Cover photo for Josiah Boggs Dodds's Obituary
Josiah Boggs Dodds Profile Photo

Josiah Boggs Dodds

Josiah Boggs Dodds

Joe started his international travels with his first breath.  He was born in September 1929 in Beijing, China to Ina and Walter, missionary parents. With his parents and sister Betty, they moved back to the US when he was only a few months old. Growing up as a minister’s child meant several moves.  He lived in Laramie, Wyoming until his late teens and did ranch work summers in Encampment. Next his family moved to Ithaca, New York where he attended high school and Cornell University, earning a bachelor's degree in genetics.  

He was cagey about his college social life… but we know he was set up for a blind date with a lovely nursing student.  He was annoyed because he was in charge of finding dates for all her friends who came with her from the Cornell Nursing School in NYC.  When he got home his mother asked how the date went and he replied “she was nice enough, but I would never marry her ''.  That boy was wrong about that!

They didn’t see each other again for several years. In the meantime, Joe began teaching while earning a Masters Degree at the University of Wyoming.  Next, he taught two years at Robert College  in Istanbul, Türkiye and led a Boy Scout troop.  He remained life-long friends with fellow faculty members and students.  

Joe began teaching high school in Wyoming when he returned. He was a fun teacher, bringing his banjo to class and having folk song sing-alongs with the kids.  It wasn’t long before matchmaker Virginia, who set up the first blind date, let him know that Vivian was just down the road in Denver. He looked her up, and they were married 2 months later at the family cabin near Estes Park.

The couple moved back to Cornell where Joe earned a PhD in Developmental Psychology. Vivian had their first two children (Peggy and Walter) there. After a one year postdoc in Oregon,  they moved to Denver where they had their third child (Ann) and they lived together for more than 60 years. 

With his colleague at University of Colorado Medical School, he created the first tool for medical providers to assess the development of children before they were old enough to take traditional tests. The "Denver" assessment was used nationally and internationally. He and Vivian personally lived in Turkey, Indonesia, and China where he helped align the “Denver” for children in those cultures. He ultimately helped many thousands of families understand how their kids were growing up and if they needed extra assistance.

Joe worked to promote early childhood education throughout his life. He directed Head Start in the Rocky Mountain Region in its formative years. This early childhood education program helps very young children of families facing economic instability to prepare for kindergarten. Even after his retirement, he continued to ride his bike miles every week to hang out with the kids in the downtown preschool for low income families. He also worked to help the Navajo Nation take over the first Native American school from the BIA in Rough Rock NM.

He moved from Head Start to an assistant professor position at the University of Denver. While there, he created the School of Professional Psychology with another dear colleague. The school thrived and has trained students for more than 45 years.

Joe and Vivian  remained a devoted pair for 64 years when Vivian passed. They shared many adventures; camping, backpacking, traveling all over the world, and hosting international students. They were avid snorkelers and cross country skiers, and loved attending classical music concerts and hosting dinner parties for friends. The cabin in Glen Haven was their special place 

Joe had endless curiosity for all things, science, religion, culture, music, and the world. His children, grandchildren (Joey and Hannah), great grandchildren (Jaxon, Sam, and William), relatives, and friends have had their lives enriched because of the person he was.

All who knew him will miss him, all who were touched by him are fortunate for the fact that he spent time here with us.

Please join us Thursday June 13th, 2024 at 2:00pm, Mountain Time as we
celebrate the life of Josiah (Joe) Dodds.  In keeping with Joe’s style
this will be an informal gathering, and remember that he loved bright
print shirts. We will have in person and zoom capacity. Please RSVP by
May 20th if planning to attend in person here
RSVP form
If you are unable to use the form, please let us know by email reply
if you think you might join us.
For those wanting to use Zoom please use this link
For those planning to attend in person, we will be meeting at the
Heartlight Center
Horan and McConaty Funeral Services
11150 E Dartmouth Avenue
Aurora, CO 80014
Heartlight Center is behind Horan and McConaty Funeral Home. If you are
coming south on Parker Road, turn right onto E Dartmouth. There is a
map attached.
If you are interested in a donation in Joes name, two of his favorite
charities were:
Estes Valley Land Trust which manages the conservation easement at the
cabin and many other properties in the region.
Mile High Early Learning: affiliated with Head Start and where he
volunteered in the preschool for many years.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Josiah Boggs Dodds, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Thursday, June 13, 2024

2:00 - 3:30 pm (Mountain time)


Click to watch

The Heartlight Center is a separate, house-looking structure, located across the way from the main mortuary building in the same parking lot.

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