Don was born on September 8th in Long Beach, CA to parents, Roy Lynn and Marjorie Dougherty Dawson. He was the oldest of three brothers. Don’s family moved to Santa Maria briefly, where he met several of his closest friends, remaining so for the rest of his life. Eventually settling in Glendale, Don attended Hoover High School, where he was elected Student Body Vice-President, and won All-League honors in football and baseball. His athletic skill earned him a scholarship to Stanford University, where he also excelled in both sports before graduation in 1959.
Don moved to Hawaii in the early 1960’s where he worked in the insurance division of Alexander and Baldwin. In 1972 Don partnered with Bert Chambers to start their own insurance company, Dawson and Chambers, Ltd. While in Hawaii, Don enjoyed many activities including surfing, cycling, hiking, camping, running, playing and coaching soccer, and woodworking. He was an active member of Metropolitan Rotary – Honolulu and Kokan through which he was involved in many service projects that remain today.
In 1997, Don moved to Santa Barbara, California where he continued his love of woodworking and carpentry (hand building his own house), and expanded his interest in all things Western (even Dutch oven cooking). One of Don’s favorite memories was traveling in 1984 with brother Rodger to Greece where they climbed to the top of Mt. Olympus. Don was a board member and docent at the Santa Barbara Carriage Museum and a director and past president of the Will James Society and a parishioner / lector at Trinity Church.
Don rode off into the sunset on August 16th, 2010. He is survived by his wife and sweetheart of fifteen years, Nollie Lei Hoopii Dawson and two brothers: Rodger Dawson of Santa Barbara, CA and Christopher Dawson of Denver, CO. He is also survived by two children from a former marriage: son, Mark Dawson (Lori), of Danville, CA. and daughter, Starr (Ian) McLaughlin of Santa Rosa, CA. Don has five grandchildren: Lia, Jared, and Hallie Dawson and Sam and Charlie McLaughlin.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, September 24th at Trinity Church, 1500 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA. Another private service will be held on Monday, September 27th at the Waioli Tea Room in Honolulu. A memorial gift may be made in Don’s name to either:
Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care Foundation
222 E. Canon Perdido Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
The Will James Society (see willjames.org)
c/o Nollie Lei Dawson, Treasurer
424 Mountain Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93103-1735