A life of generosity and love
Betty Jane Roberts Dotson, 76, passed away peacefully in her home March 7, 2020, holding the hand of her husband of 56 years, Charlie Dotson, and surrounded by her children, Grant and Beth.
Betty brought such sunshine to the world and to the lives of those who had the gift of loving and being loved by her. She believed life should be a celebration and made it so in big and small ways every day. She found joy in decorating for every holiday, especially Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day. The home she and Charlie shared was a warm and welcoming place. She loved to dance, taking jazz, tap and dancing ballet en pointe as a young woman, performing as a majorette with Dobyns-Bennett marching band, and dancing throughout her life whenever she had a chance from the Elks lodge to living room dance parties with her kids. She loved dancing with Charlie most of all. From the time she was little, she loved baby dolls and enjoyed connecting through Facebook with doll creators and collectors around the world, several of whom became close friends. She spent 15 years working at Eastman Chemical Company, rising to the rank of Executive Secretary before choosing to stay home to raise her children. In addition to being the best mother a child could ever hope to have, Betty was a Bluebird and Camp Fire troop leader, homeroom parent for her children’s classes every year and PTA co-president at Miller Perry Elementary School, Colonial Heights Middle School, and Sullivan South High School. She taught 3 and 4 year old Sunday School for many years at Colonial Heights United Methodist Church where she was an active member since 1976 and was a dedicated member of the Erma Slaughter Circle where she served as secretary.
But Betty’s greatest legacy was the way she loved. She never met a stranger, and she made friends and built community wherever she went. She had a way of making each person she met feel special and valued. Nowhere was that truer than in the family she built with Charlie. From the day they first met in 1959 at the Pot O’ Gold convenience store where he worked, Betty knew they were meant be. You’ll never witness a greater love story. They laughed, they danced, they supported each other. They were one another’s greatest cheerleaders. With great care and intentionality, they built a life together that they were proud of. Their love and partnership was an inspiration.
When Grant and Beth were born, Betty devoted herself to raising her children. To this day, she has a sign up in the kitchen that says, “A Happy Childhood Lasts Forever.” And she ensured that her children’s did. They had a spectacular childhood because she made it so. And the lessons she taught them in the process are the foundation of the way they live their lives, parent, and see the world. Betty made sure her children knew without a doubt that they were loved and were to love each other. Always and forever.
Betty was also a dedicated daughter and sister. She was born December 19, 1943, in Kingsport, and her childhood was joy-filled. She loved her parents, Ray and Helen Roberts, and her sister Susan Blanton deeply. They made so many happy memories together throughout her life, camping, cooking, and in their later years naming themselves the Gents & Ladies Aid Society as an excuse for a regularly scheduled weekly lunch and day out. It was Betty’s great privilege to care for each of them until their deaths, a task she did with tremendous kindness, compassion, and dignity.
Becoming a Granny filled her with joy, and she loved every moment she spent with Aiden, Riley, Ella, and Owen. She was the kind of Granny who sat in the floor to picnic with the kids, who was always up to play, and delighted in their every accomplishment. Her lap was always open, and you would often find one of her grandkids there snuggling while they watched a movie. One of her favorite memories was when she and the children worked together to build an entire gnome village from scratch in the backyard. She made sure they all knew without a doubt that they were loved and she was so deeply proud of them.
For the past five years, Betty battled cancer fiercely as it spread from her colon throughout her body. She endured two major surgeries and numerous rounds of chemo. But somehow she always rallied, and her family was so very grateful for the time and the memories they were able to make during those years. Charlie was her constant caregiver, determined to show her the kind of love she’d given so selflessly her entire life. And he did it so well, with the love and connection they had always shared. Determined to ensure that her decisions were honored.
While there were many hard moments in her fight, Betty was always grateful for the connections cancer brought into her life. The doctors and nurses, those she met at MD Anderson Cancer Center, the team from Smoky Mountain Hospice and especially Melissa Ealey, Haylee Goins, Holly Bland, Patsy Mosley, Pam Lindsey, Michael Driver and Jodie Funderburg. And throughout all the years, she and her family were grateful for the love and support of #TeamBetty. Launched by a dear friend in NC, #TeamBetty came to take on a life of its own. The t-shirts, bracelets, comments and messages, postcards, texts, phone calls, and so much more made Betty feel encouraged, supported, and remembered in her fight. It meant the world to her and to her family.
Betty was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph Ray Roberts and Margaret Helen Walsh Roberts, her sister Susan Roberts Blanton, and her infant brothers. She leaves behind to cherish her memory her husband, Charles H. Dotson, Jr., and children, Beth Dotson Messersmith (and Jamey), Grant Dotson (and Sara), and her grandchildren Aiden Messersmith, Riley Messersmith, Ella Dotson, and Owen Dotson.
To everyone who has supported and loved her, thank you. Your love meant more than you’ll ever know. Her spirit may have moved on, but her love endures. #TeamBetty, always.
The family invites you to join them for a visitation with friends on Thursday, March 12th, from 5-7 pm at Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home, 117 E Charlemont Ave, Kingsport, TN 37660, and for a celebration of her life, officiated by Rev. Chris Brown, on Friday, March 13th, at 1 pm at Colonial Heights United Methodist Church, 631 Lebanon Rd, Kingsport, TN 37663, followed by burial services at 3 pm at Oak Hill Cemetery, 800 Truxton Dr, Kingsport, TN 37660.
Donations can be made to Colonial Heights United Methodist Church, 631 Lebanon Rd, Kingsport, TN 37663.
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