|Birth: ||Aug. 14, 1917|
|Death: ||Jun. 26, 2006|
Grosse Pointe Farms resident Philip H. Dawson Sr. died Monday, June 26, 2006, at St. John Hospital.
He was born on Aug. 14, 1917, on the family farm near Haven in Reno County, Kan., to Dottie (Laughlin) and William Dawson. He was raised in Hutchinson, Kan., where he would meet his future bride, Bette Tudor Wilson, in grade school. Upon graduation from Hutchinson High School in 1935, Mr. Dawson went to the University of Kansas, where he earned a B.S. degree in business in 1939, a Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) degree in 1942 and a Juris Doctor degree in 1968. While at Kansas, he became a member of Phi Delta Phi, an international legal fraternity.
He also held down several jobs during this time as he worked his way through school, including research assistant in the law school, short-order cook, mortuary assistant and playing drums in a jazz band headed by his brother, David Dawson, that played around the Midwest.
Mr. Dawson married Bette Wilson on Dec. 27, 1941, and soon thereafter, Mr. Dawson enlisted in the U. S. Military to partake in World War II. He took his final law school exams at Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Ill., before attending Officer Candidate School in Ordinance. After receiving his commission, he was stationed in the United States in legal and auditing departments and finally the military intelligence department. His service led eventually to Detroit, where he would make his home after the war and his honorable discharge from the Army. He would retire from the Army Reserves with the final rank of major, General Staff Corps (M.I.).
In 1946, Mr. Dawson became assistant to the president and executive vice president, general counsel, and member of the board of directors of the Vernor's Gingerale Co., where his duties included all phases of corporate counseling. In 1949, he became executive director and general counsel of the Detroit Lumbermen's Association. In 1952, he became executive vice president and general counsel of the F. M. Sibley Lumber Co. He was also involved with several other affiliated companies including several land development, investment and holding companies. In 1963, Mr. Dawson helped liquidate the F. M. Sibley Lumber Co., and formed Sibley Lumber Centers Inc., which he and then later his son, Philip Howard Dawson Jr., operated.
In approximately 1978, Mr. Dawson returned to the practice of law and in 1979 formed a law firm with his younger son, Peter W. Dawson, which is now Dawson and Dawson, P.C. He was primarily engaged in corporate law and was instrumental in forming the Lumber & Building Material Suppliers' Self-Insured Workers' Compensation Fund in 1979 and was its administrator for 28 years, the longest serving administrator of self-insured funds in Michigan. He would be active in his law practice until his death.
Mr. Dawson was involved in numerous civic, educational, political, legal, military, fraternal and religious activities, locally, nationally and internationally. He was an engaging personality and drew in everyone he met. He was well known for his speaking abilities and as a toastmaster at business and fraternal functions.
He was a former member of the Detroit Athletic Club and a member of the Military Order of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Masons and Hoo Hoo International where he was international president. He worked in leadership positions for the Cub and Boy Scouts, the United Way and the YMCA. He was a member and served on the Vestry of Christ Church Grosse Pointe. He was a former member of the Detroit Bar Association and a member of the Michigan Bar, Macomb Bar and the American Bar associations.
Mr. Dawson started the James Barclay Smith Student Loan Fund at the University of Kansas School of Law to commemorate the help he had received from Professor Smith. Mr. Dawson served on the board of trustees of Cleary College (now Cleary University) and was trustee emeritus at the time of his death. He would quietly loan money to young employees of his business interests for college without expectation of being paid back.
Mr. and Mrs. Dawson were very fond of traveling, and traveled around the world to most parts of the globe. Mr. Dawson was interested in film photography and filmed most of his trips in 16 mm. They were married for 63 years before Mrs. Dawson's death in 2004, and had made their home for the last 50 years in the same house in Grosse Pointe Farms.
For the last several years of his life, Mr. Dawson was known for his fortitude in dealing with several health issues and he maintained an indomitable spirit until the end.
He was survived by his three children, Philip Howard Dawson Jr., Mary Jane Dawson and Peter W. (Cathy) Dawson and his grandchildren, Melissa (Rod) Spiegel, Alex Dawson, Kimberly Quasarano, Will, Molly and Emily Dawson.
He was predeceased by his wife, Bette; and his sisters, Florence D. Stark, Frances D. Gorges and Garnetta D. Doherty; and his brother, David W. Dawson.
Bette Tudor Wilson Dawson (____ - 2004)*
Christ Church Grosse Pointe Columbarium
Grosse Pointe Farms
Created by: Twist
Record added: Dec 26, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 82420724
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Added: Apr. 19, 2013