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On an early sunny morning on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, Dorothy Deforest Range Bethel – a shining light as a master educator, mentor, mother to one surviving child, Denise G. Bethel-Stacke, one granddaughter Sudip Peterson Saunders and one great-grandson Bear Alfred Saunders – did pass away at the age of 94.

Dorothy was born on December 10, 1929, in Chester, PA, to the Reverend Cornelius D. Range II and Lovie Earle Kelly. She was one of eight siblings. Dorothy’s family moved to the Boston area when she was a child, where she lived for the remainder of her life. She received her B.S. in Education from Boston University in 1951. She went on to teach for several decades the second grade in the Boston Public Schools. In the later half of her career as a sought- after educator she became a Reading Specialist for the entire city. She earned her M.S. of Education from Wheelock College and taught several courses. She married, August, 1950, U. Grant Bethel Jr. They raised two children Denise G. and Grant C. Bethel.

Dorothy was a dedicated Nichiren Buddhist of the SGI-USA and took on many volunteer positions in the organization. Finding her mission was an important part of her practice. Dorothy definitely achieved her mission which was to teach. In her time, African American boys were often neglected in the instruction of reading. This resulted in many young boys being sent to classrooms for the intellectually disabled. Dorothy identified this undermining practice and dedicated herself to teaching every child, no matter their race, gender, or economic status, to read. She succeeded so well in the classroom that she later went on to become the teacher of teachers: an instructor at Wheelock College. She also oversaw the implementation of the basal reading system for the City of Boston public schools.

Dorothy loved to shop. She enjoyed eating Chinese food. She loved music concerts and stage musicals. Up until the age of 91, Dorothy continued to teach. She taught ESL students in her Somerville home. Dorothy was surrounded by her family chanting Nam-Myoho-Rentge-Kyo as she passed.

She is also survived by her son-in-law, Denis Stacke, grandson-in-law Allan Saunders, her sister June Elam-Mooers, her brother the Bishop Cornelius Range III, and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service for Dorothy Deforest Bethel will be held on Saturday, April 27th at 1:00PM at the New England Buddhist Center, 303 Boylston St., Brookline, MA 02445. Funeral arrangements are from the Dello Russo Funeral Home 306 Main St. MEDFORD. To leave a message of condolence, visit