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Ralph Dotson

August 20, 1950 ~ March 13, 2024 (age 73) 73 Years Old

Ralph Dotson Obituary

Ralph Eugene Dotson completed his earthly assignment of telling everybody jokes and making everybody laugh on March 13, 2024.  His family believes he did it on purpose to avoid having to cast another vote in American elections.  If he were still alive to announce his departure, he might say something like – I decided to leave a little early to avoid the 24-hour-a-day news cycle of another Trump/Biden presidential election—there are some things worse than death!   He was born on August 20, 1950, and lived in Toombs County for most of his entire life.  He was a member of Rocky Creek Baptist Church and was a 1968 graduate of Toombs Central School.

In 1968, he joined the United States Army and served his country during the Vietnam War.  He received a National Defense Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, a Bronze Star Medal, a Good Conduct Medal, a Vietnam Service Medal, a Vietnam Campaign Medal, and his unit (1st Armored Division/Old Ironsides) was awarded the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm by the Republic of Vietnam.  His family was as surprised as you are to learn about the Good Conduct Medal!

After his time in the military, he studied at Georgia Southern to become a history teacher, and returned home to Toombs County and spent his time farming and performing construction work.  Ralph loved the outdoors and loved to hunt and fish.  Many were surprised to learn that this gruff outdoorsman also loved photography and would occasionally pen some poetry.  A daily necessity for Ralph was the Savannah Morning News crossword puzzle, a trait he obtained from his mother.  Neither would stop until all squares were complete.  He also enjoyed watching Jeopardy, and friends and family alike were always amazed at his knowledge of meaningless trivia.

The 1960s shaped America, and as a product of the 1960s, shaped Ralph as well.  He loved the music of the 60s.  Someone wrote above his senior picture in his yearbook, “Mr. Sargeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Himself”.  He would gladly engage anyone in a discussion about the meaning of any Beatles song, or anything written by Paul Simon.   Someone else wrote in his yearbook that he would eventually write lyrics for Bob Dylan. 

One of his great loves was animals, and Ralph always kept a collection of dogs.  It was not unusual for family members to be greeted in town with a “How’s Ralph and Uga” OR How’s Ralph and Dot, OR Shorty, Peanut, Puppy, Lucky, Bossy, Bull, Jumper – you get the idea, insert any dog name.  His wild stories about his dogs were so hilarious that friends would ask him about them purely to delight in another crazy tale about his canine companions.

His greatest love in life was his family and friends.  If you were fortunate enough to meet him, you would have liked him immediately – he was just that kind of person.  That man Ralph loved to talk, and he called family and friends like clockwork. In fact, after this latest illness, many friends began to check in when he didn’t make his phone calls, wondering what might have happened.  If he was unable to call you to check on you, it was a sure sign that Ralph was sick.

Ralph’s mischievous wit and outrageous, huge stories will be sorely missed by many. His death leaves a great void in his friends and family, but we all have our favorite Ralph story to cherish.  He is preceded in death by his parents, Zechariah and Mildred Dotson, and one brother, Robert Dotson.

Left to celebrate his life and the great times they shared are his sister, Evelyn Hanson of Cartersville, and brothers Zechariah Dotson, Jr (Paula) of Newnan, Romanous Dotson (Deborah) of Johnson Corner Community, Raymond Dotson (Judy) of Johnson Corner Community, and Barry Dotson of Johnson Corner Community. He has one surviving aunt, Mattie Lou Ansley, whose daughter Cousin Trish was a lifelong best friend.  Ralph was a devoted uncle who deeply loved his nieces and nephews. In honor of his affection for them, we would like to include their names in his obituary: Evan Hanson of Cartersville, Eric Hanson of Cartersville, Tammy Elliot of Ball Ground, Traci Evans of Marvin Community, Casey Bodine, Jerome Dotson of Reidsville, Melanie Carder of Glennville, Angel Dotson-Hall of Newnan, April Dotson of Johnson Corner Community, Ricky Dotson of Ooltewah, TN, Amanda Winter of Richmond Hill, and Andrew Dotson of Marietta.

Ralph’s parents were the first, and for a long time, the only foster parents in Toombs County.  Upon returning from Vietnam, he made it a mission to spend time with those who had been abused or neglected.  A former foster sister recently stated, “I will always remember Ralph. He was the first person who took me hunting, and helped me to experience the outdoors”.  Among the many former foster brothers and sisters who became family – Steve Richbourg of Cartersville, Kathy Kight of Johnson Corner Community, Kenny White of Glennville, and Allen Morgan of Lyons.

The family would like to say a special thanks to the medical teams at Memorial Health Meadows Hospital, especially Dr. Brick Acosta, who refused to give up on Ralph, and the team at Community Hospice, who made his transition from this life as comfortable and as peaceful as possible. 

A service to celebrate the life and times of Ralph Dotson will be held on Saturday at 3 PM in the chapel of the Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home with Dr. Barry Dotson and Pastor Blake Hardiman officiating. 

The family will receive friends at Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home from 1 PM to 3 PM prior to the service.

Serving as active pallbearers are Evan Hanson, Eric Hanson, Ricky Dotson, Brian Winter, and Andrew Dotson.

The family is honored that the following groups are serving as Honorary Pallbearers: Members of the Clifton family, members of Pacer Joiner Construction, and the Toombs Central School Senior Class of 1968.

To honor his memory, the family kindly suggests that, in lieu of flowers, you consider making a donation to one of the following organizations:

The Dream Center, managed by our cousin Peggy NeeSmith, which helps individuals battling the very demon Ralph struggled with throughout his adult life.

The Toombs-Montgomery-Wheeler United Way, an agency that tirelessly works to make a positive impact in our community every single day.

Your support for these organizations would be a fitting tribute to Ralph's life and the causes he cared about deeply.

Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ralph Dotson, please visit our floral store.

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March 16, 2024

1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home
310 North Street West, P O Box 308
Vidalia, GA 30475

Memorial Service
March 16, 2024

3:00 PM
Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home
310 North St. West
Vidalia, GA 30474


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