Don Emery Dawson was born on Dec. 31, 1945 in Memphis, Tennessee to Emery Vern Dawson and Francis Snowden. When Don was two months old they headed back to the ranch in Kaycee. After Emery was hurt in a car wreck, Don went to live with his Granddad Earl Dawson and Grandma Jannette Jarrard in Sheridan. When Don was in the second grade he moved back to the ranch and attended Kaycee schools. Don was a member of the Kaycee High School basketball team that won the Wyoming state championship in 1963. This championship was a great source of pride for Don. He spoke of the game, the team and the coach often through his entire life.
He was drafted in 1969 and served in the Vietnam War in 1970 to 1971.
Don was an accomplished pilot. He learned to fly airplanes when he was 17 in Kaycee, purchasing a J3 Cub before he learned to fly. He would fly planes as a commercial crop duster. In the mid 1970s he learned to fly helicopters, eventually obtaining his certification to fly sky crane helicopters. Don flew the majority of his adult life. He did a lot of crop dusting early on in his career and eventually moved on to long line work, moving seismic drills, setting equipment on buildings and logging. In between flying he owned and operated trucks.
He was also an avid racer. He raced drag cars in the 1960s. He raced sprint cars from the mid 1970s until he ran his last sprint car race in 2014 at the age of 68.
On Sept. 29, 2001 he married the love of his life, Linda Dawson. She stood by his side until his last breath. They lived in the southern Iowa countryside. He loved nothing more than being home in the middle of nowhere.
His father and mother precede him in death.
He is survived in death by his wife, Linda Dawson of Corydon, Iowa; her children James Devin, Nicole Devin and Chase Hawk along with seven step-grandchildren; son, Don Dawson II and wife Annette, granddaughters Annie and Haley of Carlisle Iowa, grandson Don Dawson III and wife Anna, two great-grandchildren Riley Dawson and Marshal Dawson of Indianola, Iowa; daughter, Devon Dawson Jackson, grandson Walker Jackson and granddaughter Jordyn Jackson of Idaho Falls, Idaho; stepdaughter Cristina Guarneros of Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
In lieu of flowers and donations, please have a scotch whiskey on the rocks – that’s what Don Dawson Sr would have done!