On January 23, 1932, Dorothy Ann Morton was born to Bowlin and Frances Morton in Manchester Tennessee. There she grew up enjoying the company of her sister, cousins, and friends. She attended the Manchester City School for the first half of the year. The family would winter in Mt. Dora, Florida where she completed the school year. In high school, Dot was active in the band playing saxophone and serving as a majorette. Some of her happiest times were spent playing basketball as a guard with the Manchester Lady Raiders. She was named to the All District team. The most exciting time during high school happened when her brother, George “G.B.” Bowlin Morton, Jr. was born.
Dot attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri where she earned an associate’s degree. After graduation she returned to Tennessee. She lived in Nashville where she modeled and worked for Rule Construction Company. When Rule got the contract to build Arnold Center, her office was located at William Northern Field. It was during this period that she met her eventual life partner, Bob Couch, son of Laughlin and Anabel Couch. They were married on June 15, 1953. While remaining loyal to her Manchester roots, she quickly embraced married life. She joined First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where she sang in the choir, taught Sunday School, was active in the Rebecca Thompson Circle, and served as Deacon. To get better acquainted with the women of Tullahoma, she was a member of the Tullahoma Junior Woman’s Club and later the Tullahoma Woman’s Club. Bob was active in the American Legion and she joined the American Legion Auxiliary. Bob was known for his love of the Tullahoma Rotary Club, and he made Dot a Paul Harris Fellow. They attended conventions associated with all these organizations and had many wonderful times.
Daughters Fran and Candy joined the family. Dot stayed at home during their earliest years. When they were both in school, she went to work for ARO, Inc. at Arnold Center. She worked in personnel and composing. In 1967, Bob’s father died unexpectedly. Dot joined Bob in the family business, Couch’s, and they worked side by side until Bob’s health failed in 2012. They celebrated over 61 years of marriage. During that time, they were honored to be the Grand Marshals of the Tullahoma Christmas Parade and to be featured on the Nashville Public Television show, “Tennessee Crossroads.” In 1994, Dot was recognized as Outstanding Civic Woman by the Tullahoma Business and Professional Woman’s Club. They enjoyed supporting the Historical Society of Tullahoma, the Bedford County Historical Society, the Coffee County Historical Society, the Tullahoma Camera Club, the Tullahoma Fine Arts Center, South Jackson Civic Center, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Hospice of the Highland Rim, Tullahoma High School, its music, theater, and athletic programs, and the Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, they loved welcoming people to Tullahoma whether they were tourists or new residents.
While they valued these organizations and related activities, the family was always their priority. They were great role models in showing devotion to their parents and aging relatives. They always supported their daughters, son-in-law, and grandson in their life journeys.
Dot was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Bob Couch; his parents, Laughlin and Anabel Couch; her parents, Bowlin and Frances Morton; sister-in-law, Searcy Couch Hopkins; brothers-in-law, G. C. King, Diemer L. Smartt, Thomas A.A. Hopkins; niece, Searcy Dianne King. She is survived by her daughters, Candy Couch and Fran Couch Gray; son-in-law, Jon Gray; grandson and wife, Jacob and Cindy Gray; sister, Martha Morton Smartt; brother and sister-in-law, G. B. and Ellen Morton; brother-and sister-in-law, Tom and Dot Couch Watson; nieces and spouses, Kenny and Nancy King Phillips; Bill and Marilyn Hopkins Phillips; Leo and Teresa Smartt Barrett; Dave and Mary Beth Gass; Matt and Andrea Morton Crompton; nieces, Kathryn Hopkins, Anabel Watson Hobbs; nephews and spouses, George and Tammy Smartt; Keith and Marlene Smartt; 27 great nephews and nieces; and special friend, Blanche McClure.
The family will receive guests on Wednesday from 5 PM until 8 PM in the chapel of Daves-Culbertson Funeral Home, 401 North Jackson Street, Tullahoma. The funeral service will be held at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), corner of Jackson and Grundy Streets at 6 PM on Thursday with interment to follow at Rose Hill Memorial Gardens.
If desired, donations may be made to Alzheimer’s Tennessee, P.O. Box 1373, Tullahoma, TN 37388; First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), P.O. Box 606, Tullahoma, TN 37388; or a charity of choice.