Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Cotton Davidson November 30, 1931 – December 23, 2022

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Cotton Davidson, age 91, of Gatesville passed away to be with our Heavenly Father on Friday, December 23, 2022, in Waco. His beloved wife of 68 years, Carolyn, was at his side.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m., Monday, January 2, 2023, at First Baptist Church in Gatesville, with Rev. Neal Jeffrey of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas officiating. Private family interment will be at Davidson Cemetery, with Dr. Levi Price officiating.

Francis Marion Davidson, otherwise known as “Cotton,” was born on a cattle and goat ranch outside of Gatesville on November 30, 1931. He was the son of the late John Thomas (J.T.) and Alyne Davis Davidson. Cotton was raised in Gatesville and graduated from Gatesville High School in 1949. He attended Baylor University, where he played football and met Carolyn Mabery. He graduated from Baylor in 1954 and married Carolyn on June 5, 1954.

Cotton Davidson loved Coryell County, his football and coaching career. Because of his career, he was forced to leave his hometown, but always returned knowing that this is where he was happiest. His career led to many accomplishments and achievements, but none were valued greater than his family. His wife Carolyn supported and followed him through his career with their family. He was drafted in the first round of the 1954 NFL Draft to the Baltimore Colts, where he played quarterback and punter. Shortly after, he was drafted into the United States Army, where he would receive the All-Army Quarterback in 1955. He briefly returned to the Baltimore Colts, to find friend Johnny Unitas in his stead, so he joined the Calgary Stampede with the Canadian Football League. Following Calgary, he coached at Baylor University for one year, played quarterback for the Dallas Texans for two, and found a home with the Oakland Raiders for seven years. He played for the AFL All-Stars in 1961 and 1963 and was the AFL All-Star Game MVP in 1961. After his career as a professional football player, Cotton returned to Baylor University to become an Offensive Coach for 21 years.

Cotton was a great man of great faith.  He was a former member and Deacon of First Baptist Church and a faithful member of Pecan Grove Baptist Church. He was an advocate of the Boys and Girls Club of Gatesville, where he served on the Board of Directors for many years. He never missed any of his twelve grandchildren’s sporting events, whether home or away, and found his utmost joy in family. Cotton is remembered by loved ones for his kindness, former players for his fairness, and fans by his tight spiral.

He was preceded in death by his parents, J.T. and Alyne Davidson; son, Dr. Tommy Davidson; and brother, Hyram Davidson.

Cotton is survived by his wife, Carolyn Davidson; children Kelly Wood and husband, Dr. E. Greg Wood III, Tracy Sage and husband, Randy, Dr. Ty Davidson and wife, Samantha; daughter-in-law, Nina Davidson; sisters Anita Carr and Sandra Robinson; twelve grandchildren, Dr. Casey Davidson and wife, Ericka, Claire Bostic and husband Gable, Will Davidson and wife Jasmine, Carolyne Richtarsic and husband Jon, Marion Wise and husband Neal, Gene Wood and wife Anne Clark, Cal Sage, Kelsey Sage and spouse Natalie Gonzalez, Suzannah Sage, Nate Davidson, Ruby Davidson and Stella Davidson; ten great-grandchildren Lily Davidson, Kate Davidson, Collins Davidson, Rebecca Richtarsic, Charles Richtarsic, Mabery Wise, Carolyn Wise, Louis Wise, Davie Sage and Patrice Davidson.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be directed to the Boys and Girls Club of Gatesville, 2533 E. Main Street, Gatesville, TX 76528, or Pecan Grove Baptist Church, 1110 Old Fort Gates Rd., Gatesville, TX 76528.