Memorial services for long-time Kodiak resident Doug Dawson will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at the Community Baptist Church, with a repast following in the church basement.
Mr. Dawson, a beloved teacher in the community, died at the home of his niece Roberta and her husband Ronald Blondin on Jan. 17, 2016.
A graveside service was held for Mr. Dawson, but the family decided to delay the community memorial service until Mr. Dawson’s nephew and namesake (Doug Dawson) could be in town. At the time he was going to school in Wisconsin.
Mr. Dawson was born March 2, 1934, in Great Falls, Montana, the second son of Robert and Clara Ellen Dawson. His brothers, Robert Jr. and Hobart Dawson, preceded him in death.
The family came to Kodiak in 1941, where Robert worked as a banker then later retired from the civil service. His wife became a teacher and principal. After the death of her husband, she married Harry Sawyer.
After graduating from Kodiak High School, Doug spent two years in the U.S. Army, serving much of his time in Germany.
Doug attended the University of Montana Missoula, where he was a champion swimmer.
When he returned to Kodiak he was a watchman at the Litnik hatchery on Afognak Island.
Upon graduating from the university, Doug went on a world tour to Europe and the Middle East and his favorite place to visit was Africa. He taught history and social studies for the Kodiak Island Borough School District until his retirement in 1984.
Doug went to Oregon to visit his mother. After her husband died, he took care of her until her death.
Known for his singing and acting talents, Doug sang in the Community Baptist Church choir and was a vocalist at family and community events. He appeared in many community plays. He was perhaps best known for his involvement in the summer drama, “Cry of the Wild Ram.” He took on various parts, including the main character, Baranov.
For much of his life, Doug lived on the backside of Island Lake in an H-frame house that he built with help from his family and friends. Since there was no road in the area, gravel, lumber and other supplies had to be rafted to the site, and in winter the materials were taken across the ice by a vehicle-pulled trailer.
Life took a downward turn for Doug after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and was injured in an auto accident. Yet, he continued to enjoy his family, Ruth said.
Two years ago at a family birthday party, Doug, to the surprise of many, got up and danced with one of Ruth’s sisters.
“He didn’t miss a beat and he looked like he knew exactly what he was doing,” Ruth said.
A man who loved cats, Doug was able to occasionally see his pet (and friend) Zoe during his last days.
After his death, many former students paid tribute to him on Facebook.
“I don’t know if he knew how appreciated he was,” said Ruth.
Preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Mr. Dawson is survived by his sister-in-law, Ruth Dawson, of Kodiak; niece, Roberta (Ronald) Blondin of Kodiak; nephews, Jimmy Dawson and Doug (Priscilla) Dawson of Kodiak; and numerous great nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial tributes be given to the National Parkinson Foundation, 200 SE First Street, Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131.