OBITUARY: Dorothy “Dottie” Hocker Smith

Dorothy “Dottie” Hocker Smith died peacefully in her home in Alpine, Texas, on Saturday, November 12, 2022, after a long battle with ALS. She was surrounded by her family and her loving caregivers. Born April 4, 1943, to Walter and Pansy Hocker in Corpus Christi, Texas, she graduated from Irvin High School in El Paso, Texas, before enrolling at Sul Ross State College in Alpine. At Sul Ross, she met her future husband, Milton R. Smith Jr. of Alpine and they married in May of 1963. Together they moved to College Station, Texas, where Milton attended graduate school at Texas A&M and Dottie enrolled to continue her undergraduate studies. The only woman among over 1,000 students taking freshman chemistry, Dottie earned the top grade in her year. She then took some time off from college to raise, first, a son, and then a daughter. In 1970, the young family moved to Ames, Iowa, and eventually settled in Bethany, West Virginia. With both of her children in school, Dottie returned to her studies at Bethany College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics, with a minor in art. Later she earned a master’s degree in mathematics at West Virginia University. 

Dottie was a beloved mathematics teacher for more than 30 years at Brooke High School in Wellsburg, West Virginia. At the same time, she and her husband bought a farm outside of Bethany, where they raised sheep, chickens, rabbits, guinea fowl and many kinds of vegetables and fruits. She learned to preserve food, build barns, spin wool, make baskets, bake wedding cakes, and many other skills and crafts. She designed an addition to their log home, planted countless flowers, shrubs and trees, and was no bad hand at splitting kindling. She loved to travel, spending one whole summer taking her kids on a bus trek across the country. She traveled to China and lived there briefly in 1991 while her husband was teaching English in Jinhua. She was fun-loving and adventurous, and there was hardly anything she could not do when she turned her curious mind and strong will to the task. 

Despite her remarkable skills and intellect, Dottie will be most remembered for her kindness, friendliness and generosity of spirit. She was an active and devoted member of Bethany Memorial Church while she lived in Bethany, teaching Sunday school and holding other positions of service in the church throughout the years. After moving back to Alpine with Milton in retirement, she served on the board of directors of the Sunshine House in Alpine from 2014 to 2017. 

Dottie was predeceased by her parents and by her older brother, William Hocker. She is survived by her loving husband Milton; her son Milton R. Smith III of East Lansing, Michigan; her daughter Dawn Irene Smith Burgess of Bar Harbor, Maine; and four grandchildren: Fred and Lumen Smith, and Ransom and Alden Burgess. 

Dottie was loved by all who knew her, and her memory will be a joy to us forever. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her memory to the Sunshine House of Alpine,TX. You can find them and read about their mission — to provide nutrition and fellowship to seniors, the homebound and the disabled — at