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Donald Edwin (Don) Dawson


1920 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Donald Edwin (Don) Dawson Obituary
February 8, 1920 - September 8, 2017 A resident of Manhattan Beach (1941-1965) and Palos Verdes Estates (1965-2017). Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Don moved to Pasadena, California, as a youngster with his parents, Robert Edwin Dawson, a businessman who later became mayor, and Grace Strickler Dawson, an accomplished poet and writer, along with his older brother, Robert Strickler Dawson. In 1941, fresh out of Cal Tech (California Institute of Technology), graduating in engineering (electrical), he launched his career at North American Aviation as an industrial engineer. That same year he married Juliana (Judy) Woodward. He rose through North American to become a special assistant to the vice president of marketing and planning. In 1968 he joined longtime friend, Ray Quigley, as a partner in his company South Bay Engineering, a civil engineering firm located in Palos Verdes. In 1979, parallel to SBE, they created Quid, a commercial real estate development partnership that successfully lasted until it was dissolved in 2016. Don was involved in numerous other successful business ventures throughout his life. He was most proud, however, of his civic endeavors: as a trustee for the Manhattan Beach Elementary School District (1954-1960), and as a trustee and a chairman of the board for the Palos Verdes Library District (1983-1987) at the time of the construction of the new Peninsula Center branch. His interests were wide and disparate, participating as a member, advocate and/or financial supporter of numerous organizations which variously focused on community, the arts, education, and the conservation of land and wildlife. At the age of 50 he took up flying and, with a single engine Cessna, he and his wife Judy flew together on adventures throughout the States, including Alaska, extensively into Mexico, and even as far as the Bahamas. He loved sharing the joy of flying with friends, taking them up for an aerial view of their home territory or on trips to far flung destinations. He also shared his passion by offering flights to several charities as a silent auction item. He was a member of the UFOs (United Flying Octogenarians) and continued to fly into his 90s. He found kindred spirits in the Del Amo Flyers, a flying club based out of the Torrance Airport. He also flew for Angel Flight and Flying Samaritans, organizations that use private pilots for charitable medical missions. He was also an avid tennis player, playing until age 92, and was a member and board member of the Palos Verdes Tennis Club. Sailing, boating and water skiing, hiking, photography, and gardening were also among his many interests. He was a member and moderator of the Manhattan Beach Community Church, and later, a member of the Pacific Unitarian Church in Palos Verdes. He played the guitar and sang continually as he moved about the day, from Western ballads to the standards. With his engaging, agile mind, his generous heart, and adventurous spirit, he made many friends and was heartily admired and adored. He was 97 1/2, predeceased by his wife of 63 years, Juliana (Judy) Woodward Dawson, his son Terrell Edwin Dawson, his parents, Robert E. and Grace S. Dawson, and his brother Robert S. Dawson and his wife Judith. He will be greatly missed by his daughter, (Claire) Cameron Wolfe and her husband Dan Love of Denver, his extended family of nieces and nephews, and his many grand- and great-grandnieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, you are invited to donate to Peninsula Friends of the Library (www.pvldfriends.org/donate), indicate "In Memory of Don Dawson." Or, Peninsula Friends of the Library, PO Box 2361, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274. For details contact [email protected] or 303 816 5927.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Oct. 13 to Oct. 15, 2017
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