Navy 06

Thomas F. Dawson Sr.

December 11, 1930 ~ February 10, 2020 (age 89)

Obituary Image

Obituary

Thomas F. Dawson Sr., 89, of Carteret Landing, Morehead City, NC passed away peacefully on Monday, February 10, 2020, at Carteret Health Care.  

His funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, February 17, 2020, at Munden Funeral Home in Morehead City, NC. Interment will follow at Gethsemane Memorial Park. At 1 p.m., lunch will be available at Munden Funeral Home, catered by Tom’s favorite- Smithfield's Chicken & Bar-B-Que.The family will receive friends from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Monday, February 17, 2020, at Munden Funeral Home.  

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, he was the son of the late John Edward Dawson and Maymie Louise Jones of Jasper and Marion county, Tennessee.

Tom graduated with honors from Oceana High School, Virginia Beach, Virginia (1949), subsequently joined the navy- fire control technician on the USS Salem 1949-53 (Korean War).  After the navy, Tom earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from  Virginia Tech (formerly Virginia Polytechnic Institute )in Blacksburg, VA.  His professional career began at Cherry Point, NC during the 1950’s as a flight test engineer.  In 1959, the family moved  to Long Island, New York where he was employed as an Aircraft Flight Test Engineer for high performance military aircraft for Hazeltine Corporation.

Tom and Barbara  lived in numerous states during their 53 years of marriage including Pasadena, CA (Jet Propulsion Lab), Cape Canaveral, Florida and then resided in Millis, Massachusetts for 30 years.  He was employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA;  Center for Space Research, Laboratory for Nuclear Science and C.S. Draper Laboratories.  The focus of much of Tom’s professional career was on interplanetary probes and plasma instrumentation in spacecraft environments.  The plasma experiment which he developed was launched aboard Pioneer 6 in 1965 which still sends back information to scientists from the outer reaches of the solar system.   The Voyager II was a special mission because his plasma experiment visited four planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. His experiments flew on many other spacecrafts  including Mariner Mars, Pioneer, Apollo, SAS, OSO. During his time at CS Draper Labs in Cambridge, MA. Tom was involved in the transfer of inertial guidance technology for Trident and MX Peacekeeper Missiles.

Tom’s biography has been included in science textbooks and Who’s Who of Engineering.  He has several publications and patents and has been the recipient of many scientific awards, honors and fellowships.    He was one of the founding members of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) in the late 1970’s,  and has held positions of past President, Chairman Emeritus, Winds  of Change magazine, and was a long time Sequoyah Fellow in the organization which promotes STEM education among Native American students. 

Tom was an avid fisherman and spent his retirement years fishing and hunting with friends while accumulating many trophy catches and good eats.  His highlight was catching a trophy  96” sailfish and 116” live marlin during a fishing trip to Costa Rica.  He also enjoyed gardening, telling fishing stories and watching outdoor shows on TV. He and his fishing stories will be missed. 

He is survived by his children, Dr. Linda J Dawson of Chapel Hill, NC and  Thomas F Dawson Jr. and wife Sharon of Holly Springs, NC;  grandchildren, Rebecca and Zachary Dawson,  Eric McGorrill-Glass, Jessica Glass, Sarah Glass and  John Glass; and several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his wife, Barbara Barbee Dawson; oldest daughter, Sheryl A Dawson; and his brother Edward M. Dawson.

Memorial donations may be made in Tom’s name to the American Heart Association at P.O. Box 744806, Atlanta, GA 30374 or the American Diabetes Association at 2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 900, Arlington, VA 22202 or the charity of your choice. 

Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at www.mundenfuneralhome.net

Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home and Crematory in Morehead City, NC. 

 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas F. Dawson Sr., please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Monday
February 17, 2020

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Munden Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc.
2112 Arendell Street
Morehead City, NC 28557

Funeral Service
Monday
February 17, 2020

11:00 AM
Munden Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc.
2112 Arendell Street
Morehead City, NC 28557

Interment Following Funeral Service
Monday
February 17, 2020

Gethsemane Memorial Park
700 Highway 24
Newport, NC 28570

Reception Following Interment

Munden Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc.
2112 Arendell Street
Morehead City, NC 28557

Donations

American Heart Association
P. O. Box 744806, Atlanta GA 30374-4806
Web: https://donatenow.heart.org

American Diabetes Association
2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 900, Arlington VA 22202
Tel: 1-800-342-2383
Web: https://donations.diabetes.org/site/Donation2?df_id=21207&mfc_pref=T&21207.donation=form1&s_src=AAP1

© 2020 Munden Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc.. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use