Betty C. Dorris, 63, missionary

Betty C. Dorris
Betty C. Dorris
Posted: April 25, 2013

Betty C. Dorris, 63, of Oreland, a Christian missionary, died Tuesday, April 16, of ovarian cancer at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Mrs. Dorris felt called as a young adult to serve as a missionary, said her husband, the Rev. Roger Dorris, a minister with the Evangelical Free Church of America.

While in college, she spent a summer in Spain as a missionary, and she continued the work here and abroad throughout her life, her husband said.

After graduating from Norristown High School and from Columbia University with a degree in physical therapy, she enrolled in a certificate program at Philadelphia College of Bible.

She served for a year as a physical therapist for handicapped children at a mission rehabilitation center in Haiti. On returning home, Mrs. Dorris continued physical-therapy work while volunteering as a youth leader at First Presbyterian Church of Norristown.

In 1978, she married Dorris and worked to put him through seminary. The two served a church in Jersey City, N.J., for three years ending in 1983.

The following year, the two traveled to Lima, Peru, with their children, 3-year-old David and 3-month-old Anna.

"We wanted to bring the hope of Christ during a time when the Shining Path and Tupac Amaru terrorist groups were at their height," said her husband.

Working on behalf of the evangelical mission agency ReachGlobal, they formed a church that met in their home, and later, in its own building down the street.

Mrs. Dorris taught women and children the Scriptures and provided spiritual counsel during what at times were warlike conditions.

Just before the birth of son Mark in Lima, the two made their way to the hospital during a curfew, with military police on each corner, her husband said. They flew a "surrender" flag and kept the car windows open, he said. The police let them through.

Another son, Joseph, was born with less drama during a furlough in the United States from 1988 to 1989.

The children accompanied their parents to Caracas, Venezuela, in 1993. The Dorrises formed new churches in Caracas.

Returning to Montgomery County in 1997, Mrs. Dorris resumed her physical-therapy career part time while serving as a discussion leader for Chelten Baptist Church's women's Bible ministry, Tapestry.

In addition to her husband and children, she is survived by brothers William, David, and Arthur Cobb, and nieces and nephews.

Services were Saturday, April 20.

Donations may be sent to ReachGlobal, 901 E. 78th St., Minneapolis, Minn. 55420. Checks should be payable to "EFCA" with "ReachGlobal Memorial Fund" on the memo line.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook

at 215-854-2611 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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