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The Villages
Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Reverend Sara ‘Sally’ Dover

Reverend Sara 'Sally' Dover
Reverend Sara ‘Sally’ Dover

It is with both sadness and joy that we announce the death of the Reverend Sara “Sally” Dover (née Sara Elizabeth Harned of Allentown, Pennsylvania, March 26, 1935), on the 13th of May 2016. Sadness because of the loss of a remarkable person that represented so many different things to so many people, and joy because of all of the stories, memories, gifts, hugs, and words that we can carry with us as we continue in our short existence as sources of strength, love, joy, family, service and friendship.

Sally Dover is a person not easily reducible to a few words in an obituary, and any description does not begin to capture her impact on everyone she touched. If we were to begin with the “list”, the first quality that comes to mind was her ability to listen to others and understand them as they saw themselves and not as others may have seen them or judged them. We all felt embraced by our own uniqueness that Sally saw in each one of us. This quality was evident and cherished in her many roles as daughter, sister, cousin, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, friend, and Episcopal priest. For her, everything was an occasion, a celebration, a chance to make something fun, special, memorable, inclusive, learning—and not just holidays—but Sally’s creativity was especially felt in those moments when family and friendship were celebrated. She is fondly remembered for Christmas cookies, a passion for reading, puzzles and games and a love of travel.

Perhaps what was most tangible was her commitment to pastoral care and her ministry as an Episcopalian priest. Graduating from Virginia Theological Seminary at the age 53, she served as an Episcopal minister for 28 years, first in the yoked North Parish of Ashland, Pennsylvania, the Blue Ridge Episcopal Cluster in Virginia, Trinity Church in Bethlehem, and St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, until retiring to the Villages 10 years ago. While living in The Villages, she was a member of and served Holy Trinity Church in Fruitland Park.

Her personal ministry statement was “fostering a faith community of love as the body of Christ, empowering lay ministry through worship, preaching, teaching and pastoral care”. She is especially remembered for her ministry as a Christian Clown where even the saddest moments, transitional moments, have their element of joy and celebration. She worked in eight different parishes during her ministry, but she saw a church in everyone regardless of what religion they held, and more than appreciate what she could teach, she celebrated what she could learn from other people’s religions and experiences. An omnitheist in spirit, other beliefs and belief systems only confirmed the generosity of her own spirituality.

Sally joins her parents Robert and Estelle Harned, and her brother Vic Harned. She is survived by her son Bob Dover and his spouse Mari Vargas, her daughter Vicki Lambert and her spouse Mike Lambert, the memory of her daughter Pam Weber and her spouse Rene Weber, her grandchildren Hilary Dover and finance’ Chris Hewson, Thomas and Manuel Dover, Ian and Sara Lambert, Ripley Hendricks, Jesse and wife Tara Weber and Jacques Weber, Mark and wife Lisa Moore, and great-grandchildren Dylan Lambert, Kylar and Jordyn Moore, and Irelyn Weber.

A memorial service and Holy Communion will be held for Reverend Sara Dover, at Holy Trinity Church, 02201 Spring Lake Road, Fruitland Park, Florida at 2 p.m., 16th May, with a reception in the parish hall following the service.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Nick Jones Legacy Fund. Nick Jones was the Founder of the Villages “Airheads” group, and tireless campaigner for patient-powered research and advocacy for COPD sufferers.

The COPD Foundation has established the Nick Jones Legacy Fund to provide support for those struggling with COPD and to honor Nick’s wish that other COPD communities could be built on the model he so successfully designed. https://copdfoundation.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donate.event&eventID=512

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