He was born on Nov. 23, 1916, in rural St. Paul to Jonas and Pauline (Holtz) Dawson. As a young boy, he grew up in the St. Paul and Galesburg areas.
During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Alaska and other posts.
For nearly 28 years, he was employed by the city of Erie as a stationary diesel engines operator, retiring in 1981. After retirement, he served many years as a school crossing guard, 26 years as a volunteer at the Erie Senior Citizen Center, where he also served as board member, and in earlier years had served as a volunteer fireman for the city of Erie.
He was a member of First Christian Church in Erie, a 64-year member of the George L. Hendricks American Legion Post No. 102 and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He also had served as commander of Post 6976 of the VFW and on the Neosho County Republican Committee.
He married Oda Mary Newberry on Jan. 21, 1942, in Erie. The couple had lived in Erie since marriage until moving to Prairie Mission Retirement Village apartments 3 1/2 years ago. She preceded him in death on June 26, 2010.
His family was his life. He especially enjoyed his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and was so excited with the birth of each great-great-grandchild. He enjoyed gardening with them, building with them and being a best friend to them. He and Oda enjoyed fishing in their early years and senior dancing in their later years. He was an avid gardener and received great enjoyment in sharing his orchard with all.
Survivors include four daughters, Mary Jane Whelan of rural St. Paul, Billie Jones and her husband, Don, of Olathe, Wanda Cooper and her husband, Dale, of Deer Park, Texas, and Shirley Green and her husband, Jery, of Erie; 14 grandchildren, Lisa Osment, Jackie Harmon, Bryan Whelan, Teresa Gharst, Stephanie Stan, Sunnie Jones, Betty Bacon, Jeffery Cooper, Desiree Siens, Bryan Janssen, Kimberly Mann, Scott Green, Cheynet McGuire and Doug Green; 34 great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews and great-great-nieces and nephews.
In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by two brothers, Arthur and Leo Dawson; four sisters, Josephine Morris, Nettie Pierce, Emma Nelson and an infant sister, Mabel Elizabeth; a granddaughter, Michelle Harmon; and a son-in-law, Jack Whelan.
The graveside service will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Lakeview Cemetery near Erie. The family will receive friends from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday at Prairie Mission Retirement Village Chapel in St. Paul.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Faith’s Hope Fund and may be left at or mailed to Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 374, Parsons, 67357.
Online condolences may be left at www.forbeshoffman.com.