James “Jim” Wyatt Dotson, 77, of Tallahassee, Florida, passed away on Monday, June 12th, 2023. He was surrounded in death the same way he was surrounded in life – by his family. He had suffered a long and tiring battle with dementia and the Lord finally called him home to rest.
Jim was born in Miami, Florida on February 20, 1946 to his parents, Paul and Catherine. He was raised in Miami Springs as the youngest of 7 siblings. They all spoiled him rotten, by all accounts, except his own. His early family instilled in him the example of always putting your faith in God and he went on to practice this his entire life as a devout Catholic. He was very patriotic and served in the United States Army until he was honorably discharged in 1966. He was deeply proud of his family’s Irish heritage and was always happy to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In 1965, Jim met his beautiful wife, Cheryl, while he worked at her father’s grocery store, the Food Palace, on the circle in Miami Springs. They were married in Miami Shores in 1970 and went on to have three children, James Jr., Pamela, and Carolyn.
After graduating from Hialeah High School, Jim attended Florida State University where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business. Upon graduation, and with family being priority, Jim and Cheryl moved back to Miami Springs to be close to both of their families. He was a diehard Seminoles fan and will be remembered for wearing one of his many FSU ball caps at all times. True to form, and keeping the family close by, he purchased the house next door to his childhood home on Pinecrest Drive, where his mother still lived. Their home became the setting of many family get togethers – especially at Christmas. He was known for his famous fudge, which he baked every Christmas, and shared with both his family and neighbors.
Jim worked in management at KFC Heublein International for many years and later went back to Florida Atlantic University to obtain his second Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. It was then that he and his brother, Paul Jr, opened their own accounting firm, “The Dotson Group”, in Miami Springs.
While raising his family, Jim and his siblings purchased a cabin known by all as the “Mountain Home”, in Cullowhee, North Carolina. This became one of his favorite places to visit and was where all of his family could be together making wonderful memories. Jim was truly peaceful when he was there and could never get enough of the scenery, the crisp mountain air, and the time spent together with his loved ones. He also relished the many family reunions held throughout the years, where he was surrounded by his immediate and extended family.
Eventually the “garnet and gold” of his alma mater called him back to Tallahassee, where he finished his career as an auditor for the state of Florida’s Department of Revenue. There, he and Cheryl had a great time going out to hear live Irish music with their dear friends , Ted and Sue Miller and Tom McBride. They would play “the spoons” and sing along to the music.
He was immensely proud of his children and their career choices. Jim became a fire fighter for the U.S. National Forestry service, Pam became an R.N., and Carolyn became an L.P.N. He absolutely loved spending time with his wife and children, but nothing made him happier than the time spent with his five granddaughters – Amanda, Briana “Bri-Bri”, Alexis “Lulu”, Hailey, and Victoria. Endlessly surrounded by girls, he was thrilled to welcome a boy, his great-grandson, Emerson.
One of Jim’s favorite past times was going for a drive in the car. He always invited either his wife, one of his children, or his grandchildren to accompany him. He cherished having these journeys where he could have one-on-one conversations with the lucky passenger. Even if they didn’t realize it at the time, they were honored to receive his gifts of time, love, wisdom and music. It was on these drives that whoever was with him picked up a special song that essentially became “their” song with him. That song will be one they always value.
Jim had a great sense of humor. He loved to joke around and make others laugh. He had the most amazing and warm hugs. He loved peppermints, oatmeal cookies, and ice cream. He thrived on making everyone feel welcome, special, and important. He was known to leave gifts for the waste collectors, the yard man, and especially the postal workers for whom he would leave a cold Coca-Cola in the mailbox almost daily. His generosity knew no bounds, nor did his empathy and caring for his fellow man. One of Jim’s greatest loves was a fresh Georgia Peach. He would often venture north to the orchard in Barney, Georgia where he would purchase an endless amount of peaches and distribute the extras to his neighbors.
He was a blessing to all who knew him. He was truly a wonderful and amazing human being. He was simply the best husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, great-grandfather, son, brother, uncle, in-law, neighbor, co-worker, and friend you could have been blessed enough to know. We will miss him dearly and forever. He will live on in our hearts and through our love of family, music, Coca-Cola, peaches, and spreading kindness to others.
Jim was the the thread that held his family together. Now, his family isn’t quite sure how to move on without him. Yet, they know that he would never want to live without the ability to know or recognize them and show them his love. True to form, even with his dementia, he would read his family’s visitor name tag while at his memory care facility to show them he “recognized” them. When it became too hard for him to continue on, he knew it was better for them to not feel their pain or hurt by seeing him that way any longer. It was time for him to move on and be with his family who had left before him. Always selfless.
We miss him! We love him! Go ‘Noles! Erin go Bragh!
Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Paul Dotson Sr. and Catherine Dotson, his brothers, Paul Dotson Jr. and Donald (Norah) Dotson, his sisters, Barbara (Edward) Walsh, Mary Alice (Gene) Golsen, and Catherine (Carl Sr.) Mosher, his brother-in-law Cecil Borum, and his nephew, Carl Mosher Jr. He is survived by his loving wife Cheryl Dotson, his son, James Dotson Jr., his daughters, Pamela (Russell) Brown, and Carolyn (Rodean) Rhinehart, his granddaughters Amanda (Patrick) Fortunato, Briana Lynch, Alexis Lynch, Hailey Bull, and Victoria Bull, his great-grandson Emerson Barker, his sister Carol Ann Borum, his goddaughters Katie Petrides and Jennifer Mosher, his godson James Golsen, many, many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and Thomas and Morgan Bull whom he always thought of as part of his family – all of whom he loved very much.
A viewing will be held in his honor on Friday, June 16th between 5-7pm at Culley’s MeadowWood Funeral Home, 1737 Riggins Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32308. A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, June 17th at 1pm at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 4665 Thomasville Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32309. A reception will follow in the Church reception hall.