Longtime Brookings resident Samuel W. Dotson passed away unexpectedly in Crescent City on Aug. 8, 2017, at the age of 72.
He was born Nov. 20, 1944, in Modesto, California, to Samuel Daniel and Hannah Beatrice (Garrard) Dotson. The family moved to Brookings the following year, and his mother Hannah taught school in Brookings for 25 years.
Sam graduated from Brookings-Harbor High School in 1963. After some college and various jobs, he signed on with the Curry County Sheriff’s Office under Sheriff Allen Boice. In November of 1970, he transferred to the Brookings Police Department, where he held several different ranks, his favorite being patrol officer. After faithfully serving his community for more than 35 years as a police officer, he retired in 2003.
On May 17, 1972, Sam married the love of his life — Rita Kockritz. Their son, Donny was born in May of 1976 and Sam’s world changed forever. Daughter Jaime was born in April of 1979, and Sam spent the rest of his life dedicated to his children and to those in his community whom he loved so much.
Sam began a long volunteer career with Little League and Babe Ruth in 1982. He coached many teams, many times for both children during the same season. He also helped with youth basketball teams, Cub and Brownie Scout programs, volunteered in the school system and had an impact on countless kids in the Brookings-Harbor area.
In later years Sam volunteered with Relay for Life and became renowned for walking as many as 34 miles around the track at one Relay for Life event. Sam was on the Friends of Curry County committee, which provided gas cards to people needing assistance for travel to medical appointments for cancer treatment.
Once their kids had grown and left home, Sam and Rita enjoyed many outdoor adventures together, including hiking trails, staying in various cabins and lookouts, going on tall ships and even skydiving. His passion for life knew no bounds and he fully invested himself in every venture, whether it be his love for his family, love of hunting or exploring the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.
The sun rose and set for Sam in his children and wife. He didn’t know it was possible to love more until his grandchildren began to arrive.
Seven-year-old Gabbrielle Tailor Settlemire became his first grandchild in 2005 when Donny married Dona Steel Jackson, and lit up Sam’s life. In 2006, Danielle Ashlynn Dotson arrived to Donny and Dona, and Sam began his second career tending grandkids. Emmalyne Victoria Armstrong was born in 2009 to Jaime and Sean Armstrong, and Maxwell Samuel Dotson Armstrong came along in 2013.
Sam dedicated the rest of his life to his grandchildren and to developing and nurturing them. His was a wise and generous spirit and the children thrived under his loving wings. He took them fishing and hiking, helped coach their Little League teams, babysat four days a week and has inspired many grandparents in our community.
Sam always said it’s not how long you live, it’s how well you live. Sam Dotson lived life to the fullest extent possible, his passion for life and generous spirit not soon to be forgotten by his family, who adored him, or by the community who knew and loved him.
In addition to his wife, children and grandchildren, Sam is survived by sisters-in-law, a brother-in-law and numerous nieces and nephews. Consistent with his wishes, there will not be a conventional memorial service, but instead an informal gathering for his friends and loved ones to share food, each other’s company and, of course, stories. Details will be provided at a later date.
In lieu of flowers Sam would have preferred people give generously to each other in donations of time, support and contributions to their favorite charity.
Redwood Memorial Chapel is assisting the family. Condolences may be expressed online at www.redwoodmemorial.net.
Submitted by Redwood Memorial Chapel.