DANIELSVILLE - Okel Dawson, honored World War II Veteran, died peacefully in his sleep at home in Danielsville on Monday, December 29, 2008, of service related causes.
He was 90 years old and happy to spend Christmas with his wife, Gennis Dawson; son, Kerry Dawson, daughter, Marsha Richmond; grandchildren, Danielle Nelson, Jared Dawson and Conor Dawson; great-grandchildren Skyler, Dawson and Taylor Nelson; and a great-grandchild due next summer to Jared and Carla (Piazza) Dawson. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Iva Dawson, as well as sisters, Virginia Westfall and Wanda Dawson. He was born in Upshur County, W. Va. Mr. Dawson joined the US Navy in 1939 and served on the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown helping in supplying wartime Britain. After Pearl Harbor, he went to the Pacific on the USS Cimarron where he was promoted to Chief Petty Officer. Chief Dawson participated in the Halsey-Doolittle, Wake Island and Truk Island Raids, as well as the Guadacanal-Tulagi Landings, the New Georgia Occupation and the Battle of Midway. He also served in the Gilbert, Marshall, Marianna and Palau Operations. On May 15, 1996, he was honored at the Pentagon with a naval citation for service on the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo in April of 1942. After the war, Okel and Gennis Dawson were married in Ohio where he began machine work before the family moved to Homestead, Fla.
Over more than thirty years, Mr. Dawson worked at Homestead Air Force Base, Aerojet General (space program), and retired from International Paper Corporation. After retirement, he worked part time for Southern Packaging until Hurricane Andrew in 1992 caused a move near family in Watkinsville. Gennis continues to reside in Danielsville, attending the Danielsville United Methodist Church, while her great-grandchildren attend public schools in Madison County.
Okel and Gennis Dawson were married for 63 years. He was a dear father and grandfather, a great friend known for gentle ways and entertaining conversation, and a valued colleague who will be missed, loved ones stated.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, May 24, 2009, at the Union Methodist Church in Upshur County, W. Va., with burial in the adjacent Mount Union Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Mount Union Cemetery Fund, c/o J. Tallman, Route 2, Box 271, Buckhannon, WV 26201.