Francis E. Dawson, 93, of Heyworth, passed away at 7:21 p.m. Saturday (May 14, 2016) at his home.
His graveside service will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Hopewell Cemetery, Downs, with grandson, Minister Eric Anderson, officiating. Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home, Bloomington, is assisting the family with arrangements.
Memorials may be made to Sound of Illinois Chorus or Community Cancer Center.
Francis was born April 11, 1923, in Farmer City, a son of J. Lester and Merna Reed Dawson. He married Velma "Mickey" Sisco on Nov. 25, 1979.
Surviving are his wife, Mickey Dawson, Heyworth; children, Lester Dawson, Colorado; Jimmy Dawson, Penny Magacimo and Sherrilyn Dawson, all of California; Karen Ergun, Georgia; Lynda Dawson, Oklahoma; and Dennis Dawson, California; brother and sister-in-law, Sandy and Martie Sisco; cousin, Vernelle Nixon (100 years old), Farmer City; and his many loving grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, J. Lester and Merna Dawson; brother, J. Ralph Dawson; and sister, Marjorie West.
Francis was a general contractor by trade. He started at an early age, being taught by his father. He worked alongside his father and with his brother for many years. The current Dawson Addition in Clinton was planned and developed in the late 1940s and early ’50s by J.L. Dawson and Sons.
Francis moved to southern California, building a thriving contracting and restoration business. He enjoyed all aspects of contracting, from design through completion. He especially enjoyed working with his customers, becoming long-time friends with many of them. While living in southern California, he worked with Navajo children, instructing them in contracting skills, and a few of the students went on to work for Francis. He also had his own bowling team for a few years.
After retiring, Francis and his wife, Mickey, returned to Illinois in 1996, to be close to relatives and childhood friends.
In 1996, Francis joined the Sound of Illinois Barbershop Chorus, which will sing at his funeral. His association with the dedicated singers provided some of his most enjoyable moments. In 2001, he was voted "Barbershopper of the Year" in addition to serving as Sunshine chairman.
Francis loved life to the fullest and will be remembered for his sunny disposition and ever-present smiles, jokes and the love he had for his devoted wife, Mickey. He and wife, Mickey, cherished doing everything together side-by-side, having a truly remarkable love story. They loved spending time with their children and grandchildren. He will be greatly missed by all who loved him and by his many treasured friends. He was a people person as evidenced by the many people he made friends with everywhere he went.
Condolences and memories of Francis may be left for the family at kiblerbradyruestman.com.