DAWSON, Gerald L. "Jerry", 78, of Lutz, died March 18, 2013, after a 21- year battle with Park- inson's Disease. He was born March 16, 1935, in Goodland, Kansas. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Kansas; an MBA from Michigan State University, and a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He served with the U.S. Navy on active duty for 11 years and in the Naval Reserve for another 15 years and retired as a Captain. In the private sector, Jerry was public relations director for Hercules Inc.,Wilmington, Delaware; Rock Valley College, Rockford, Illinois; and Honeywell Aerospace in Clearwater. In 1975, he became director of public affairs for Tampa Electric Co. and was active in community organizations: the Judeo Christian Clinic, Seniors in Service, Committee of 100, Leadership Tampa, American Marketing Association Tampa, and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Before Parkinson's Disease forced him to retire in the 1990s, he was senior vice president of Investor Relations Consultants (IRC), based in Pinellas County. Jerry is survived by his wife of 53 years, Judy; son Stuart (Joanie) of Tampa; son Christopher and grandson Conner of Minneola, Florida; brothers David (Karen) of Boulder, Colorado; Mark (Marla) of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, sister Ila Little (Charles) of Placitas, New Mexico, and sister-in-law Mary Ann Dawson of Marion, Iowa. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ira and Margery Dawson, brother Sylvan and sister and brother-in-law Beth and Bob Fixsen. The family wishes to thank the USF physicians; the VA Foxtrot Team; the doctors, nurses and ICU staff at Florida Hospital Tampa, Florida Acute Care Hospital at Connerton and Kindred Hospital; the caregivers at Carrollwood Care Center, Accentia and Excel Health and Rehabilitation Centers; the administrator and staff at Shady Palms Assisted Living Facility, the Tampa Parkinson's Support Group and everyone who so kindly visited Jerry during the past year. A memorial service is scheduled at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 501 S. Dale Mabry Hwy, at 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 2, followed by a reception. Interment of ashes with Navy honor guard is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 3, at Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell. Memorial donations may be sent to the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA), Parkinson Plaza, 135 Parkinson Ave., Staten Island, New York 10305. Visit www.blountcurry carrollwood.com for more information and to share personal memories.
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Published in TBO.com on Mar. 31, 2013