D. Miller-Clemmons, 55, youth educator

Dorothy Miller-Clemmons
Dorothy Miller-Clemmons
Posted: December 04, 2012

Dorothy Miller-Clemmons, 55, who worked in early-childhood education in the Philadelphia School District for 19 years, died Monday, Nov. 26, in Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse of a bone ailment.

Born in Jeppe Township, Johannesburg, South Africa, Mrs. Miller-Clemmons was raised in Bosmont after her family was forcibly removed from Jeppe because of apartheid.

She earned her bachelor's degree in Afrikaans and Nederlands languages from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in 1981, after attending the University of the Western Cape for a year. She was active in the antiapartheid movement during college and into her 20s.

In 1982, she married Michael Clemmons, a mission assurance manager at the Boeing Co. The couple met in Botswana in 1980. At the time, she was collecting antiapartheid literature to distribute in South Africa, and he was doing volunteer work after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania.

The two celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this year. They lived in Delaware County and Philadelphia.

At the time of her death, Mrs. Miller-Clemmons had served a year as assistant director of Head Start in the Philadelphia schools. She began her career as a kindergarten classroom teacher, later served as an early-childhood field coordinator - similar to a principal of several Head Start centers - and then as an early childhood coach, instructing teachers.

"She worked for a while with older kids, but she did seem to gravitate towards the younger ones. It was her mother instinct," her husband said.

Mrs. Miller-Clemmons earned a master's degree in education from Penn in 1986 on a United Nations Scholarship. She received an elementary education certificate from Penn in 1992 as a Marcus Foster Fellow. She earned her principal's certification from Cheyney University in 2000, and at the time of her death was pursuing a certificate in early-childhood education at Arcadia University.

She was a member of the Omega Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Surviving, in addition to her husband, are a son, Mark; a daughter, Zinzi; her father, Louis Miller; two sisters; and two brothers.

A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, at Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, 419 S. Sixth St., Philadelphia.

Donations can be made to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation via www.themmrf.org.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 215-854-2611 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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