Shannon Heltman Dogan, 66, of Roanoke County, passed away Saturday, August 3, 2019 at her home following a long illness.
“I was born March 3, 1953 in McComb, Miss.i to Charles and Evelyn Garrett Heltman and seven year old sister, Sharon Camille Heltman. My dad and mother were from Colorado, but after World War II, they felt called into the ministry and went to college and seminary in the south. Their ministry remained in the south; Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. My father was a Southern Baptist minister for more than 60 years and my mother clearly had the calling to be a pastor’s wife. Therefore, I had the privilege to be raised with my sister, as a preacher’s kid and having the best from our parents; mid-west culture and southern grace. We were raised to know Jesus, believe in prayers, missions, and to always take the high road. We did not see color in our home and we knew that those who did would be amazed when they to heaven. Remember, I grew up during the integration period and what an advantage to have parents model true love.”
“I lived in Montgomery, Alabama for my elementary days and Tuscaloosa for junior and senior high school. Here I learned to love the University of Alabama and spent Saturdays dressing in Roll Tide tee shirts and sharing tickets for the game. Bear Bryant gave each pastor in town two tickets per home game so we felt blessed in Bama fever.”
“During high school years, I was active in Thespians, Children’s Theatre, and a YMCA summer camp counselor and worked for WEE Tot Nursery. All of these activities led me to be a teacher/educator. It was so perfect how God prepared me for teaching. A teacher is always on stage so the theatre was step 1 and then the camp counselor taught me how to notice teachable moments when on a trail or sitting in a stream or teaching about Indian tribes, and then the day care experiences sealed the deal.”
“I married Buddy Dogan, high school sweet heart at age 19 so I did a lot of growing up from 1972 until…well I was still growing when I left this earth. I attended the University of Alabama and got into the beginning of special education. My first job was in January before I even graduated. My first job was in January before I even graduated. My principal did not believe in SPED so I was the third teacher that year. Well, you know my stubbornness. I stuck it out for several years. It was God’s grace that go me through many days in Moundville, Alabama. The county was HALE County so go figure. Buddy was a funeral director and we loved God, life, and ‘our life.’ He would say, ‘Shannon, these are the good ole days.’ Little did I know or understand.”
“We bought a funeral home in Clarksdale, Miss. but the small town cliques and plantations were not too much our thing so we then moved to Lenoir, N.C. We worked for a company in Texas who would buy local funeral homes, keep the families running the business, and put their company man in their business to keep an eye on the daily doings. We fell in love with Lenoir and just could not move on to the next location. Buddy started looking for a business to buy so we could stay in Lenoir. He came home one day and told me, ‘I bought a flower shop, I bought Underdown Flowers.’ He had not tied a bow, or arranged a flower but he knew God told him to buy the shop. We had people who could arrange and tie bows and we both became very good at it very quickly. The staff became our dear friends and so did our customers. Hollan Elizabeth Dogan was born April 1, 1981 and when I looked at her, I understood God’s love. I knew if he loved me a million times more than I could love a baby and I loved her beyond words, then I got it. Tanner West Dogan arrived October 25, 1987 and became ours on December 23, 1987. Life felt pretty perfect- a wonderful church, two children, a house, a station wagon, a dog, a flower shop business, and lots of people we loved.”
“Buddy became ill in 1989 and died too suddenly.”
“That’s probably when I realized that I would have to depend on God every single minute of every single day. I was a single mother, an 18 month old, and an eight year old, with no money sense, no business experience, and loved being married to Buddy.”
“I moved from part time instructor to full time instructor at Caldwell Community College. I learned the flower shop business, became involved with teaching, learned to be a single mother, spent a lot of time with colleagues- Mary Kincaid’s farm became my place and Amy was always there.”
“The Dogan family came to Lenoir on their way to Granny Newton’s birthday party in Roanoke. They invited me to go with them since Hollan and Tanner were in Louisiana with the LaRavias. I went and at the party met Richard. I knew his family well but I’d never met Richard, Buddy’s step-cousin. Five years later, I married Richard and moved to Roanoke. Instant family, Rainbow Baptist, Roanoke County Public Schools, Sorority Sisters, and rec ball became our life. But…the week after school was out for the summer, we’d head to Tuscaloosa, Ferriday, and Gulf Shores. Richard was very tolerant so we’d stay a month and then head home to get ready for football season for Tanner and school for all of us. There was always one project at the house to complete before I went back to work. Then Richard became ill and died way too early also.”
“I loved to work. I started babysitting at a young age and always had some kind of job. When I lived in Lenoir, I taught Early Childhood Education at the community college. When I came to Roanoke, Roanoke County Public Schools became a huge part of my life. I started teaching in 1994 at Mason’s Cove Elementary School in a Behavioral Adjustment class. I had taught ID, LD, and gifted but never behavioral. I loved my self-contained classroom. The next year I was moved to Mt. Pleasant Elementary School and stayed there for six years. I went to Burlington Elementary as Assistant Principal and stayed there for six years, Ft. Lewis as principal for two years, and then to Central Office in the SPED department to work with children and families who needed additional support from their home schools and needed community based services. Every day was different and I loved going to work. I also worked as a second job with several agencies through the years in the evenings and week-ends as an intensive in-home service clinician. I really loved working with one family at a time, trying to make a difference.”
“One big reason Roanoke was such a blast has been my sorority, Beta Sigma Phi. I transferred into this chapter shortly after I moved to Roanoke. I joined the organization when I was living in Tuscaloosa and then transferred to chapters in Mississippi and North Carolina. When I moved to Roanoke and met the ladies at County Council and they invited me to join their chapter, I hit the jackpot. These sisters are so genuine and caring. And so fun…These girls became my dear people, always having my best interest, loving me and my family, always giving me someone to call to catch a meal and lend an ear and PRAY over stuff. Most of these ladies swim at Catawba Moose Club and some of us are known as The Mermaids and cookout and camp in our Paradise camper. This has been so much fun owning a camper.”
“Another joy has been working at New Life Church with my Nepali friends and Diana and Jim Martin and the Goads and the McKinneys. God put me with Jim and Diana to serve and I am grateful and honored to teach Sunday school.”
“Life has gone by far too fast. I’ve loved it… The challenges, I depended on God. The Graces, I thanked God for them. Right now, as you are listening, I am saying, ‘WOW. Heaven is great.’ God told us but we can’t imagine. Please do not leave today without doing a reality check and a spiritual check. You must have a relationship with Jesus. Don’t think you have to be perfect before you accept Jesus as your Savior. You’ll never be. Please know that my prayer is for you to have a relationship with Jesus so you will have eternal life. I love you all. Shannon Beth Heltman Dogan.”
Shannon was preceded in death by her parents; husbands, Aubrey “Buddy” Dogan, and Richard Alan Newton; mother-in-law Betty Dogan Wright; grandparents: Edith and Wayne Loomis, Charles and Beulah Heltman, and Evelyn and JM Newton; fathers-in-law: Tate Wright and Phil Newton.
She is survived by son, Tanner West Dogan and daughter Hollan Elizabeth Dogan, both of Roanoke; sister and brother-in-law Sharon and Dr. Dennis LaRavia; nieces: Stephanie Sandrock and her son Jacob Sandrock, Danielle (Peter) Marshall and their children MacLaine, Kaitlyn, and Samuel Marshall; nephews: John (Katie) LaRavia and their children Zoe and Alex, Josh LaRavia and his children Kennedy, Jackson, and Jude; cousin: Kevin (Michelle) and their sons, Matthew and Luke; Buddy’s family who became her family: sister-in-law Kristie Dogan Bohannon (Jerry) and their children Christopher and Katie (Robert), and their children Hadley and Everett; brothers-in-law: Michael (Gail) Dogan and their children Josh (Shannon) and their children, Kaeson, Josie, and Leona; Lance (Juliet) and their children Max, Asher, and Leah; Kelly (Joy) Dogan and their children Kole (Katie) and their children Kade and Kannon; Nikki, Marlee (Mark), Lindsay, and Jeremy (Kim); mothers-in-law: Elaine Newton, Peggy Dogan, Barbara (Newton) Divers and her husband Don; Richard’s sister: Donna Lyle; Richard’s brother, Karl Newton; extended family: Vicki Jayne, Kristina and Raevyn Thomas; Sorority Sisters: Becky, Bonnie, Connie, Deborah, Donna, Jesse, Jo, Kim, Linda, Laura, Vicki T., and Sandy.
A celebration of Shannon’s life was held at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5 at Rader Funeral Home, Daleville with Pastor Michael Grooms and her brother-in-law, Dr. Dennis LaRavia, officiating. A private burial was in Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens in Lenoir, N.C. The family received friends at the funeral home Monday from 3 p.m. until the time of the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to New Life Fellowship, Nepali Children’s Ministry, 541 Luck Avenue SW, Roanoke, 24016. On-line condolences and live-stream broadcast of the Shannon’s service may be found at www.rader-funeralhome.com.