Half Staff – Donald Dawson

November 25, 2019
Donald Dawson, M.D., passed away peacefully in his home in Rockport on Monday, November 25, at the age of 93. Dr. Donald Dawson was born August 13, 1926 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Jesse Dawson and Mina (Krger) Dawson. He is survived by his son Paul and his daughter Andrea. He is predeceased by his wife Patricia (Powell) Dawson and his son David.

Dr. Dawson’s career in surgery and medical research started with his residency at the University of Chicago, where he was already actively involved in research. After his training, he and his wife Patricia (Pat) moved to Pontiac, Michigan, where his efforts led to major improvements in the heath care of patients and the training of physicians in the region. He opened a medical research lab that supported both the development of new methods of treatments and mentoring of junior investigators to carry the torch for future generations. In the Detroit region, he was integral in the establishment of a consortium of multiple centers with the goal of improving the quality of medical education. He became Director of Medicine and Surgery at the Pontiac State Hospital and Medical Director of the Advanced Medical and Research Lab, which is now a major laboratory for Quest Diagnostics.

In 1980, Dr. Dawson moved with his family to Concord, Massachusetts to coordinate medical efforts in conjunction with Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital. From Massachusetts, he helped form the William Beaumont School of Medicine in Oakland, Michigan, which established the Donald Dawson Medal for medical research in his honor.

Never seeking the limelight, he was a constant promoter of promising young physicians. For many years Dr. Dawson was the lead medical advisor for the Teamsters Union, helping to improve the quality of care for millions of teamsters and their families. His reputation and reach extended to working with Dr. Michael DeBakey and the cardiac surgery team at the Texas Medical Center and with the Nobel Committee in Stockholm.

Dr. Dawson had a talent for pulling together luminaries from across the medical profession to establish very high-level collaborations. For as long as his health permitted, he was a valued consultant and advisor to medical organizations and physicians around the world.

Residents of Rockport since 1990, Donald and Pat found a welcoming community on Cape Ann. Donald’s enthusiasm for history and reading led to a collaboration with Peter Bergholtz on research for Fish, Timber, Granite, and Gold, a book on the stone wall in Cape Ann by Eleanor Parsons. Pat and Donald both loved music and were long time supporters of the Rockport Chamber Music series, and their appreciation for the unique and picturesque Thacher Island lighthouses led them to participate actively in the Thacher Island Association. They were blessed with many warm friendships in all stages of their lives, and the camaraderie they found near their home by the sea was no exception.

There are no formal services at this time. In lieu of sending flowers, please consider donating to the Thacher Island Association PO Box 73 Rockport MA 01966, or on the web at thacherisland.org. Arrangements are by the Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington St. Gloucester. Online condolences may be given at: www.greelyfuneralhome.com