Community mourns Coffman High School sophomore
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|Photo from Schoedinger slideshow
Dublin City School District students and the community are mourning Matthew Keith Dotson, 16, a sophomore at Dublin Coffman High School who died Tuesday, Dec. 2.
Dublin Division of Police incident reports show officers went to Dotson’s residence on a report that cardiopulmonary resuscitation was being administered to a person because of a possible suicide attempt shortly after 10 p.m. Dec. 2.
Police officials declined to disclose further details about Dotson’s death, stating the incident was still being investigated.
Dotson’s obituary published in the Columbus Dispatch Thursday, Dec. 4, said he is survived by his parents, Keith and Debbie Dotson of Dublin; brothers, Johnny and Mark of Columbus; grandmother, Doris Bellinger; grandparents, Claude and Barbara Dotson; great grandfather, Harold (Monk) Raesler; uncles, Jim (Darlene), Doug (Angie), Scott (Mindy) Bellinger; aunt, Cristal (Joe) Foreman and several cousins.
Interment was in Jerome Cemetery. Arrangements were handled by Schoedinger Worthington Chapel.
News of Dotson’s death was announced to Coffman students Wednesday morning.
Counselors from all three high schools were available for students.
They reportedly visited each of Dotson’s classes and talked with students.
Parents organized a candlelight vigil Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. at the Coffman football stadium.
Even without the stadium lights on, about 500 parents and students united together to remember Dotson.
Calling hours for Dotson were held from in the afternoon and evening Friday, Dec. 5 in St. Brigid of Kildare Catholic Church.
His funeral was scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6 also at the church.
During calling hours, several tables in the church were overflowing with flowers, notes written by loved ones and childhood pictures.
A line of people waiting to share condolences with Dotson’s family members extended out the church doors and into the rain.
Friends, parents and teammates shared their memories with one another while waiting in line.
Matt Bova attended the visitation because John, Dotson’s older brother who graduated from Coffman in 2002, was his best friend growing up.
“I would hang out at their house,” Bova recalled.
“I remember Matt when he was just 2 years old. He was energetic and just a happy kid,” Bova said.
Karen Meyers paid her respects to the family at the visitation.
Her son and Dotson played baseball together on the Ohio Elite amateur team.
“He was always smiling. He was always supportive of his teammates and was just a terrific boy to be around,” said Meyers.
Dotson’s obituary said he loved the city of Cleveland, the lake and the Cleveland Browns.
He enjoyed traveling and spending time wakeboarding and fishing at Lake Erie.
Dotson’s football coach, Mark Crabtree, said the boy had a great attitude.
“He was a great kid,” Crabtree said.
“His best sports days were ahead of him.
“He was a kid that would develop into a great player,” he said.
Crabtree said Dotson, who was a quarterback, was a hard worker and a team favorite.
“He interacted well with everyone,” he said.
Adam Banks, Dotson’s freshman basketball coach said he was very charismatic and had high energy.
“It was the type of energy that motivated everyone to do better,” Banks said.
He said Dotson cared about his teammates and friends.
“Every day at practice, he gave 100 percent for his teammates,” Banks said.
Dotson’s baseball coach, Tim Saunders, said that he was a smiling happy kid.
“He had a lot of friends and he loved life,” Saunders said.
Dotson played third base and Saunders said baseball was the boy’s best sport.
“He probably ranked in the top five in his class,” Saunders said.
“He was always going to be a starter.
“I knew that as he grew, he would become even stronger,” he said.
Saunders knew both Dotson and his brother Mark who played baseball and graduated in 2009.
Instead of flowers, the family is asking contributions be sent to: The Matthew Dotson Scholarship Fund, Attn:Treasurer’s Office, 7030 Coffman Road, Dublin, OH 43017.
I got the e-mail from my editor on Friday about this young boy’s death. I began making phone calls and one of his coaches mentioned that the kids were saying it was suicide. I already felt awful about this but that just made me feel so much worse.
After finding that out, I decided to go to his visitation because I naively thought I could get a quote from his parents. I also needed a picture. I didn’t have realistic expectations.
The visitation was very crowded. Before it started, I approached two young boys who seemed to be his friends but they just shook their heads at me. It hurt to be rejected like that but I had to remind myself I was there to do a job and to not take it personally. I was able to talk to two other people and get quotes.
Going to the visitation made it feel all the more real to me. It wasn’t just another story. This boy had brothers and parents. His mom and I even share the same first name.
Everyone I talked to said how he was always smiling and was such a nice boy. I wish I had known him.
I have a feeling that when the police report becomes available, I may have to report on the details of what happened Tuesday night. My sincere prayers go out to his family and I hope they know I tried my best to write a respectful article for Matt.