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Life Story / Obituary
Michael Dawson was a big man with a quiet spirit. He was patient and calm, clear-thinking and plain-speaking. Though completely satisfied in his career path, he was most happy in his family life. He was dependable and strong, helpful and well-liked. His guileless nature and loving heart made Michael a friend to all and an enemy of none. His very presence brought peace and joy to those around him.
Michael was the oldest child in his family, and he grew up with his grandparents Mable and Lucious Dawson in Arkansas. By the time he entered high school he had become a resident of Michigan and played football for Saginaw High School, graduating in 1969. At 6’3” with a body-builder’s physique, Michael was an imposing force on defense and played later in college. He attended Central Michigan University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology. During his time at CMU, Michael played football first as a walk-on but then he was awarded a scholarship, making his time at university all the better. He was proud to be a CMU Chip (Chippewa) and a lifelong supporter of the university.
Finding work at a nuclear plant in Midland meant job security for Michael, because in 1984 he transferred to a plant in South Haven. He was accomplished in his profession and eager to go to work every day, most recently as Senior Technical Instructor. Though his work at the plant was all-consuming, Michael still helped raise his daughters, Tara and Sarah. He attended their soccer games, took them to movies and showed that he had some skill in the kitchen. He liked to make tacos, and his spicy chili was the best!
For a football jock to take up golf might seem paradoxical, but approximately 18 years ago Michael played his first game and was hooked. From then on, golf was his sport. It seemed to come naturally to him because he never took a lesson, and whereas some golfers frustrate over their level of play, Michael found the game completely relaxing.
Trending with the 21st century mode of dating, Michael met Tracy online in the summer of 2012. They arranged to meet at Applebee’s restaurant and both concluded that it was a great date. They made an instant connection, which may seem either ironic or complementary since he was so quiet and she was very talkative. As their relationship grew into love and commitment, Michael enjoyed a happiness he had not known before. He felt blessed and content to share his life with Tracy, and on September 14, 2013 they made their vows at Western Michigan University. The newlyweds didn’t take a honeymoon but (fittingly) they both golfed as much as they could. When he married Tracy, Michael entered a busy household with her two daughters and was very helpful in driving the girls wherever they needed to go. His gentle spirit had a calming influence on all those around him.
Michael played in two golf leagues, The Beaches in Benton Harbor and Hawks Head in South Haven, but when he sold his place and moved into Tracy’s home in Kalamazoo, the two of them became members at the Prairies Golf Course. Besides golf, Michael was a loyal fan of the Detroit Lions and every-so-often he scratched a lotto ticket and liked to play the slots at Firekeepers Casino. Michael remained a staunch advocate of education and even in retirement, he continued his own studies. By word and example, Michael was a great teacher and he touched many lives with his love and care.
Throughout his adult life, Michael maintained his work and recreational activities though he had diabetes and heart ailments. It was while he was playing the sport he loved that he suffered a massive heart attack and died on the Prairies Golf Course. According to his family, “He would have wanted it that way.”
Michael Dawson passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, May 2, 2015. He is survived by his wife of 2 years, Tracy Dawson and her daughters Danielle Dantzler and Morgan Dantzler; his 2 daughters: Tara Geiger and Sarah Dawson; 3 grandchildren: Maija Ewing, Aidan Ewing and Laila Gist; his mother: Bertha Lee; siblings: Risa (Cliff) West, Albert (Bonnie) Brooks, Robert Brooks, and Elder Richard Brooks. He was preceded in death by his father and first wife Angela Dawson. We are in the process of establishing a scholarship in his name we will share the information when this endeavor is completed.