Dorothy James Insell

Mrs. Dorothy “Dot” James Insell, 93, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee passed away on Tuesday, November 7, 2023. She was born to the late Arthur and Lizzie Mae Wooten James in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on Sunday, February 16, 1930. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Richmond Insell; son, William “Billy” Insell; brothers, Fred A. (Susie B.) James, Edmond “Carl” (Pearl) James, and Robert James; and sisters, Mattie Mae Vogel, Quixie (Udell) Moses, Yvonne Carter, and Patsy Ann Brown.

She is survived by her sons, Rick (Deb) Insell of Murfreesboro and Bob (Kaye) Insell of Lebanon; daughters, Kay (Wayne) Adamson of Woodbury and Gayle Alexander of Goodlettsville; grandchildren, Tom (Sarah) Insell, Kyle (Megan) Insell, Matt (Autumn) Insell, Clint (Jennifer) Insell, McKenzie (Matt) Carroll, Chelsee (Shawn) Stevens, Cory (Stacey) Barrett, Erin (David) Tucker, Jake (Egda) Alexander, and Christy Adamson; and 23 great grandchildren.

If you were keeping up with it on your fingers, you know Dot was one of 8 children, and being one of 8, she learned quickly how to be one of a kind. Dynamite comes in small packages, and Dot was a spitfire and a half. It was clear from a young age that Dot was a force to be reckoned with, and her spunk followed her throughout her life and helped her achieve several titles.

While “Miss Dorothy James” may have been her first title, the one she prized most was “Christian.” Raised in the Baptist church, Dot quickly matched her stride to Jesus and made the decision to walk with Him. Being baptized earlier in life opened her up to a ministry that lasted longer than the average life span, and her daily walk of faith was an example to all who knew her. Dot placed membership and was a long-time member of First Baptist Church in Woodbury.

Her love for Jesus remained like that of an innocent child, and she was constantly drawn to children. Upon meeting the love of her life, Dot was thrilled at the potential of having children of her own. She gracefully claimed her most cherished titles of “Wife” and “Mrs. Charles Insell” on January 24, 1948, and the vows for her newfound position were something she took to heart.

Charles was her everything on this earth, and Dot remained determined to fulfill her role in their marriage. The only ones that could come close to holding a candle to Charles in her mind were those sweet babies she had the privilege to call her own. “Mom” quickly raised to the top of the list on favorite titles in her life, and Dot knew exactly how to be “Mom.” She had a tender heart and tough love in just the right proportions.

Always wanting the best for them, Dot was known to be tough on the kids, but if you talk to them now, it doesn’t seem so bad looking back. They remember her making their clothes and sneaking in the title of “Seamstress” for the household. She also loved to sew quilts and crotchet. They remember not having to beg for a pet because they almost always had a dog or a horse. They remember the trail rides with the horses and “Trix,” Dot’s spotted saddle horse. They remember her tenacity, her wit, her wisdom, and her love.

Her knack for being “Mom” was something she decided to share with others. After raising her own children, “Babysitter” became her title.  She began babysitting in the nursery with her sister and nieces and even in her own home after retirement. If you came to visit, there was usually a baby in the den. Now, it says a lot when family can work together, but Dot didn’t only work with her sister and nieces. Kay actually fondly remembers their time working in the billing department at the Colonial Corporation together.

In all of Dot’s actions and decisions raising the kids, love motivated her. That love made her the person you could talk to about anything and everything. Bobby took her up on many of those conversations that would keep them talking for hours, especially during the last year of her life.

Now, it didn’t take much to get Dot talking for hours if you said the magic word — basketball. She played it, coached it, watched it, and cheered for it. Dot’s spunk and tough love came in full swing when she took the title “Coach.” Her Junior Pro teams were top notch and perfectly combined Dot’s love of children and the game. When she got a little older, Dot decided to sit on the sidelines and watch Rick take the court. She had her own seat at the MTSU games, and her presence and enthusiasm alone could have filled the entire stadium.

That became doubly true when she got the title of “Grandma” and the grandkids started playing sports. Dot was so proud of her grandkids and didn’t miss a family function, especially around the holidays. Thanksgiving was great and all, but Christmas was where it was at for Dot. Decorations went up the day after Thanksgiving and not a minute later. She had everything — from 5 to 6 Christmas trees, to Christmas lights galore, to crocheted stockings for the grandkids. Dot and, because of Dot, Charles decorated to the ninth degree. Anything that could be decorated was decorated, so needless to say, Dot was the family “Cheermeister.”

Her enthusiasm for Christmas really ties together all the strands that made Dot. Keeping a focus on Jesus and what His birth and life meant was something she did all year long. Adoring babies never got old. Sharing and giving were in her nature. Having a zest for life and the lives of others was her passion. Being with family, no matter where it was, was her favorite place to be. Having a game plan and watching it unfold play by play kept her enthralled. And there is so much more that can be said to connect Dot to Christmas, but what Dot wanted to be connected with most of all was her family.

They reminisced how Dot always wanted to be first to arrive wherever they were going. That excitement and longing to be with family kept her moving forward for 93 years, 8 months, and 22 days. Last year may have been Dot’s last ball game, but until her last day on this earth, Dot made memories and offered wisdom to her children. Gayle said she was seeing babies everywhere in the days leading up to her passing from this life. God called His child home, and Dot left her unmistakable mark of love for her family behind.

Visitation will be held at Gentry-Smith Funeral Home on Thursday, November 9, 2023 from 4-7 pm and Friday, November 10, 2023 from 11 am – 1 pm. Funeral services will follow on Friday, November 10, 2023 at 1 pm in the Gentry-Smith Funeral Home chapel. Tim Fisher will officiate. Interment will be in Coleman Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to United Way.

Share memories and condolences at Gentry-Smith Funeral Home, 303 Murfreesboro Rd. Woodbury, TN 37190, 615-563-5337 Because every life has a story.