Rev. James T. Dotson

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PIKEVILLE - Reverend James T. Dotson, 91, of Meta, KY, beloved Father, Grandfather, lifelong Educator, Friend, Mentor and Pastor, passed away September 19, 2013. James T. was preceded in death by his loving wife of 70 years, Evelyn Melee Oliver Dotson; daughter-in-law, Nancy Hatfield Dotson; great- grandson, David Brody Dot-son and granddaughter-in-law, Keri Reed Dotson. Tom was the ninth and youngest child born to Perry and Mary Hatfield Dotson. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Ransom Dotson, Sr., George Walker Dotson, Sr., Ancie Dotson, Sr., Charles Monroe Dotson, and Jeff Dotson. He was also preceded in death by sisters, Kentucky Farley, Martha Hager, and Louisa McCoy. James T. and Evelyn were the parents of five children: Tom Jr. (Alberta) Dotson, Meta, KY; Pat (Truman) Thompson, Pikeville, KY; Paul (Phoebe) Dotson, Mount Sterling, KY; Dale Monroe (Kathy) Dotson, Lexington, KY; and Irvin (Roseanna) Dotson, Meta, KY. James T. also leaves behind 12 grand-children and 18 great-grandchildren. Tom was born at Simmers, KY, now known as Kimper, on February 25, 1922. His sister Kentucky Farley, wife of legendary Pike County Superintendent of Schools, C.H. Farley, had a tremendous influence on her brother. She was determined her youngest brother was going to receive a quality education. James T. graduated from Belfry High School in 1938 at the age of 16. He worked his way through Pikeville College where he was a member of the highly acclaimed Pike-ville College Debate Team. He earned his Bachelor's Degree from Pikeville College, followed by a Master's Degree and Rank 1 Certification from Eastern Kentucky University. World War II intervened in Tom's life plans. He entered the Army and was stationed at Camp Beale, CA, with the 13th Armored Division, 24th Tank Battalion. Tom drove a tank under General George Smith Patton's command. He was wounded in Germany and spent 45 days in a French hospital. The United States Army awarded Tom the Purple Heart for bravery, heroism and courage. Tom is included in the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor, NY. Tom Dotson came from the greatest generation, America's Citizen Heroes, who came of age during the Great Depression and World War II, going on to build modern America. After military service, James T. returned to his career in education at the Blackberry Elementary School, where he served as Principal for 15 years. Tom then moved his family to Piqua, OH, where he served as Principal of North Street Elementary School. The next year he moved back to Kentucky to accept his first high school principal's position at Johns Creek High School, where he served as Principal for seven years. During the years from 1967 to 1973, James T. held four different positions with the Pike County School System, serving as Principal at Majestic and Grapevine Elementary, Mullins High School and in the Central Office as an Instructional Supervisor. In July 1973, James T. Dotson became Superintendent of the Pike County School System where he served for 11 years. Having served as a teacher, principal, and supervisor, he called upon his first hand knowledge to help him with decisions concerning the students and teachers of Pike County, trying always to keep the quality of education for the students first and foremost. James T. was instrumental in obtaining the funding for construction of the following schools and gymnasiums: Phelps High School, McCoy Athletic Center, Dotson Vocational School, Virgie Gymnasium, Charles W. Wright Gymnasium at Dorton, Elkhorn City High School and Gymnasium, Lookout Elementary, as well as renovations and additions to Millard Vocational School, Millard Elementary, and Blackberry Elementary. Under his watch, full-day kindergarten was implemented, special education programs were put in place, and more efficient financial accounting systems were installed to insure that teachers were paid in a timely manner. James T. Dotson received the Doctor of Humane Letters from Pikeville College in 2005, presented by then President Harold H. Smith and Chairman of the Board Terry Lee Dotson. Tom was also inducted into the Pikeville College Distinguished Educators Hall of Fame in 2010. Tom served as President of the Eastern Kentucky Educational Development Corporation (EKEDC), President of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents (KASS). He also served on the Board of Controls of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) representing Regions 15 and 16. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA). On November 29, 2009, at the Open Fork Community Center at Bent Branch, James T. Dotson was honored by having the Scott Fork Bridge on US 119 named in his honor (The James T. Dotson Bridge). Former Governor Paul Patton served as guest speaker at the dedication. The most important part of Tom's life was his love for God and his church. He pastored the Blackberry Interdenominational Church (55 years) until his death. He was a rock to his family and the foundation for his church. He will be missed by his family, church family and friends all over this state and country. Visitation will be after 9:30am at the J.W. Call Funeral Home Chapel, Saturday. Funeral services will be 2pm Sunday, September 22, 2013 at the Blackberry Interdenominational Church. Burial will follow in the Dotson Family Cemetery at Blackberry, KY. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Blackberry Interdenominational Church, Box 130, Hwy, 1056 #4612, McCarr, KY 41544.

Published in Lexington Herald-Leader on Sept. 21, 2013
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