A life dedicated to faith, family and community has ended for longtime Los Angeles resident Dorothy Cobb Wheeler, who passed away on May 27 at the age of 77.
Inspired by her love for God and concern for all people, Dorothy devoted her first career to assisting residents as part of the LAPD Wilshire and Pacific Division’s Community Relations Office. Following her retirement, she attended law school at age 58 and became an attorney specializing in employment discrimination and working pro bono for faith-based and senior citizens groups.
A celebration of her life and her steadfast commitment to others will be held on Tuesday, June 12, at 11 a.m., at Brookins-Kirkland Community AME Church, 3719 West Slauson Blvd., in Los Angeles.
The Right Rev. Theodore Larry Kirkland, Sr., retired bishop of the AME Church, will deliver the eulogy and the Rev. Dr. Mary S. Minor, BKCAME pastor, will officiate the service. In lieu of flowers, the family asked for donations to the American Heart Association and the Black Women Lawyers Association.
A native of Tryonza, Arkansas, Dorothy was born October 6, 1940 to Robert Abraham and Willa Mae Taylor. Relocating with her parents to Madera, California, she honed her leadership skills early as the second oldest of 10 children.
She married the late Carroll Cobb and they produced two sons. The young family settled in the Baldwin Vista district of Los Angeles where they raised their children and Dorothy was active in neighborhood organizations. In 2012, she married James Wheeler.
She also worked 33 years for the Los Angeles Police Department. A fast learner and enthusiastic employee, Dorothy headed several programs in the Wilshire and Pacific Divisions. Her assignments included volunteer director, crime prevention program manager and Adopt-A-School coordinator, a highly successful initiative that led to Dorothy receiving the LAPD Humanitarian Award in 1994.
Dorothy earned a Bachelor’s degree in 1977 from the University of Redlands, but after retiring in 1997, she enrolled in the University of West Los Angeles School of Law. Graduating with a Juris Doctor degree in 2001, she started a private practice and focused her efforts on assisting others. Also, she served as the university’s alumni director from 2001 to 2003.
In addition to her community service, Dorothy was active in her church, said Bishop Kirkland, who welcomed her into membership at Brookins Community AME Church when he was the pastor.
“Dorothy was an outstanding church leader. She served on the Steward Board, developed rebuilding strategies when the church burned in 1991 and was a great supporter of my candidacy for the episcopacy,” recalled Kirkland.
“She was also an achiever and that’s why she was able to work for LAPD for 33 years and retire with honors. Then she went to law school and became an outstanding legal professional in order to do something for the people,” he added.
Citing Dorothy’s role as a friend, Arshell Quarles said, “Dear Dorothy, you were truly a good girlfriend. You treated me like a sister! I miss you so much already and I will always love you to the moon and back!”
Offering similar sentiments, Juanita Hamilton noted, “Dorothy was everyone’s best friend. We all loved her kindness, generosity and sense of humor. I will always treasure our friendship and cherish her memory.”
Dorothy was preceded in death by parents, Robert Abraham and Willa Mae Taylor, and her first husband, Carroll Cobb. Her surviving loved ones include her husband, James Wheeler; sons, Dr. Rodney Cobb and Carroll Cobb, five grandsons, four sisters, five brothers, and many other family and friends.