Dot was born in 1925 into an extended family in Bonlee, NC. As a child during the depression, she learned to be resourceful and creative, skills that were evident throughout her life in her love of gardening, sewing, and creative crafts, including jewelry making.
Dot enrolled at UNC-CH during the war, where she enjoyed the fellowship of the Baptist Student Union (BSU) and met her future husband, Jim Cansler. They were married after her graduation in 1946 and remained devoted to each other until his death in 2003.
Once her three children were school age, Dot received her Masters Degree in Social Work at UNC at age 40. Dot became interested in the needs of families with handicapped children, and focused her work in this area of service for the next 25 years.
Dot was a devoted churchgoer throughout her life. She and Jim moved from University Baptist to the newly formed Binkley Baptist in the early 60s, and then to University Presbyterian in the 90s. They were active in each congregation, making friends, teaching Sunday school and providing parenting guidance to many couples.
Throughout her life Dot was eager to go places and make new friends, actively seeking out people in need of special attention or assistance. She and Jim traveled throughout the world, and she was always eager to sponsor international projects including sister cities and exchange programs.
After moving to Carol Woods in 1999, Dot and Jim were active in all aspects of that community, making many friendships that would sustain Dot for the remainder of her life. She leaves us with a legacy of service and love of her family, friends, and community.
Dot is survived by her children Linda Martens (husband Richard, daughters Christa and Julia), David Cansler (wife Lynn, daughters Hillary and Susie), and Martha Cansler (husband Danny Rosenberg), as well as her brothers Charles Phillips and Lewis Phillips, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on January 18, 2014 at 11:00 am at University Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either the Cansler Fund at University Presbyterian Church (supporting theology students) or the James O. Cansler Service Award at UNC (given annually for service to the community).