Raymond L. Dawson, 66, passed away September 7, 2008.
He was born April 2, 1942, the second of five children born to E.D. Dawson and Hazel Cooper Dawson. His birthplace was St. Louis, Missouri, but he grew to adulthood in Southeast Kansas. He graduated from Chanute High School in 1960, earned a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Tulsa, took postgraduate classes at The Institute of Paper Chemistry and received a Master’s Degree in Chemistry from Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe.
Mr. Dawson’s first fulltime job in the paper industry was as a research chemist at the paper mill in West Monroe, La., now Graphic Packaging International. Throughout his 33-year career at that mill, he saw several name changes and a number of personal job changes, though all of his years there were spent in Research and Development. When he retired in 2004 he was Director of New Product Development.
From 1984 to 1989 Mr. Dawson worked for Mead Paperboard as Manager of Process and Product Development in Atlanta, Ga. When he and his family returned to Monroe, he said the move felt like coming home. The Kansas boy/Louisiana man preferred the small-city environment to the big-city life.
Ray and Janet O’Connor Dawson were married for over 43 years and were blessed by the births of two sons and a daughter. Family life was important to Ray, and he participated in his children’s Boy Scout, church, music and Little League activities. His job responsibilities took him to at least seven foreign countries, though his favorite travels were family vacations to Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. He and Janet also enjoyed trips to England and Canada. During the last 10 years, their longer trips were to Ohio and Florida to visit four of their six grandchildren. Frequent visits from two local granddaughters were highlights of Ray’s life.
Professional organizations in which he actively participated are the American Chemical Society and the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. His volunteer work often made use of his carpentry skills for church projects and set construction at the Monroe Little Theatre. He devoted many hours to working in his church’s annual Pumpkin Patch mission project.
Mr. Dawson was preceded in death by his beloved son, Brian, at age 31.
Surviving Ray are his wife, Janet; mother Hazel Dawson; daughter and son-in-law Wendy and Mike Ford; son and daughter-in-law Matt and Pamela Dawson; grandson Gabriel Dawson; granddaughters Brooklyn and Hannah Dawson, Andrea Dawson, Natalie and Ashlyn Ford; brother-in-law Donald O’Connor; brother Tom Dawson; brother Bill and wife Phyllis Dawson; brother Steven and wife Kathy Dawson; sister Sandra and husband Steve Spitzer; numerous nieces and nephews.
Contributions in Ray Dawson’s memory may be made to the Louisiana Purchase Zoological Society, Monroe, LA 71210.