each night defeated, the sisters would agree to try again the next day, avowing that they would “best” her tomorrow. Their goal was never achieved!
Additionally, Dorothy had a beautiful soprano voice and loved singing! Attending Monroe Street School, and Price High School, she sang with the Glee Club. They performed regularly at community events.
Dot married her sweetheart, Clarence, a star athlete, from the rivel Dunbar High School. Their union bore four daughters (aka “the Girls”), Cathy, Sandra, Vanessa, and Clarice. Clarence, she affectionately called “Clance” passed away in August 2013 leaving his “Old Lady”, as he called his wife.
As a young woman, Dot as many were back then, was a domestic helper initially. During the “Great Migration” she and Clarence moved North to seek a better life. She worked in Maine while Clarence worked in Virginia. Finally moving to New York City around 1961, Manhattan first, the Bronx next then on to Brooklyn where they lived from around 1963 until 2023. Dot and Clarence lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant aka “Bed-Stuy” a community in Brooklyn their entire life pretty much.
Mount Zion Baptist Church was her family’s church during her youth. As a young wife, she, Clarence and daughters attended his family church, Southern City Methodist, East Spencer NC. Living in Brooklyn, Mount Lebanon Baptist Church became the family home church where she and the Girls attended Sunday School and more. Dorothy served in the Ministries of the Willing Workers, Soup Kitchen, and Missionary, the Inspirational, Hope, and various other choirs over the years as she loved to sing.
Dot took her full-time job of raising and caring for her Girls very seriously; the dressing, hair styling, teaching them to be strong and independent, cooking skills, schoolwork focus, instilling good manners (especially in church), and discipline. Her daughters were well behaved, well maybe except one called the “pickyfied” (being like a Dennis the Menace) daughter.
Illustrating her focus on discipline, she once left to visit Cora, her mother, and her sisters in Salisbury for a week. She left Clance in charge of the Girls. They did something wrong. Clarence disciplined them – he would say “hold your hand out”. He took a small ruler to slap the Girls in the palm of their hands, a mere one lick. Not one of the Girls held their palms out without jerking their palms back. They loved his so called “whooping”. The Girls even pretended to cry hard however, really laughing. That evening Clarence told the “old Lady” as he often called her, that he had given the Girls a good “whooping”. When Dot returned home, she got more details about the supposed good “whooping” … the Girls were not happy about their secret of Daddy’s so called “whooping”. “Clance, these girls have you wrapped around their fingers” Dot said. And they did.
Dorothy “Dot” was preceded in death by her husband, Clarence Barber, parents, Cora and Johnny, all her siblings, Iona House (James), Elijah Claybrook (Claudette), Felicia Harrison, and Jannie Harrison Terry (William “Bill”).
To celebrate her life, she leaves a host of family and friends: Her Daughters: Cathy Barber-Furby, Sandra Barber (Jones), Vanessa Gilmore, and Clarice Barber-Page and stepdaughter Kay Huff; Sons-in-Laws: Anthony Furby, Robert Jones, Alphonso Gilmore, and Zeno Page; special niece Pamela Harrison Sepla; Grandchildren: Tory J Stubbs, Kelsey Z Page, Carlotta Huff Diggs, Markee Grant Jones, and Great-Grandchildren: Ariel Stubbs, Serenity Stubbs, Kylel Huff, Nyresse Huff and Malachi Grant Jones. and special great-nephews Jose Harrison and Orlando Sepla. A host of beloved nephews and nieces: James “Jimmy” House, Robert “Bobby” House (Jennifer), Richard “Ricky” House (Gail), Lydia House Faust, Mary “Sis” Sifford, Genora Burton-Payne (Richard), Casanova “Cass” Claybrook, Tracy Claybrook Burt, Claude Claybrook, Orgea “Pooh” Howell, and Tyson Harrison the youngest of this branch of the Claybrook first cousins. The Barber family tree her nieces and nephews: Leon Barber, Bernard Barber, Eddie Barber, Allen Barber, Sheila Chavis- Shepherd, Chalmers “June” Bankhead, Harlene “Nina” Barber, Lyric Barber, Phyllis Shipp, Lazario Shipp (Sharon), Leslie Moore, Steven Barber (Al-Mulekum), Ronald Wilcox, Kevin McCrae, James “Butch” Barber, Beverly Barber, Valerie Martin, Billy Brown, Denise “Nicey” Bussey Richardson, Evelyn Carter, and Germaine Barber. Sister-in-law, Claudette Claybrook McClendon. As well as a host of great-nieces and nephews and special friends: Magdalene “Maggie” Foxx, Alice Lockley, Cassie Thomas, and Ruby Anderson.
In great health until April 2022, we believe Dorothy would say that she lived a great life, full of love, family, friends, and “pocket change”. She amassed plenty of pennies, pointing down and saying “Go pick-up that penny. Child pennies makes dollars and dollars I can use”. Ask her grandkids, they picked-up from the street, many while out and about with her. A beautiful woman, Dorothy L. Barber was the last Matriarch for her branch of the Claybrook and the Harrison family tree. Also the last of the Aunties for the Barber family. We celebrate the life and times of Dorothy the daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, Auntie, the friend, church member, choir member, neighbor, and so much more...
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