After more than a decade of heart break from Tennessee football, he had finally had enough. Donald Ray Batson, better known as Don, Donnie Ray, Papaw, Bapi, Sunshine, and even Dapper Don, went through those pearly gates on Friday, February 12, 2021 after a brief battle with cancer and a long battle with losing records.
Don was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 18, 1953, to parents, L.C. and Ruby Batson, but he was raised in Dandridge, Tennessee and was a proud East Tennessean. He was the third child of five and was fiercely protective and loyal to his family. He was married (usually joyfully) for 38 years to his wife, Lynn Harbison Batson, and nothing made him happier than being with his children and grandchildren. He was extremely proud of Josh and Missy, Matt and Kelly, Micah, and Elizabeth and Tyler, but he was downright gleeful seeing his grandchildren, Jordan, Lillyan, Kayle, Sydney, Gavin, Faeryn, Jameson, Peyton, Ellie and Charlotte. Even after ten, he joked that he was still holding hope that one day a grandkid would be named after him.