Virginia Anabel Dockery was born on September 13, 1927 in Wilbarger County to Roy and Emma Lou Hughes. Her father died when she was very young as a result of injuries he sustained as a WWI veteran. She learned about independence and self-reliance when she and her mother survived the Depression by running a small dairy near White City. After graduating from Vernon High School, she obtained a degree from University of Texas and began her life-long vocation of educating children. Anabel was heading back to school to get her master’s when Kenneth Dockery convinced her to marry him in 1949, and they delighted in 63 years of playing bridge with their friends in Vernon — especially Earl and Peggy Bristo — traveling the world from the South Pacific, to Alaska, to Europe and watching the river flow by their cabin in Colorado while playing cards.
Anabel touched many children’s lives as a teacher at Lockett, Oklaunion, and Shive Elementary in Vernon and Reagan in Quanah. She made a lasting impression as a teacher who cared deeply for them and their future. Not content with her impact in one classroom, she went to summer school to get her long-delayed master’s degree as a diagnostician. She expanded her reach to enhance the lives of special needs children across Hardeman, Foard, and Childress counties. She was so committed to her work, she was pulled out of retirement three times and her career lasted over 50 years.
Anabel passed away peacefully at BSA Hospice in Amarillo on March 2 surrounded by her family. She was the kind of wife, mother, and friend everyone would want…loving, compassionate, tolerant, intelligent — a class act in every way imaginable. She will be deeply missed and always remembered as a guiding light by the most important people in her life: her husband; children, Dr. Holly Dockery (Santa Fe), David Dockery (Johnson City), and Mary Kay Riley and husband Kevin (Amarillo); grandchildren, DeDe Dockery and Allison Clement; and many nieces, nephews, and friends around Texas and New Mexico. She was predeceased by her sister, Mary Covert Evans.
A memorial service will be held in Quanah on Tuesday, March 6, at 11 a.m. at Smith Funeral Home Chapel in Quanah with Rev. Monte Lumpkin officiating. Anyone wishing to make a donation in her memory can contact the Arthritis National Research Foundation, any organization doing dementia research, or the charity of your choice.