Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


Martin Luther King, Jr. Shabbat

Friday, January 14, 2022 – 6:15 p.m.

Guest Speaker Marva Dodson

Marva L. (Bell) Jones-Dodson, a retired nurse has devoted her entire adult life (51 years) to volunteer service in the Stark County Community.

She was born Marva L. Bell in Massillon, Ohio to the late Herbert and Lula M. Bell. 

She received her early education in the Massillon City Schools, Malone College, Timken Mercy Hospital School of Nursing, Stark State College for Employee Development & Management and  Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Stark County. 

Upon passage of the State of Ohio Board of Nursing examination, Mrs. Dodson became employed as an Operating Room Nurse at Aultman Hospital, Canton, Ohio.  She later became an Office Nurse at the former Canton Orthopaedics, Inc. (nka Spectrum Orthopedics), where she provided patient care for the daily office function for four orthopaedic surgeons.

Mrs. Dodson is retired from Massillon City Schools as the Health Coordinator of the Massillon City Schools Public Preschool Program  and the School Clinic Nurse at Franklin Elementary School.  She is currently a State of Ohio Notary Public.

Among her numerous areas of civic service through the years,  she formerly served on the Board and Executive Committee of the Massillon YWCA, the Charter Member, Board and Executive Committee of Habitat for Humanity of Massillon, Ohio, Inc.  where she was involved in the building of twenty-six homes for families in need.  She served as a member of the United Way of Greater Stark County Agency Review Team to review agencies requesting funding from the United Way.

She also served on the Affinity Medical Center Board of Trustees, the Community Hospice Advisory Board of Stark & Tuscarawas Counties, the Stark County Health Department Medical Reserve Corps, the American Heart Association Board of Directors of Stark & Wayne Counties, the Prescription Assistance Network of Stark County Board of Directors, the Washington High School Alumni Association Board of Trustees, Massillon Chapter of the NAACP and the “Still I Rise” Book Club of Canton.

A faithful member of St. James African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church of Massillon, Mrs. Dodson serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.  She is a Life Member of the Board of Deaconess, President of the Usher Board, Life Member of the Women’s Home & Overseas Missionary Society, Life Member & Chaplin of the Ohio Conference Lay Council, Statistician for the A.M.E. Zion Church Ohio Conference, duly elected delegate to the A.M.E. Zion Church 106th Session of the Ohio Annual Conference, and the duly elected delegate to the A.M.E. Zion Church 51st Session of the  Worldwide General Conference in 2021.

Her areas of interest are Antique Doll Colleting, Outdoor Sports Activities, Music, Theater and Researching the history of African Americans in Stark County with emphasis on the history and contributions of African Americans in Massillon, Ohio.  She exhibits her collection entitled “CHARISMA” (Contributions of Historic African-Americans whose Roots and Influence are Significant to the Massillon Area), which includes antiques, artifacts and photographs.  Mrs. Dodson received national recognition for her exhibit in the 2003 March Issue of American Libraries Magazine. Photos from her collection are featured in “YESTERYEARS” (A Pictorial History of Stark County, Ohio) published by the Canton Repository.  Additionally, photographs from her collection are engraved on The Stark County/Ohio Bicentennial Wall of Fame plaque featuring “Stark County’s Greatest Sons & Daughters” and “The Stark County Story Exhibit”, both permanently located in the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, Canton, Ohio.  She currently serves as a member of the African American Cultural Center & Museum Committee seeking to establish a Black History cultural center and museum representing African Americans of Stark County.

She is the recipient of the 2012 ABCD, Inc. “Lifetime Achievement” Award and selected as one of “Who’s Who in Black Cleveland-Akron-Stark County” Class of 2013 Spotlighting and Celebrating African American Achievement.  In recognition of her devoted service to Massillon and the Stark County Community, Mrs. Dodson was the recipient of the “Mayor’s 2019 Senior Citizen Award” City of Massillon, the One Tiger, Inc. 2019 “Heritage Award” and the Massillon Tiger Benchwarmers Booster Club’s 2020 “Community Service & Achievement Award”. 

Mrs. Dodson is the proud mother of Celeste M. Jones of Middleburg Heights, Ohio.

Her key to a happy life is to fear God, keep His commandments, and to live out our God-created identity.  “Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives towards us.  For our lives are made up of a million moments, spent in a million different ways.  Some are spent searching for love, peace and harmony.  Others are spent surviving day to day.  But there is no greater moment than when we find that life, with all of its joys and sorrows, is meant to be lived one day at a time.