Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Mr. James Edward “Billy” Dockery, Sr. was born on October 9, 1933 in Robeson County, to the late James “Jay” Dockery and Mary Francis Nivens Dockery. He departed this earthly life for eternal rest on Sunday, October 15, 2023.
Mr. Dockery graduated from J.H. Haywood High School, where he helped to keep law and order as a Safety Patrol Officer. “Billy” as he was nicknamed worked a variety of jobs, and was one of the first DJs at WAGR Radio Station. There his love for music began, which enabled him to enjoy all kinds of musical genres. We always had the Top 40 from Randy’s Record Mart, ranging from gospel to soul. Mr. Dockery was also a dedicated worker at Star Shoe Shop in downtown Lumberton. But, most of all, he loved working at Southeastern General Hospital which is now known as UNC Health Southeastern. He worked there over forty years. There he was affectionately called, “Papa Smurf”, but he had several other nicknames. Billy had such a strong work ethic, that one year during a heavy snow storm, he stayed over night at the hospital so he would be on time the next morning. He was a self-taught meticulous landscaper, and many of his masterpieces received yard of the month recognition. He had a true green thumb, and was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge for most plants and flowers. Mr. Dockery was skilled at woodworking and sold many pieces of his work. The joy of his life was family, and holiday gatherings. Billy remains the reigning king of checkers and horseshoes. He was the family historian and a master storyteller.
He joined First Baptist Church at an early age, and served in several capacities. Mr. James was a soloist on the Gus Bullock Men’s Choir, a Boy Scout leader, Men’s Usher Board, and Trustee Emeritus. It was his love for music that led him to sing with several gospel quartets, and other groups. Later, he sang with the Starlights of Lumberton, and became their assistant manager. He served First Baptist faithfully until his health declined.
Mr. Dockery was preceded in death by the love of his life, Dorothy Mae Leach Dockery. Billy was the sole remaining sibling out of his brothers, identical twin, Rev. John Earl Dockery, Carl “Pete” Dockery, Franklin Dockery, and sister Mary Lousie Horton.
He leaves to cherish his life and legacy, his children, Gwendolyn D. McKiver (Darrell), Rosalind G. Dockery (Belton Graham) both of Lumberton, NC; James “Bill” Dockery Jr. (Wanda) of Hope Mills, NC; and Francis Renee Williams of Durham, NC; grandchildren, Barrington Dockery (Jacqueline) of Fayetteville, NC; Yasmine A. McKiver, Joyden McKiver-Kimpala (Ado) of Charlotte, NC; Khalia Willams (Joshua) of Durham, NC; Victoria Williams of Greensboro, NC; and Jamilia Williams (Dennis) of Hope Mills, NC; five great-grandchildren, sisters-in-law, Annie Ruth Dockery, Gwendolyn Shaw Dockery, Attia L. Thompson, and Mary Vereen, special family friends, Cathy Ingram, Mary Cole-Greenlee, Delois Jennings and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, and extended family.