Dr James Ira Dawson

Dr James Ira Dawson

Birth
Death 8 Dec 2009 (aged 84)
Burial Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama, USA
Memorial ID 62843189 · View Source
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Dr. James I. Dawson

(01/14/1925 - 12/08/2009)

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing."

- 2 Timothy 4: 7-8

On Tuesday evening, December 8, 2009, God's work was manifested in the weather and in the life of Dr. James Ira Dawson. It was on this stormy evening that God saw fit to call His mighty servant home. It was not an accident that God made this call on a stormy night in that the life and legacy of Dr. James Ira Dawson was all about championing storms for others. He was a voice of equality and justice for all. He spoke when no one else would speak; stood when no one else would stand; and fearlessly took the road less traveled. He calmed many raging storms in the lives of countless and defenseless individuals.

Dr. James Ira Dawson was born the third child of four children to the parentage of the late Jesse and Charlotte Vann Dawson on January 14, 1925, in Pike County, Alabama. All of his siblings–Minnie Dukes (Elkie), Thomas Edwards Dawson (Betty), and Johnny Lee Dawson (Mary Liza)–preceded him in death.

At an early age, he confessed hope in Christ and joined Kings Chapel AME Church in Luverne, Alabama. He attended Helicon High School and received his high school diploma. In 1953, he earned the B.S. degree in Agriculture from Alabama A&M College, Normal, Alabama. He continued his education at Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama, and received the M.Ed degree in Agriculture. He was the first African-American to receive the Ph.D. degree in Agriculture from Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania. Later, he earned an A.S. degree in Mortuary Science from Jefferson State Community College, Birmingham, Alabama. He served in the U.S. Army, where he fought in World War II. His decorations included three Battle Stars, a Presidential Citation and a Good Conduct Medal. He earned an honorable discharge on February 3, 1946.

Upon establishing permanent residency in Huntsville, Alabama, he and his wife, Gloria, united with St. John's AME Church, under the pastoral leadership of Dr. Homer L. McCall. While at St. John's, he served as a Steward and prayer warrior. Later, they joined Union Chapel Missionary Baptist Church under the pastoral leadership of Dr. O. Wendell Davis, where he attended faithfully until his health failed and prevented him from active service.

As an educator and administrator, his professional experiences included Associate Dean, School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and founding Administrator of 1890 Programs with the Cooperative Extension Service of Alabama A&M University; Department Chairperson and Professor of graduate and undergraduate courses in Agribusiness Education, Educational Statistics and Educational Research at Alabama A&M University; Science and Mathematics Teacher at Helicon High School in Grady, Alabama, and Crenshaw County Training School in Luverne, Alabama; Veteran's Coordinator, Butler County City Government, Greenville, Alabama; and Vocational Agriculture Teacher at Mulberry Heights High School in Elba, Alabama. Additionally, he was a successful entrepreneur and businessman. Moreover, Dr. Dawson wrote numerous articles and papers for publication in professional journals. While teaching the graduate course Educational Statistics and Educational Research, he started writing his Educational Statistics book.

He was a member of several professional organizations and served as a consultant and evaluator for numerous 1890 land-grant institutions, Cooperative Extension and Cooperative State Research Programs throughout the United States. Furthermore, in the political arena, some of his extensive service included District 1 Representative on the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education (elected five times); Board of Directors, Alabama Democratic Party; Member, New South Coalition; Past Chairperson, Huntsville-Madison County Democratic Conference, member, National Committee to re-elect Bill Clinton for President, and Past President of the Huntsville-Madison County NAACP.

His social, civic and community activities and affiliations were numerous and legendary in the Huntsville-Madison County Community. He served as a member of the following organizations: Huntsville Manpower Planning Council, American County Life Association, Huntsville Model Cities, North Alabama Rural Development Council, National Education Association, Alabama Education Association, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.

In recognition of his service to humanity, he received scores of plaques, citations and commendations. Some of his most treasured awards and recognitions include Resolution HJR77, passed by the Alabama House of Representatives on April 25, 1991, naming the three-story Cooperative Extension Building at Alabama A&M University the "James I. Dawson Cooperative Extension Building"; Presidential Appointment- appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton via the Secretary of Agriculture to serve as one of five state committee persons to administer USDA Policy regarding the crop, livestock, and Farm Loan Program in Alabama; and the naming of the J.O. Johnson High Auditorium in Huntsville, Alabama, in his honor.

He leaves to cherish his memories a devoted and loving wife, Gloria Carlean Dawson, of Huntsville Alabama; a caring and committed daughter, Delarise Hamilton (Larry), Huntsville, Alabama; a doting and dutiful granddaughter, Angela "Angie" Wilkins (Mark), Meridianville, Alabama; three darling great-grandchildren, Mariah Janae, Myles James and Melanie Jade Wilkins, Meridianville, Alabama; loyal and dedicated surrogate son and daughter, Erskine L. and Georgia S. Valrie, Huntsville, Alabama; two adorning and caring goddaughters, Kimberly Fails Jones and Gayle McCall, Huntsville, Alabama; long-time and faithful friends, Frederick and Nell Carodine, Huntsville, Alabama, and a host of nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

Funeral services for Dr. James I. Dawson held at the Union Chapel Missionary Baptist Church with Reverend Dr. O. Wendell Davis officiating. Entombment in Valhalla Memory Gardens.


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  • Created by: MissPat
  • Added: 12 Dec 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 62843189
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr James Ira Dawson (14 Jan 1925–8 Dec 2009), Find A Grave Memorial no. 62843189, citing Valhalla Memory Gardens, Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama, USA ; Maintained by MissPat (contributor 46913481) .