Dr. James Byron Dawson

Born: Sat., Nov. 22, 1941
Died: Sun., May 15, 2011

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Deputy Director James Byron Dawson, Ph. D., age 69, of White Plains, GA., died Sunday, May 15, 2011 at Athens Regional Medical Center. Born in Athens, Georgia on November 22, 1941, he was the son of the late James Linton Dawson and Reba Bowers Dawson. He grew up in the Winterville Community attending Winterville Elementary School and graduating from Athens High School in the class of 1960. He was a member of Liberty United Methodist Church and a volunteer fireman of the Liberty Fire Department.

Dr. J. Byron Dawson began his scientific career as a teaching assistant and under graduate research assistant at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Department of Chemistry. Dr. Dawson''s public safety career began in 1969 as the Assistant Director of the Georgia State Crime Laboratory, which at that time was part of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. Dr. Dawson was also appointed as Special Agent, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Department of Public Safety, on April 15, 1969. On October 1, 1988 he was appointed as the Deputy Director, Division of Forensic Sciences, Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Dr. Dawson''s accomplishments during his tenure include recognition by the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Georgia Human Relations Commission, and by former Georgia Governor and U.S. Senator, Zell Miller for his service to the State of Georgia and the United States. The City of Albany, Georgia recognized Deputy Director Dawson in 1994 for the Division of Forensic Sciences response in identifying more than 300 human remains and restoring Albany''s Oakview and Riverside Cemeteries which were decimated as a result of the July 1994 floods. In 1995 and 1996, Dr. Dawson was instrumental in the strategic emergency response planning for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games held in Atlanta, GA. On April 1, 1997, Dr. Dawson retired from public service.

Dr. Dawson is a graduate of the Emory University Medical Examiner''s Course and certified as a Forensic Scientist by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. In 1993 Dr. Dawson was certified by the American Board of Criminalistics. He has a Bachelor''s of Science Degree and Ph.D in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Dr. Dawson''s professional affiliations include the American Chemical Society, the Chemical Society, London, England, the Society of Sigma Xi (The Scientific Research Society), the Southern Association of Forensic Sciences, the National Association of Auto Theft Investigators, the California Association of Criminalistics, and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Deputy Director Dawson was a life member of the Peace Officers Association of Georgia. His publications include "Synthesis of a Perhydroazulene Derivative" and "Photochemical Rearrangements".

He is married to the former Deborah Hiter of Decatur, Georgia now of White Plains, GA. Other survivors include his three children, Lisa Eavenson of Savannah, GA, Melanie Anderson and husband Billy of Knoxville, TN and Charles Dawson and wife Susannah of McDonough, GA; two stepsons, Will Fowlkes of Jefferson, GA and Brent Fowlkes and wife Mandi of Tuscaloosa, AL; a sister, Beckie Hargrove and husband Scotty of Hiawassee, GA; and grandchildren, Tanner, Sawyer and McKenna Eavenson, Hannah and Olivia Dawson, Jordan and Dawson Anderson and Brady, Brock, Sydney and Brooks Fowlkes.

Memorial Services will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Liberty United Methodist Church, 3091 Liberty Church Road, White Plains, GA 30678 with Rev. Edward A. Swehla officiating. The family will receive friends from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night at McCommons Funeral Home. Any memorials may be made to the Liberty United Methodist Church Building Fund, c/o Ann Smith, 2491 Shiloh Road, Greensboro, GA 30642 or Liberty Volunteer Fire Department, c/o Michael Strickland, 1111 Flat Rock Church Road, White Plains, GA 30678. McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements. Visit us at www.mccommonsfuneralhome.com to sign the online guest register.

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Condolence Booklet

Rex and Sandra Dauler
   Posted Sun May 15, 2011
Dawson added so much to our lives and so much to our family and he will forever be remember and for always be missed and loved.

Dick and Marilyn Schneider
   Posted Sun May 15, 2011
Debbie - we are so sorry! Marilyn still fondly remembers the time she and Byron spent watching them blow the rocks on the new leg of Howard Lewis. I remember him as a wise and honest man.

Sherry Houston
   Posted Sun May 15, 2011
Dear Debbi & family: Please know that you had the "best" of the "best." Sweet & compassionate does not begin to describe Dawson. So full of life & love. This world will certainly be an emptier place without him. I loved him and will never forget the many smiles he brought to so many faces. God keep all of you and remember what a "piece" of heaven you had for a short while.

Pete & Dee DuBose
   Posted Sun May 15, 2011
Beckie, we share your loss. We will keep you and your family in our prayers.

Barbara Motte
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
Would like to extend my condolences to the family of Dr. Dawson, I do remember his kind face while here at GBI. May God provide strenght to all family members during this hard time and may you keep this scripture before you-Revelation 21:3,4 for added encouragement.

Debbie Neely Tolbert
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
I was so sorry to hear about Byron. My prayers and thoughts are with the family.

Bill Wall
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
Please accept my sincere sympathy for the passing of Dr. Dawson. I have many memories of his professional and personal interactions with me and hope only the best for Debbie and family. Bill and Kathleen Wall

Bill & Jerrie
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
With our deepest symanthy and condolances. Bill, Jerry and Family

Dona Robertson
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
Debbie, Don and I are so very sorry to hear this news. Over the years, Dawson and I shared some wonderful moments and hours, laughs and griefs, humor and anger...no...I think remember him ever being angry...just seriously annoyed! You know we love you and certainly love him. This world has just lost a great one. I hurt.

Jimmy Jones
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
Doc was a great friend not only to me but to all law enforcement. He was there when we needed him and always helpful. Debbie you and the family are in my prayers.

Andy & Alice Moore
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
Debbie, I was shocked when Melvin called me yesterday to tell of your sweet sweet husband. I have only had the pleasure of knowing Dawson and you for about ten years but my life has been blessed with your friendship. Dawson was always so willing to help anyone in need. He will certainly be missed. Love you girl!!!

Mary Ann Hembree
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
Dr. Dawson was a loving and caring person. I was lucky enough to work with him at the Crime Laboratory as a medical transcriptionist. He will be greatly missed and my prayers are with you. Mary Ann Hembree

Billy Anderson
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
Love all of you and am praying for all of us.

Charles and Elizabeth Orth
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
Melanie - You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. We know what a loving father and grandfather Byron was and how much he will be missed. Even though you miss him know that he will always be with all of you. Love Shorty and Elizabeth

Kelly Coker
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
My deepest prayers and sympathy to your entire sweet family. What an amazing man Dr. Dawson was. Melanie, I will never forget our "field trips" together in the crime lab. Your dad was so brilliant and had such a witty sense of humor - even in the crime lab :) His smile will never be forgotten! I pray for strength and peace for your family. Blessings, Kelly Coker

Brandon & Sarah Orth
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
Melanie - We are thinking about you and your family during this difficult time. You will certainly be in our prayers. - Brandon & Sarah

Ron and Cathy Whitaker
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
Debbie and family--Just wanted to let you know our thoughts are with you. Always know you have and are in our hearts. We love you. God Bless.

Betty Ann Kumin
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
I am sad to hear of Dr. Dawson's death. He was a bundle of energy and inspiration when I worked with him at the Crime Lab during the 70's. I can still remember the sparkle in his eyes and his body engulfing laugh. May your happy memories replace the grief you now feel.

Kristi Miller
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
Melanie, What a wonderful person your Dad was. He has touched so many lives in his time here on Earth and that is what Life is all about. What a Great Man! I know you will miss him terribly, but as time goes by try to remember all the great memories and those memories will live on in your heart forever!! He will always be with you and looking down on you in everything. So trust in him and in God and they will always have your back. One more thing, don't ever hold back your tears, tears will heal your soul. I love you and will be here for you whenever you need me. Much Love To Your Entire Family! Sincerely, Kristi Miller

Paul Loggins
   Posted Mon May 16, 2011
This is sad news. Not only was Dr. Dawson instrumental in helping resolve many cases, he was my friend. He was a true gentleman in the search for truth and justice. He will be remembered as one of the best!

Scott and Stacey Vandiver
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Charles and Susannah, Please accept our sincerest condolences. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your extended family. Your father will be missed but always remembered. That extra help in the chemistry lab made a big impact. There were also a few valuable life lessons learned as well!!! Take care. We hope to see you guys soon. Regards, Scott, Stacey, Nate, Ben, Ana Lee, and Colette

Bill T. Akers
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Debbie D, I will always remember Dr. D as the man in the "overalls" that gave me a chance to be the person that I am today with the GBI Crime Lab and also introduced me to the fine organization of the POAG, in which many memories were made and enjoyed over the years. Your friend always, Bill T. Akers GBI DOFS Coastal Regional Crime Lab Savannah

John Wegel
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
My condolences. I will always remember Dr Dawson when I think about my career at the lab.

John & Marion Conley
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Debbie, know we are there with you in spirit. Love you. John & Marion

Richard Stanley III Laurens County Coroner
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Sorry to hear of Dr. Dawsons Death. he was a friend to all Georgia Coroners. You will in our prayers .

Gloria Ambrose
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Debbie my deepest sympathy in the loss of your precious partner in life. I am so saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Dawson.

District Attorney Dennis Sanders
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Having first met Dr. Dawson in the early 70's as a young Assistant District Attorney, I had many opportunities to work with him. Everyone in law enforcement knew and respected Dr. Dawson. He was a sheer delight on the witness stand watching defense lawyers become frustrated with him as a witness. This is a sad day for all of us in law enforcement who knew him personally and were priviledged to have worked with him.

Glenda Basler
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
I have lost one of the dearest friends that I have ever known. I have known him for 31 years and he alwasys treated everyone with respect and dignity. There has never been a better person. Rest in Peace, Dawson. You deserve it. Love, Glenda

marcia hoechstetter
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
I have so many wonderful memories of Dr. Dawson. He was a sweet, quiet and funny man that treated me like his own on family vacations every summer in Jekyll. I especially remeber hunting crabs at night with the lanterns and him pumping up his belly and us "releasing" it by pushing his belly button! Thank you for so many wonderful childhood memories! Marcia McKelvey

Tom McKinley
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Debbie, We, along with all the Liberty UMC congregation, grieve with you at the loss of Byron. His quiet, friendly manner endeared him to all of us, and his leadership accomplished so much for the church. Everyone loved him, and even though he is now in a better place, he will be greatly missed by all of us. Your Friends in Christ, Tom & Miriam McKinley

Kathy Sponsler
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
So sorry Melanie about your father. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Guyton "Guy" & Jean Ellis
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
With Love and Sympathy.

William & Jo Ann Pickens
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Please accept our sympathy on the loss of your loved one. He will be missed greatly.

Carol and Bob Shulstad
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Our prayers are with Debbie and all the family. May you find comfort and peace in the knowledge that Byron is with our Lord and free from pain.

Asst. Chief Key McGuire
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Thank you for your years of service, now, finaly, you may rest. Bless the family with peace, and know that you are all in our prayers.

Lee House
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
We are very sorry to hear about Dr. Dawson. Our family sends its sympathy. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

Stanley L. Thompson
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Our prayers go out to Dr. Dawson's family. He was a friend for many years, he will be missed. Stanley L. Thompson, GBI Retired.

Gary L. Thoams
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
I worked with Dr. Dawson for several years indirectly while I was at the Georgia State Fire Marshal's Office and also with the Carroll County Fire Department handling fire investigations. I also took several classes taught by Dr. Dawson. He is a top notch professional and our loss is certainly Heaven's gain. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Gary

Carole B. Haney
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Dear Beckie: I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. You always seemed very proud of him and sincerely appreciative of his help with your mom. He was obviously an accomplished man. My prayers are with you and your family, and my hope is that you are comforted by your many cherished memories. I would love the opportunity to visit with you and Scotty soon. My best wishes, Carole

Everett Solomons
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Aside from his brilliance as a forensic pathologist and overall investigator, I liked Dr. Dawson because of the smile that he frequently shared and the twinkle in his eye. You can see it in the picture shown on this site. I feel a loss knowing that he isn't present here with us, but know that he is resting much better now. My sympathies go to his family.

Robbie Edmonds
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Debbie,Jim and I are so sorry for your loss. Byron will truly be missed. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Kimberly Singleton Lowe
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Debbie, My heart breaks for you and your family. Dawson was such an incredible man and to lose someone so special is so difficult. Although I did not spend a lot of time with him I do remember the times we shared and it brings a smile to my face. He always had the best stories. His friendship, care and love meant the world to my Mom and Dad and they will truly and forever miss him as will the rest of us. He will always remain in the hearts of those who knew him and will live on within our lives. God bring peace to you and your family. All my love, Kimberly

Nelson & Dorothy Eavenson
   Posted Tue May 17, 2011
Debbie and Family, We are sorry about your great loss of Byron. You have our sympathy and prayers.

Lorrie Shackelford
   Posted Wed May 18, 2011
Dearest Aunt Debbie, LeighAnne, Tim, Jessica & Calleigh, I am so sorry for the loss of your loved one and am praying that God will somehow lift the burden of your sorrow. I hope that knowing so many people care will bring you some form of comfort at such a sad time. May the Peace of the Lord be with You now and always ~ With love, Lorrie & Billy Shackelford

Lisa (Eagen) Miller
   Posted Wed May 18, 2011
He was a man that little girls looked up to, that growing boys mimicked and aspired to be like...Dr. Dawson, that's how I knew him. I am saddened by his loss,but know that Heaven is blessed with this bearded man who loved life! One day at a time...you are all in my prayers. Lisa

Stan Lovell
   Posted Wed May 18, 2011
Dr. Dawson was a tremendous mentor to all associated with him. His guidance and wisdom was unsurpassed. As a young Hall County Investigator, I could depend on his knowledge and guidance in properly doing my job. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Bill and Carolyn Carter
   Posted Wed May 18, 2011
We pray that God will confort and encourage you during this time. Bill and Carolyn Carter

Bert and Shawn Davis
   Posted Wed May 18, 2011
Both of us have wonderful memories of our times with Dr. He was a wonderful director who cared about his employees and made the place a pleasure to work. Debbie, Take care and keep the good memories going.

Walt & Len Brooks and sons (SO1127)
   Posted Wed May 18, 2011
Debbie and the Dawson Family -- Len and I have nothing but wonderful memories of Dr. "D" who was a friend to every law enforcement officer. He was a wonderful boss for Len when she had to leave investigative work for a desk in the crime lab due to pregnancy. When I was sent to the crime lab, Dr. Dawson was one of the first people I sought counsel from and as usual he gave sound advice. We loved the scientist who was much more "Cop" than scientist. He will live in our hearts forever. Love and God Bless you all...Walt & Len Brooks and Sons

Kelley Channell
   Posted Wed May 18, 2011
Dr. Dawson was frequently the highlight of my day when he came in. I so enjoyed our conversations. I could have spent my whole day listening to his stories. My fellow staff members and I will truly miss him. He was one of our favorites.

Shirley Fordham
   Posted Wed May 18, 2011
Debbie. You and Dawson have been such good friends to me and my family. I have so many good memories of the times we have shared and will cherish them forever. I'm very sorry that Dawson had to leave you and us so soon. His memory will live on in my heart as a great boss, friend and mentor.

Georgia Butler
   Posted Wed May 18, 2011
My deepest sympathy to Dawson's family. How do we even begin to describe the person that he was? He was a boss, a co-worker, a teacher and a very dear friend to me. He was always there if you needed him in a personal or a professional situation. He could be serious or funny. But whatever he was, he was fun to be around. He will be greatly missed but always remembered. I love you and God bless you all.

sherrell & Gary Carter
   Posted Thu May 19, 2011
Dear Dawson Family, We were out of town during Byron's services..but wanted you to know that we are with you in spirit and prayer. During this fragile time, we hope you all find peace and strength now and in the days to come. WE are sending our hugs and love. What a better world this is because of all Bryon accomplished in his life. Sherrell and Gary Carter

Kim Magill
   Posted Thu May 19, 2011
Dear Melanie and Charles, I am so sorry about the loss of your wonderful father! I know he will be greatly missed by all his family and friends! Please know that you and your family are in our our thoughts and prayers. May God wrap his loving arms around you and give you peace during this difficult time. Much Love and Many Blessings, Kim and Stuart Magill

Brenda Pettis
   Posted Fri May 20, 2011
It's hard to realize that Dawson is no longer here to see and hug. It's hard to understand why people are taken from us, but you can find comfort in knowing you were a special part of a well-lived life. I have always been privilaged to call Dawson friend and I will NEVER forget him.

Jimmy Terrell
   Posted Sun May 22, 2011
Upon returning from a trip, I was saddened to receive the announcement of Dr. Dawson's passing from the Georgia Chief's. He was truly a pioneer, a great teacher and a dear friend. Few law enforcement officers will match his contributions to public safety. Our prayers go out for the family and friends.

Hannah Dawson
   Posted Sat June 04, 2011
We well miss you grandpa. I love you so much. But I know where you are and so do you. You don't have to hurt anymore. I love you Hannah Grandebbie (grandma) I know you will miss him so much. But with all your family love it will sooth your heart . With your sympathies, condolences and memories in the name of Dr. Dawson ( grandpa )

Chris Carson
   Posted Thu July 21, 2011
Lisa, Charles and Melanie, I was very saddened yesterday to hear the news about your dad. I really enjoyed getting to know him during my Tech years primairly whilst trying to get Lisa's car restarted. He was always a great listener and a great adviser. I know he was extremely proud of all of you and I can only say my thoughts are with you during what is a very, very tough time. Take care of each other Aand Debbie. With many fond memories and best wishes, Chris Carson