Funeral service for Willie Dotson III, 48, Lawrence will be held 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at Morning Star Church 998 N 1771 Road in Lawrence. Burial will follow in Oak Hill Cemetery.
He was born on October 7, 1972 in Lawrence, KS the son of Willie Dotson, Jr. and Gloria Jean Brown.
Willie was a Referee, Coach, former Para educator and Founder of Primetime Ballerz Basketball.
He married Nicole Renee Attebery on May 11, 2012 in Lawrence. She survives of the home.
Other survivors include his mother, Gloria (Delmar) Jackson, his children, Angela Rayton, Traci (Heaven) Dotson, DeShane Rayton, and Willie Dotson, IV; Siblings, Traci Brown, Gail Sweets, Shane White, Raquel Thomas; Mother-in-law, Cathy Reyes; his grandchildren, Myles Dotson, Amori Dotson, Amiah Morgan; numerous brothers and sister-in-laws and a host of relatives. He was preceded in death by his father, Willie Dotson, Jr.; his daughter, Courtney Dotson; and father-in-law, Tiburcio Joe Reyes.
The family will greet friends from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Monday, April 5th at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence.
With boundless love and sheer determination, Willie Dotson III – “Big Willie” or simply “Coach” to many people who knew him – touched hearts and changed lives. Willie died unexpectedly on Saturday, March 27, and his family now needs the kind of love and support he (and they) so tirelessly gave.
Many people entered Willie’s world though basketball, a sport that he loved and studied. But while many coaches end their mentoring when the season is over, Willie became a friend and father figure whose love and leadership was without a season. Willie coached hundreds of students in multiple sports, but his passion was most clearly expressed when he was coaching his very own Primetime Ballerz basketball team. Other coaches cut players, but Willie simply added more teams to make room for the dozens of boys and girls who wanted to play for him. No matter the cost, Willie gave each and every child an opportunity to be the best player and person they could be. Primetime Ballerz became a force not only in Lawrence, but throughout the region. And by the time Willie’s players were seniors, they reached their goal of playing nationally at the highest level. Through nothing but hard work and love, Willie made it happen.
Basketball, however, was never the ultimate goal. Willie used basketball as a tool to teach – to lift up kids who might otherwise feel left behind and to push all of his players to achieve off the court as well. Willie became a mentor to many and was a tireless supporter of each and every one of his boys. Upon graduation in 2020, many of his players earned scholarships and spots on college basketball teams. But Willie was most proud of the fact that after years of joy and sweat and tears and laughter, every single Primetime Ballerz player was heading off to college. In the end, Willie achieved his ultimate goal: to see his boys succeed.
Off the court and away from the kids, Willie was a force of nature who drew people into his orbit. Nothing was handed to him, but he refused to give up. That determination earned the respect of those around him. He spoke with the kind of honesty that comes from someone who doesn’t waste time on superficiality. He learned from his experiences and wanted the best for everyone around him. Willie wore his heart on his sleeve and never shied away from telling you exactly how he felt. (Sometimes he would tell you how he felt for several hours with hardly a breath.) Willie didn’t like to ask for help, but if someone else was in need you could be sure Willie, Nicole, and their family would be there ready to support in any and every way.
Memorial contributions may be made in Willie’s name to Warren-McElwain Mortuary to help with funeral expenses or to the Willie Dotson III Memorial Fund, payable to Nicole Dotson, for his grandchildren’s education and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain, 120 W. 13th street, Lawrence, KS 66044.
The service will be available at https://youtu.be/3iuyWdwcxow