Vernon James Dotson Jr, after a rapid and difficult battle with cancer, came home to his family and died on the morning of October 15th, 2021. He was 67 years old. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Kathryn (née Tolman), his children Jay (Vernon James Dotson III) and Kamecia (husband Kyle) Moody and his grandchildren Luca Morales and Ash Moody. He is also survived by siblings Pauline Forsythe, Michael Tindall, Janet Forsythe, Sarah Goodwin, and John Allen Dotson. Vernon was predeceased by siblings Elaine Yurchak, Frank Tindall, Curt Dotson, and Doris Borcherding, and by their parents.
Born in 1954, Vernon was known to friends as Vern and as Junior to his siblings, Uncle Junior to his many nieces and nephews. His youth was spent in Arkansas and Missouri. He was barely a legal adult when he joined the United States Air Force, with a four-year tour traveling from Utah to the Philippines to Houston. In 1977 he moved to California where he settled and got married, with his two children coming soon after. Vernon worked in construction and operated a cobbler shop. Later, after struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, he worked for the Napa homeless shelters. He advocated for and sponsored individuals who also experienced addiction and subsequent homelessness, helping to get them from the shelters into housing and rehabilitation centers and support groups. For the better part of the last two decades, he worked for Black Tie Taxi as driver, dispatcher, and gruff yet friendly operations manager.
After he'd grown into a loving, supportive, happy Dad, Vern was nearly overwhelmed with the joys of being Grandpa. Taking the kids to ordinary and special places, sharing fun and food with them, and simply being together with either Luca or Ash or both – those were the happiest experiences of his life.
A memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday, November 10th, 11:00 a.m. at Tulocay Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a local non-profit addiction rehabilitation center whose effectiveness you can verify. Vern would thank you for it.
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