On December 31, 2020, Elmer George Dawson, surrounded by his children, was released from the confines of this world into the arms of his Savior, Jesus, no longer tethered to oxygen tubing and struggling to breathe.
What can we say about our Dad, Elmer Dawson? We could lay out the timeline of when he was born, when he was married, and where he worked. But it may paint a better picture just to tell you about the man we called Dad.
To say Dad was a social butterfly would be a complete understatement. He could literally go anywhere and talk to anybody, usually with a beer in hand! He loved to tell jokes and stories, and each time the stories were told the details grew and became even larger than life!
Dad was quite worldly for a country boy, born December 7, 1938 on the family farm in Athens, WI. He proudly served in the Army until honorably discharged April 26, 1963 at a rank of Sergeant (T) E5. He would always say "I was one of those crazies that jumped out of a perfectly good airplane!". While serving in Korea, Dad met our mother. She did not speak English, so he needed to learn to speak Korean to communicate, and he did so quite fluently. They married in Korea and in the early '60s, they returned to America, back to his home in Athens. Dad was a hard worker and had many different jobs over the course of his life, but he spent the bigger portions of his life as an over the road semi driver and farmer. Even into his later years, the farmer in him was still shining through in his amazing vegetable gardens that produced an over-abundance. If you haven’t ever tasted ground cherries...you definitely should!
In his younger days, Dad was a fabulous dancer! I remember dancing with him, not knowing the steps, yet still knowing exactly where to go because of his lead. That dancing ability spilled over to roller skating. The first time we saw him on a pair of skates, it was like he was walking on air!
Dad was the original Dr. Dolittle. He had a kind and gentle heart, and he really could talk to the animals. When he farmed, he called to the cattle out in the pasture and they obediently came to his voice; he was their advocate for compassionate treatment. He loved the flocks of birds, which he religiously fed, and called some of them by name, like Petey, the Pileated Woodpecker. On a daily basis, there were more hummingbirds than you could count, darting around his feeders. His latest animals were two tiny unwanted kittens that were dumped off in the country, who luckily had found their way to Dad's house. He took them in, named them Simon Slick and Gray Boy and cared for them the way a pet should be...deeply loved and very well fed!
Being an avid sportsman, Dad especially enjoyed hunting and fishing and continued for as long as the limitations of his body would allow. A favorite hunting spot was Tripoli, where he took many people and taught them the ropes of deer hunting. There are numerous antler mounts on his walls, the result of many successful deer hunting seasons. In the spring of the year, when the suckers were running, you would find Dad at Rib Falls, having a blast! If you knew Elmer Dawson, you more than likely experienced his fish patties, pickled fish or canned suckers that tasted just like salmon! Taking it one step further, perhaps you were even right beside him, up to your elbows in Red Horse or Buffalo suckers making these "delicacies".
Dad loved playing cards and cribbage was a favorite. There is a long list of people he taught to play his favorite game. Along with learning to play the game were often other lessons along the way. One very poignant lesson was to move on after the death of someone you love. It's OK to be sad for a while, but then remember that you are not the one who died, you are still alive and you need to live. This lesson, coming from a man who spent over twenty years tethered to oxygen tubing 24/7! Dad always made the best of the cards he was dealt.
We would like to thank Dick and Janice Hawley, Lay Ministers at St. Peter Lutheran Church, who provided spiritual care as well as genuine friendship to Dad. Also a special thank you to Brittany Solt for the compassionate care she provided for Dad over the last couple of years. Brittany always went above and beyond the responsibilities of a home health aide; she truly cared. Lastly, we would like to thank the many generous and caring neighbors and friends in the Little Chicago and extended area who became more like family to Dad over the years.
Elmer George Dawson was preceded in death by his parents: Sidney Dawson and Flora Mae (Coon) Dawson: brothers Martin Dawson, Tom Dawson, Lawrence (Bill) Dawson; sisters: Marcella Bunkelman, Marion Hoffman, Lillian (Susie) Frahm, Winifred Klimpke. Elmer is survived by three sisters: Arlene (Toddy) Stahnke, Darlene Abbengen and Shirley Rose as well as his loving family whom he was extremely proud of. His three children: Marilyn Dawson (Daniel Wolfgram), James (Caryn) Dawson, Glen (Virginia) Dawson; grandchildren Benjamin Bedroske, Emily (Ian) Zimmermann, Nicholas Bedroske, Jimmy Dawson, Alexa Dawson, Sierra Dawson, Chaz Dawson, Asher Dawson; great-grandson Finneas Zimmermann.
A memorial tribute will be planned for a later date. Elmer Dawson will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him, but always remember to make the best of the cards you are dealt!
To send flowers to Elmer's family, please visit our floral store.