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Celebrating the life of

David C. Dawson

Passed away on January 21, 2024

David C. Dawson

Dave’s passing comes after 90 full years of living and giving. His life began in New Jersey with parents, Frank, and Margaret Dawson, as the oldest, and brother to Jim. As a young boy, Dave would carry a dictionary with him just to learn new words and ideas. He continued this practice at the dinner table as a father. Dave was so bright and highly motivated as a child; he skipped 2nd grade. This upward trajectory continued, leading him to Cornell University to study Metallurgical Engineering.

Dave was as a born leader. Early to rise, he worked his tail off every day a practice that started in his first job as a teen, washing a fleet of Good Humor trucks. Friends say that he was one in a million and commanded the room. True. Before leading Ray-O-Vac batteries as CEO, Dave led INCO (International Nickel Co.) a Fortune 100 company, for 25 years as the Senior VP. Dave’s success at INCO provided the family a rare opportunity to live in England in Hampstead. From here, he opened the world to his family on trips from White Cliffs of Dover to the Swiss Alps, creating magnificent memories for us all. From INCO to Ray-O-Vac, to speculative research involving spider venom from the Ukraine. He also owned a high-end machine shop. His objective was to remain relevant and engaged in the business community. He was thoroughly invested in the company, nanoMag, which produces a product that may one day prove to be a medical miracle.

Dave’s greatest achievement however was meeting and marrying his beautiful wife, Virginia (Ginny) Smith, from Pittsburgh. They met in Norfolk when Dave was a strapping, charming, and witty Naval Officer. He asked her to the St. Patrick’s Day dance on the base. Ginny mirrored the sparkle in his eyes, a perfect match with a heart of gold, as tough as she is sweet. It took some work, but Dave stole Ginny’s heart and remained devoted to her for 66 wonderful years of marriage and raising four children, (Kathy, Gail, Steve & Mark). Ginny, the rock of the family, supported our father through sickness and in health for many years. Sadly, Mark, the youngest, passed away last year after a prolonged illness. As parents, Dave & Ginny never gave up on their son. Dave excelled at sports, especially golf and tennis as an adult. He enjoyed them immensely. He valued fair competition and lively conversation. Humor or Socratic dialog were two of his favorite ways to engage others and get to know them. You had to be always on your toes. In his prime he loved the ocean and was a body surfing king. At 6’4” it was amazing to watch dad glide effortlessly above the waves. Family members remember beach vacations where Dad had his, bronze tan competitions. Dad usually won with Kathy and Mark tying for second place. Gail and Steve just got burned making them “scarred for life”, lol. Dad was a metals guy after all, so bronze was his color!

After a decade in Philadelphia, in 1989 Dave and Ginny relocated to the Landings, Savannah, where they have spent the last 35 years. They built a charming southern home which became the gathering place where family and friends met for food, conversation, and laughs. Smack talk was encouraged during card games which he won often. In his retirement, Dave was elected President of the Landings Association, and subsequently of the residents’ board at Marshes at Skidaway. As successful as he was at his work, he managed to remain humble. He promised his mother-in-law to always take Ginny to Church and he kept his promise. He volunteered, teaching college students about finances, and the miracle of compound interest, and tutoring young students in math. He was always trying to lift-up other people.

Our father forged meaningful relationships with extended family members and friends. He was an excellent connector and communicator. He was indeed, ‘a beacon of light’ advising those who relied on his sage advice to reach for the stars. He cared more about other people than anyone I’ve ever met, learning the names of everyone who crossed his path to make a personal connection. He was known for advising you people to, “Face your fears.” Even in his final hours he sincerely wanted to know, “How are you doing?” He would write frequent notes of support to encourage those going through tough times.

In case you’re wondering, he kept his sense of humor till the end and died peacefully at home in his bed, which is what we all hoped for and what he wanted. He is no longer suffering, and his soul is free and shining down upon us. He lives within all the lives he touched. If you’re reading this, that means you. We should all strive to be more like Dave. His life inspires us all to keep in touch with loved ones, and to let others know how much they mean to us as often as possible.

Peace & Love, 

Kathy, Gail & Steve



I was very fortunate to have got to meet such a wonderful man. I will take with me forever his great advice! He was a very kind man and he loved his beautiful wife and family so very much. He was so thoughtful and such a smart man. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. My deepest condolences to the family. I was blessed to know him.

- Susan Douglas , Guyton , Ga

Services under the direction of:

Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel