Lt. Col John W. Dawson, 85, and a highly decorated US Air Force fighter pilot passed away on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:55 PM. He was a native of Vincennes, Indiana and a resident of Prairieville. Visitation will be held at Most Blessed Sacrament Church on Tuesday, February 26 from 9:30 AM until Mass of Christian Burial at 11:30 AM conducted by Father Phil Spano. Interment will follow at Oak Lane Memorial Park with military rites. He is survived by his wife, Nellie O'Brien Dawson; daughters, Dr. Deborah & Phil Troy and Diane (Scotti) & Mike Vermaelen; sons, John & Cindy Dawson, James & Roz Dawson, Joseph Dawson, Esq.; grandchildren, Daniel & fiancé, Allie Pierce, Michael, Jason, Travis & Nicole Vermaelen, William & Christine Troy, Olivia, Connor & Nathan Dawson. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles & Anna Dawson; brothers, Thomas, Joseph & Charles Dawson; sisters, Helen Dawson Kaiser & Mary Lou Dawson Thomas. Pallbearers will be grandsons Michael, Jason, Daniel, Travis, William, Connor, & Nathan. Honorary pallbearers are granddaughters, Christine, Olivia, Nicole, & Allie. John held a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and graduated from many AF training courses. He belonged to 388th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 386th Fighter Pilots Assn., chapter President of Dutch Nelson Chapter, Knights of Columbus, church usher and volunteer. His hobby was Numismatics. Col. Dawson had 30 years of service as an Air Force officer and was a distinguished combat veteran flying fighter jets in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. Col. Dawson was one of the few fighter pilots to introduce the Jet Age by being one of the first F86 pilots, completed more than 1,000 hours in the F100, along with flight time in several other fighter jets. Col. Dawson was the commander in the F4 Phantom Fighter Jet during his combat tour in Vietnam. His awards included 2 Bronze Stars, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 12 Air Force Service medals, the Airman's medal, the Meritorious Service medal and numerous other decorations totaling over 45 medals. Arrangements with Church Funeral Services & Crematory, 225-293-4174, www.churchfuneralservices.com
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Published in The Advocate from Feb. 23 to Feb. 26, 2013