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Dorothy "Dot" Blakely

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Dorothy Ann O'Neill (Dot) Blakely, 71, of Memphis, Tenn., formerly of Rock Hill, S.C. and Batesville, Miss., died peacefully in her sleep Sunday evening, Aug. 5, 2007 at 10:45 p.m., at the Hospice Unit at Baptist Memorial Hospital East in Memphis after a short battle with cancer. She was diagnosed with cancer in early November 2006 and has been under Baptist Trinity Hospice care for the past few months.

Dot was born on Jan. 23, 1936 in Jackson, Miss., and spent most of her childhood in Como, Miss. She was the daughter of the late Benton O'Neill and Dorothy Parenton O'Neill. She was also preceded in death by her husband, James Eugene (Jimmy) Blakely, a native of Sardis, Miss., an electrician in Batesville, Miss., and who passed away in 1976.

Dot was a graduate of Como High School, where she was a cheerleader and basketball player and was an avid tennis player. She had a passion for sports, especially those involving the Manning football legacy, and watched televised events every chance she got.

Dot attended Northwest Mississippi Junior College. She worked in banking and then helped her husband found, develop and manage Blakely Electric Company of Batesville, Miss. until a few years after Jimmy's death in 1976. She moved to Rock Hill, S.C. in 1986 to help her sister, Rosemarie start a business and then later became Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Education at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, where she remained until her retirement in 1998. She was a long-standing member of Batesville United Methodist Church.

Dot was always genuinely interested in people's lives and careers and always wore a warm smile that brightened many lives. She hosted young college students in her homes in Batesville and Rock Hill and built lifelong friendships with anyone she met.

She moved to Memphis in 1998 upon the birth of her second grandchild to help raise and nurture them and is survived by her daughter, Leigh Ann Blakely and husband, Dennis Elrod and her grandchildren, Joseph and Elizabeth, all of Memphis, Tenn. She is also survived by her sisters, Sara Trotter of Batesville, Miss., Rosemarie (Rosie) Ellis and husband, Randy Ellis of Rock Hill, Betty Sartain and husband, the Rev. Jimmy Dale Sartain of Nashville, Tenn., and Judy Sartain and husband, Jack Sartain of Water Valley, Miss.; sisters-in-law, Patricia Blakely of Sardis, Miss., and Dottie Harris and husband, James Harris of Southaven, Miss.; and several nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, 2007, at Batesville United Methodist Church, with the Rev Ed Woodall of Batesville and the Rev. John L. Bowie of Crystal Springs, Miss., formerly of Batesville officiating. Burial will follow at the Batesville's Magnolia Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be given to the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation with designations earmarked for either Hospice or Camp Good Grief Funds. Donations to Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal School, earmarked for their General Education Fund, may also be made.

Wells Funeral Home of Batesville, Miss., Highway 35 N. Batesville, MS 38606 is in charge of funeral arrangements. Phone number is (662) 563-5700.