David Dalton Dortch
1926 - 2021
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David Dalton Dortch

David Dalton Dortch was born in Nashville in 1926, to David Alfred Dortch and Rose Dortch (Dalton), and grew up on the West side of Nashville on Lombardy Avenue. Born into a large Irish Catholic family, he was a man of strong faith and proud heritage. Indeed throughout his life he referenced dogma and luck as constant companions. He was the first of a legion of Dortch alumni to graduate Father Ryan High School, class of 1944. Soon thereafter, he served our country with the Army Air Corps, holding two postings that brought him great pride: decommissioning service dogs returned from overseas for adoptions with new families, and as a Military Police Officer. The latter teaching him a new skill: Judo. It is said that upon his honorable discharge from the service he returned home to Nashville, found two local bullies insulting his little brother, and deftly threw them down the stairs. After the Army he attended Peabody College, where he studied English and Literature, and where he met his wife, Ruth (White). The love of his life, they were married for nearly 56 years and raised three of their own children, David White Dortch, Beth Franklin (Dortch), and Rose Shipp (Dortch), as well as their niece Clyda Vahrenkamp (Bennett) and nephew Val Perkins. He was an early architect of the trucking industry in Tennessee. By the grace and pocketbook of his aunt Emma Dalton, he started his first trucking company. He went on to build and run many companies including Volunteer Express, Humboldt Express and Star Transportation; and of course, paid his aunt back in full. He was an active member of the Tennessee Trucking Association and recipient of their Pinnacle Award. He credited "hard work… trial and error… and a certain amount of luck" to his many successes during his long and extraordinary career in the trucking industry. But for all his success in business he maintained his highest calling was providing for his family. He truly shone outside the office with his family and friends. And he "liked to keep my fingers in a lot of pies". He was a member of Nashville's Society of Amateur Chef's since 1994. He had a green thumb and a fast hand; maintained a beautiful garden of irises and slayed his opponents at bridge. He esteemed literature, and knew every case of his favorite sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. He treasured The Hardy Boys, Dracula and Frankenstein. His favorite film was The Silence of the Lambs. He loved to laugh and enjoy a drink with family. He was preceded in death by his parents David and Rose, his younger brother William Dortch, his dear cousin Agnes Nixon (Eckhardt), his niece Clyda Vahrenkamp (Bennett), his best friend Ned McWherter, and his love Ruth. He passed away peacefully at home in Naples, FL on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. He was 94. His three children, seven grandchildren (David Johnson Dortch of Tampa, FL; Dalton Driver Franklin of Dallas, TX; Sarah Dortch Nunez of Tampa, FL; Emma Dortch Algren of Tampa, FL; Ruth Franklin Bailey of Nashville, TN; Samuel Thompson Dortch of Mobile, AL; and JoJo Shipp Moman of Nashville, TN), five greatgrandchildren, and his longtime friend and partner, Marian McKinney survives him. He was a kind, funny, and generous man. He loved his family above all else. And he was "a great American". In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Convent (801 Dominican Dr., Nashville, TN 37228). He will be interred with his wife, Ruth, in Nashville, TN. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

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Published in Tennessean from Jun. 10 to Jun. 13, 2021.
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5 entries
June 14, 2021
Mr. D was one of a kind. We will always remember his kindness, thoughtfulness and above his sense of humor. He will be missed.
Nancy & David Crofford
June 13, 2021
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Eugenia and Don CAREY
June 11, 2021
A brilliant gentleman who had a smile and was always laughing evert time that I was in his presence. I wish that I had known him better as he was truly one of a kind in a very positive way.
Ken Hickman
June 11, 2021
I'm so sorry to hear about Mr. Dortch. He was a so sweet to everyone here at Rokeby. Our prayers go out to his family.
Pam Spears
June 10, 2021
May your hearts always be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived. He will be sending weather reports from his new mansion in Heaven. God comfort and bless the family.
Ronnie Holland
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