John E. Dawson, 90, passed away Nov. 20, 2021. John was born March 29, 1931, to John E. and Celia L. (Small) Dawson in Hackensack, New Jersey. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Carol A., brother Richard F. and children Lawrence A. (Loretta) and Jacquelyn A. (Thomas DiLauro).

From a young age, his love of the water was evident. He built his first boat in his uncle’s basement at the age of 12, going into New York City by himself for the supplies he needed.

After high school, he held the job of captain of the lifeguards in Asbury Park, New Jersey, continuing his love for everything related to the sea.

He was drafted during the Korean War and honorably served as a U.S. Marine. He earned the Expert Rifleman medal and distinguished himself on the rifle team, traveling to and winning many competitions held in the Northeast.

After discharge from the Marines, he graduated from Newark College of Engineering, passed the State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors in 1963, and took an engineering position with Atlantic City Electric and Gas.

Though still near the beaches, he hoped to move to sunny Florida, where his love of all things water-related could be a year-round endeavor. This led to an engineering job with Florida Power Corporation in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he worked the remainder of his professional life, retiring as Manager of Special Projects at 55 years of age.

The year before retiring, he designed and built a home for himself and his wife on Little Torch Key, Florida Keys, making 30 round trips from St. Petersburg to the Keys on weekends, bringing everything needed for the build on boat trailers and doing a majority of the work himself. Thanksgiving week 1986, he and his wife moved to the Keys. An avid spear fisherman with a near-perfect aim, he was able to dive every good weather day. He held many permits, including the coveted lobster diving permit. He lived his best life enjoying every minute he spent on the water, in the water and near the water. It was the culmination of a lifetime of following the sun. He lived his dreams to the fullest.

Admired and respected by many, professionally and personally, and unconditionally loved by his wife of 45 years, Carol A. Dawson. Godspeed, my love.

Donations in John’s name may be made to Reef Relief, Key West, Florida; Food Bank, St. Peter Catholic Church, Big Pine Key, Florida; Amedisys Hospice/Palliative Care/Personal Care, Marathon, Florida or a charity of your choice.

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