Cover photo for Joyce Dotson's Obituary
Joyce Dotson Profile Photo
1940 Joyce 2019

Joyce Dotson

January 10, 1940 — December 14, 2019

Joyce L. Dotson, 79, died Saturday, December 14, 2019 at the Masonic Homes of KY—Shelbyville. Miss Dotson was born in Frankfort, KY on January 10, 1940. She grew up on Dotland Farm, near Peytona, and attended Shelbyville High School. For 34 years, she taught third grade in the Shelby County Public Schools—which served as the core for her lifelong love of education and leadership. Joyce was very involved with the Kentucky Education Association (KEA) as a member of its 5th District. She was later elected to the KEA Board of Directors, eventually becoming its president. For three years, she worked for the KEA as its Uniserv Director in Bowling Green and later took the same position in the Elizabethtown office where she served for two years. Following this work, she was hired as KEA’s Government Relations Director in Frankfort.  Miss Dotson also was a member of the KEA-Retired Board and traveled to many regional and national meetings with KEA.  All in all, Joyce Dotson was member of the KEA for 56 years; 55 of those years in some leadership role, and 10 years as a KEA staff member. She was a strong and diligent advocate for public schools, students, and teachers across Kentucky.

Miss Dotson graduated from the University of Kentucky and was a devoted basketball fan. She was an avid horsewoman and a member of the Tennessee Walking Horse national association. For 20 years, she showed horses, including My Lady Major (MLM), an undefeated champion in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana from 1971-73. MLM also placed 2nd at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.

Joyce was active in Shelbyville’s First Presbyterian Church where she served as Clerk of Session for over 15 years. She also was active in the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, serving first as Vice-Moderator and then as its Moderator. She served on the church’s Session, pastor nominating committee and personnel committee. She was active in Sunday School, Presbyterian Women, and Women’s Bible Study. She took delight in the children of the church and of Ariba Ninos. The congregation was her extended family, and she was generous with her time, gifts, and leadership.

Joyce Dotson was also very supportive of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.)—an organization dedicated to the education of women.  She was a member of Shelbyville’s Chautauqua Women’s Group, the Shelby County Democratic party, and the Shelby County Community Theatre. She had a deep passion for public service, and she leaves behind a legacy of advocacy. She was a mentor, role model, and friend to many teachers and community leaders.

Over the years, Joyce felt fortunate that she was able to meet many famous people such as Governor John Y. Brown and his wife Phyllis, Senator Ted Kennedy, Vice President Al Gore, and President Jimmy Carter. Though in recent years Miss Dotson struggled with health issues, she was always thankful to God for helping her “keep moving and fighting.” Joyce was probably most thankful to God “for all of her ‘kids’ that were in the 3rd Grade” with her. Wherever she went in Shelby County, she encountered former students, saying “they were happy with me and the 3rd grade.” She remembered every one of them.

Miss Dotson was preceded in death by her parents, James Woodrow Dotson and Mary Margaret Tracy Dotson Hamm; her brother, James Beverly Dotson; her nephew, James Austin Dotson; and her stepfather, Dr. Robert Hamm.  She is survived by her dear friend, Kenton Cooper of Baton Rouge, LA; Mary Lloyd Farmer of Shelbyville; her First Presbyterian Church family; and her KEA family.

Funeral services will be Thursday, December 19, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. the Shelbyville First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Jay Hodge officiating. Visitation will be Wednesday, December 18 from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Shannon Funeral Home. A private burial will take place on Friday, December 20 in the Sunset Memorial Gardens in Frankfort

Expression of sympathy may be made to the Shelbyville First Presbyterian Church, 629 Main St., Shelbyville, KY 40065; or Heifer International, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202

To order memorial trees in memory of Joyce Dotson, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

3:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Shelbyville First Presbyterian Church

629 Main St, Shelbyville, KY 40065

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Private Committal

3250 Versailles Road

, Frankfort, KY 40601

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