Thomas Dean Dawson, of Niles

March 21, 1946 — Oct. 18, 2018

Thomas Dean Dawson, 72, of Niles, died peacefully at 5:03 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, ending a long battle against cancer.

He was born on March 21, 1946, in Dowagiac, to Darwin E. and Myrtle L. (Lohroff) Dawson, and was graduated from Niles High School in 1964. In 1966, he joined the U.S. Army, serving in Vietnam in Troop D of the 3-4 Cavalry 25th Infantry. His unit was highly decorated, including both the Meritorious Unit Citation and the Presidential Unit Citation, as well as recognition by the Republic of Vietnam. Tom was also a highly decorated soldier including the Air Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, and a second Bronze Star award that included both heroism and valor. He was Honorably Discharged as a Sergeant, and Veteran of the Vietnam Era.

Thomas Dean Dawson

Back in Niles, Tom began a career in the electric utilities as a lineman, eventually moving up through the ranks to management. He was employed by the City of Niles Utilities for over 30 years.

Tom attended Summit Church in Niles, was a member of the American Legion Post #51 in Buchanan, and volunteered with the auxiliary units of several area police departments. He enjoyed golfing and bowling in area leagues, visiting the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, and hunting and fishing near Ludington, Michigan. He also enjoyed golfing as a winter resident of Lake Wales, Florida. At home, when not helping friends and neighbors with electrical problems, he could be found watching westerns on television, especially John Wayne, “Bonanza” and “Gunsmoke.” But his greatest interest was his family.

On April 11, 1970, at Saint Mary Catholic Church in Niles he married the former Karen Sue Carpenter with whom he celebrated earlier this year the 48th anniversary of their wedding.

Surviving family includes his wife, Karen Dawson and their children, Gregory Allen (and Susan) Dawson of Niles and Stacie Elaine Dawson of Plymouth, Indiana; grandson Thomas Dunlap; Tom’s siblings, Anne (and Russell) Wychocki of Scottville, Michigan, Jean Perkins of Plainwell, Michigan, and Jim (and Linda) Dawson of Tipton, Indiana; many nieces and nephews; and a wonderful circle of great friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents Darwin and Myrtle Dawson and by Karen’s parents, Clark and Donna Carpenter.

The funeral service for Thomas Dawson will be at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, at the Summit Church, 1700 West River Road in Niles with the Rev. Daniel Miller of the church officiating. Committal services will follow at the Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles and will conclude with the Full Military Honors by the U.S. Army Honor Guard and American Legion Post #51.

The family will receive relatives and friends from 2 until 4 p.m. and 6 until 8 p.m. Monday Oct. 22 at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. Contributions in memory of Tom may be made to the Milano’s Cancer Fund, 215 North Seventeenth Street, Niles, MI 49120. Online condolences may be left at: halbritterwickens.com.

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